Study Sees Rise in Alcohol Deaths, DUI in College

Alcohol-related injury deaths and drunk driving both increased among college students over the past few years, according to a new report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

More than 1,700 college students ages 18-24 died in 2001 as the result of alcohol-related injuries, up from about 1,500 in 1988. Moreover, according to NIAAA, an estimated 2.8 million drove while under the influence of alcohol in 2001, compared to 2.3 million in 1998.

The study authors said that the problems could be mitigated through greater enforcement of drinking-age and zero-tolerance laws, increases in alcohol taxes, wider implementation of screening and counseling programs, and comprehensive community interventions.

Researchers from Boston University and Harvard University analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, and the Harvard College Alcohol Survey, as well as other reports.

“In both 1998 and 2001 more than 500,000 students were unintentionally injured because of drinking and more than 600,000 were assaulted by another student who had been drinking,” said lead study author Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health and Center to Prevent Alcohol Problems Among Young People. “We must remember, however, that since the 18-to-24-year-old non-college population vastly outnumbers the college population, they actually account for more alcohol-related problems than do college students. For example, while 2.8 million college students drove under the influence of alcohol in 2001, so too did 4.5 million college-aged persons who were not in college.”

“The magnitude of problems posed by excessive drinking among college students should stimulate both improved measurement of these problems and efforts to reduce them,” added Hingson.

Source: The study was published in the Annual Review of Public Health. March 2005

Back to top of page

Powered by WordPress