Binge Drinking is becoming a growing concern in the United States. It is widely considered to be included in the class of substance abuse along with drugs and tobacco. Binge drinking is defined as a drinking pattern that brings an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 g/dL. This occurs when men have roughly five drinks in two hours and when women have roughly four drinks in that same time period (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017). People who binge drink are not necessarily alcohol dependent. Binge drinking mostly occurs from the ages 18- 34 years old (CDC, 2018). More specifically, binge drinking has become a commonality on college campuses and with college-aged students. Statistics show that approximately two out of every five college students, regardless of age, report binge drinking at least once in the past two weeks. College students associate binge drinking with stress, anxiety, insecurity, desire to fit in, and relationship trauma (Addiction Center, 2018). Consequences include, but are not limited to, unintentional injury, chronic disease, and alcohol poisoning.
A particular area of concern for binge drinking statistics is Shepherd University, located in a small town in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The town is in close proximity to different states like Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, as it resides in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Some important landmarks located in a small radius of the campus include the Potomac river, Antietam Battlefield, and Harpers Ferry. The university has a total of 3,736 students enrolled as of fall 2017. There are 90 different programs of study at the university. A majority of the students enrolled are females and 70% of the students that attend this school are under the age of 25 years old (Shepherd University, 2017).
As previously stated, Binge drinking is most common among the ages 18 to 34. As shown in Figure 1.1, binge drinking is more prevalent at Shepherd University than the United States, West Virginia as a whole, and many different surrounding counties. More specifically, the United States has an 18.5 % binge drinking rate (America’s Health Ranking, 2017), West Virginia has a percentage of 12, Berkeley County, WV 13%, Jefferson County, WV 16%, Frederick County, MD 19%, Washington County, MD 16%, Clarke County, VA 17%, Loudon County, VA 17%, and Frederick County, VA 19% . (County Health Rankings, 2018). Shepherd University, in comparison, has a percentage of 33% that binge drink (Shepherd University, 2017). This is a cause for concern that binge drinking is a bigger issue at Shepherd University.
In order to combat binge drinking, Healthy people 2020 and West Virginia healthy people 2010 have created regulatory goals for people who binge drink from the age 18 and older. Healthy People 2020 and West Virginia Healthy People 2010 are organizations that provide information and goals to combat alarming health trends. The idea behind these goals, specifically, is to reduce the abuse of substances, be able to protect the health safety, and quality of life for all. (Healthy People 2020) The first goal for healthy people 2020 is to reduce the proportion of the students engaging in binge drinking during the past 30 days for adults 18 years old and older. In this population, 26.9 percent of adults ages 18 years and over reported that they engaged in binge drinking during the past 30 days in 2015. The target for this population is 24.2 percent. Shepherd University did not reach that goal since their percentage for binge drinking was 33%. The second goal for healthy people 2020 is to reduce the proportion of college students engaging in binge drinking during the past 2 weeks. 41.1 percent of the college students reported that they engaged in binge drinking during the past 2 weeks. The target for this population was 37%. With that being said, Shepherd University met the requirements for healthy people. The last goal for healthy people 2020 states that there will be a reduction in people who in engage in binge drinking in the previous 30 days. Therefore 28.2% of adults aged 18 years and over reported that they drink in the previous 30 days. The target goal was 25.4 percent. Shepherd University was not able to meet their goal. (Healthy People 2020, 2018).
The state of West Virginia has created their own goals for many different health indicators. West Virginia 2010 goals aimed to reduce the rate of binge drinking reported among adults 18 and over by 20%. The baseline target for the goal was 8.4% in 1997. Shepherd University, consequently, did not meet the goal (WV healthy people 2010, 2001). Having these goals for individuals is a great guideline for not only the people who binge drink, but also for other individuals who have health factors.
In order to combat the issue of binge drinking at Shepherd University, the Department of Nursing proposes that a grant to fund a binge drinking education and prevention program is not only preferred, but is necessary. As shown in the statistics comparing Shepherd University’s binge drinking rates to the target rates of the Healthy People 2020 goals and West Virginia Healthy People 2010, three out of the four goals were not met. This shows that further action is needed in order to successfully meet the criteria. With the grant, the nursing department, along with the university, would be able to incorporate education to students on what binge drinking is and what the consequences of binge drinking are. The program would result in overall improvement in the percentage of binge drinkers at Shepherd University and improve the overall health and wellness of the student body. In the nursing profession, habits and effects of binge drinking are observed daily. With proper, interactive education given to the students at Shepherd University, students will become more aware of their drinking habits and the effect it has on them. Overall, this increased knowledge will help the university, state of West Virginia, and the United States reduce the rate of binge drinking.
- Addiction Center. (2018). Binge Drinking .Retried from https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/binge-drinking/
- A Healthier Future for West Virginia Healthy People 2010. (2001). substance abuse. Retried from https://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hp2010/objective/26.htm
- America’s Health Rankings. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alcohol and Public Health. (2018). Data and maps. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm
- County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2018). West Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/west-virginia/2018/measure/factors/49/map
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; Healthy People 2020. (2018) Substance abuse. Retrieved from https://.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topics/substanceabuse/objectives
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017) NIAAA Scientists Provide More Evidence that Binge Drinking may be an Indicator for Vulnerability to Alcohol Use Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/news-events/news-noteworthy/niaaa-scientists-provide-more-evidence-binge-drinking-may-be-indicator
- Shepherd University. (2017) About Shepherd. Retried from http://www.shepherd.edu/about-shepherd
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