University of Windsor battles binge drinking
Back to school for some post-secondary students often means a wave of binge drinking.
But the University of Windsor head of student affairs, Brooke White, said overindulgence is on the decline.
White oversees alcohol education on campus and said as the student body diversifies culturally, they've pushed to move the focus away from alcohol-related events.
"Because it's not part of their acceptable culture, in many ways, I think that has a bit of a balancing-out factor for some of the other students as they become friends and they learn different ways to socialize," said White. "I think that really helps them."
White said as the student population changes they try to offer frosh activities that appeal to everyone.
"Lets remember there's a lot of sub-populations on campus that you're programming for, so what can we do that doesn't focus around alcohol?" said White.
Dr. Peter Lin is a health columnist for CBC's The Early Shift and said it's scary that students are binge drinking even past frosh week.
"In other words students really don't want to binge drink, but they have to because everybody is doing it," said Lin.
Lin said most researchers define binge drinking as five drinks in one sitting for men and four drinks for women.
Studies show 40 per cent of students across all universities said they binge drink, Lin said.
"They noticed that the binge drinkers that were high social status were the ones that scored the highest in terms of their social satisfaction," said Lin.
A recent U.S. study shows students are choosing to binge drink to improve their social standing, which he said concerns him about students developing an alcohol addition after graduation.
Lin said about 90 per cent of alcohol consumption is processed by the liver, but if you drink slowly the liver can handle the booze.
Binge drinking overwhelms the liver, he said, which causes raw alcohol to hit the brain.
"If you drink a huge amount of alcohol your breathing even slows down and there have been people where they stop breathing and they die," said Lin.
Lin said research shows binge drinking kills more brain cells and affects a person's ability to learn.
"If we put rules [in place] students will get around it so I think we have to show students what happens when you binge drink," said Lin.
"It's not reasonable to say no alcohol, but more importantly how to drink it safely," he said.
Lin likes the idea of a drinking course before students get caught up in frosh week.
The University of Windsor's welcome week begins Sept. 2.