Increase in binge drinking among college women raises concern

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    A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows binge drinking among college women is a serious yet under-recognized problem.

    The CDC Vital Signs program reported 1 in 8 women aged 18 to 24 binge drink at least three times per month. This age group contained the highest number of binge drinkers overall.

    According to the CDC, binge drinking in women occurs when one consumes more than four drinks in a short amount of time. The report, however, showed that college aged women drink an average of six.

    Yvonne Lin Giovanis, associate director of the Alcohol and Drug Education Center, said that binge drinking at the university is one of the most common high-risk behaviors female students partake in.

    “Binge drinking for women is more dangerous than for men because women have hormones and enzymes that cause them to metabolize alcohol differently,” Giovanis said. “This causes them to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly and stay intoxicated longer.”

    Giovanis said women who drink excessively also develop alcohol-related health problems faster than men. Binge drinking increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, liver damage, unintended pregnancy and alcohol addiction.

    Sophomore business major Torie Pletkovich said she thinks college women tend to drink too much because they choose mixed drinks with hard alcohol over beverages with lower alcohol content such as beer.

    “A lot of times, girls don’t realize that their mixed drink could have the same amount of alcohol as four to six beers,” she said.

    According to TCU Police Chief Steve McGee, binge drinking makes women more vulnerable to becoming victims of violence or sexual assault.

    “Almost 99 percent of sexual assault cases we deal with on campus are alcohol-related,” McGee said. “In a lot of those cases, the situation could have been avoided if students had just been smarter about their alcohol consumption.”

    The Alcohol and Drug Education Center does not operate as an abstinence-based program when it comes to alcohol, Giovanis said.

    “We realize it is unrealistic to expect all students to abstain from drinking,” Giovanis said. “Our goal is to encourage students to make smart decisions and to drink responsibly.”