It’s the time of year when there is an uptick in the number of alcohol overdoses occurring on campuses across the country. Newfound freedom for freshmen often seems to take the form of the freedom to drink with abandon. But the body has its natural limits. Binge drinking can lead to an overdose or what is otherwise called alcohol poisoning. This happens when someone drinks more rapidly than his or her body can metabolize. Alcohol’s intoxicating property, ETOH, goes straight to the brain, hence the buzz. The alcohol builds up in the bloodstream and depresses the part of the brain that controls involuntary actions like breathing and physical coordination. It can cause the drinker to lose consciousness. At this point the drinker is at high risk to choke on his or her own vomit, stop breathing, have irregular, slow, or fast heartbeats, brain damage, hypothermia or hypoglycemia (which can lead to a seizure), or death. Someone who survives an overdose can still suffer irreversible brain damage.
The difficulty in defending oneself against unwanted sexual advances when intoxicated accounts for a high percentage of rapes, that are reported or go unreported on campuses each year.
College is so much more than drinking. Find the student activities director on campus and ask for a list of non-drinking fun alternatives around town. Join clubs that may interest you or will advance your social life or future career. Join an intramural sports team. Constructive activities abound – and it’s much more fun to wake up with a great memory than to have no memory, regrets, or find yourself in the hospital.