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8 Worrying College Drinking Statistics [Updated for 2020]

Studies of alcohol abuse and college drinking statistics in the US show disturbing results. Shockingly, alcohol-related issues affect millions of college students every year. In fact, four out of five students in the US have experimented with alcohol. 

As we all know, college campuses are the place where the majority of freshmen enjoy unlimited freedom from parental oversight for the first time in their lives. 

So, it should come as no surprise that students see college as a perfect place to explore and engage in alcohol abuse after they leave their family homes.

On another note, some freshmen enter college as seasoned drinkers who have established drinking habits in high school. With that in mind, it’s no surprise their substance abuse deteriorates during the college period. 

However, college students who have never consumed alcohol before feel like they need to catch up with their more experienced peers and start binge drinking. Still, the causes of binge drinking can vary. 

College binge drinking statistics also raise concerns. The numbers show that around 50% of the college population turns to binge drinking.   

As you can see, the results indicate that we need to take action and fight alcohol abuse among college students. 

So, wait no more and dive into the fresh stats about how students’ drinking habits affect college communities, students’ academic lives, and their families. 

Alarming College Campus Drinking Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • In 2018, 86.3% of individuals 18 or older said they had consumed alcohol at some point in their lives. 
  • College binge drinking statistics reveal that 26.45% of individuals aged 18 or older had been binge drinking over the course of the past month.
  • 37% of US university students have received some form of mental health service and took part in binge drinking from 2018 to 2019.
  • College drinking statistics show that 14.2% of students had more than five drinks at one event at least once over the past two weeks as of fall 2018. 
  • Roughly 1800 US students between the age of 18 to 24 die of alcohol-abuse related mishaps and injuries.

College Students Drinking Statistics

1. 54.9% of college students aged 18–22 consumed alcohol during the past month in comparison to 44.6% of their peers not attending college.

(Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 

But why do college students drink? 

The reasons are countless: 

For some students, substance abuse is a perfect way to fight off social anxiety. They find it really hard to stay sober and swamped with exams while constantly being thrown into the pool of social events.

On the other side, college binge drinking statistics show that many freshmen try to change their high-school loser reputation in the new college environment. So, they want to binge drink their way into popularity. 

While some students drink to vent or make their way up the social ladder, others had had an alcoholic parent who maybe allowed them to drink before college, college alcohol statistics show. 

2. 36.9% of university attendees ages 18-22 confirmed they had been binge drinking. 

(Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 

This is one of the more worrying college drinking patterns, as the corresponding figure for people not in college was considerably lower at 27.9%. 

Having four drinks for women and five for men in one sitting in roughly two hours classifies as binge drinking. After drinking this much, the concentration of alcohol in your blood amounts to 0.08 g/dL. 

This fact that college students binge drink more than their peers is alarming. 

The thing is: 

Heavy drinking can cause unintentional injuries, liver damage, and an increase in sexual assaults. In addition to these alarming issues, college students drunk driving statistics are also on the rise

Stats About the Consequences of College Drinking

3. Around 25% of college students say they have had to face the negative academic consequences of alcohol abuse. 

(Source: Addiction Center) 

Academic failure is a common outcome of heavy drinking. College alcoholism statistics and college partying statistics have shown that students’ academic success suffers because of their wild social life. 

Due to going out every evening and staying up all night drinking, many students tend to miss early morning lectures and eventually fail their classes. Sometimes their overall school performance can deteriorate and result in low grades or even dropping out of college altogether. 

4. 1.2-1.5% of university students have attempted suicide because of substance abuse over the course of last year. 

(Source: Addiction Center) 

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all be triggers and consequences of drug use and heavy drinking. Even though this percentage does not appear high at first it is quite worrying. Colleges should come up with strategies to help students who have suicidal thoughts. 

For instance, alcohol awareness facts for college students could be presented through campaigns and workshops on college campuses. 

5. Around 20% of university students fit the AUD (alcohol usage disorder) criteria.

(Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 

This disturbing data about how often the college students drink should prompt colleges to act swiftly and decisively. Students are constantly exposed to stress, and some already have underlying mental health or family issues. In these circumstances, developing binge drinking habits and alcohol addiction has become quite common. 

6. About 599,000 college students suffer accidental trauma while inebriated. 

(Source: Addiction Center) 

Alcohol-related accidents are very common. What’s more, college drinking death statistics are increasing. Alcohol is a powerful depressant that will slow down your brain function and consequently affect how fast the body responds. Also, the more alcohol you have in your blood, the bigger the chance of getting hurt. So, no wonder students wake up with bruises, cuts, or fractures after a night of heavy drinking. 

7. More than 690,000 are attacked by a drunk fellow student.

(Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 

Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and stops us from thinking clearly about the consequences of our actions. As a result, many innocent individuals fall victim to the physical assault committed by an inebriated individual. 

One of the most common types of serious offences under the influence of alcohol is a sexual assault, college drinking stats report. Being raped can leave lasting consequences on the victim’s emotional and mental state. It can also result in transferring STDs and unwanted pregnancy. 

8. Around 150,000 thousand students develop substance abuse-related health problems. 

(Source: Addiction Center) 

Binge drinking facts prove that heavy drinking can take a serious toll on your health in the long run. Even though It may be fun to go out drinking with your college buddies every evening, it can also result in serious consequences in the years to come. Statistics on college drinking say that some students can later experience problems with high blood pressure, pancreatic inflammation, and liver damage. 

Still have unanswered questions on this important subject? Then read on.


Q: What number of college students are non-drinkers? 

College drinking statistics show that 20% of college students refer to themselves as non-drinkers. The motives of their alcohol abstinence can vary. They include:

  • Religious views. Many religions prohibit the consumption of alcohol. 
  • Health problems. Some college students suffer from medical conditions that prevent them from drinking. 
  • University students who come from families with alcohol abuse history sometimes do not drink. 
  • A small number of non-drinkers have had a bad experience while drinking – a traffic accident, injuries, or death of a loved one. So, they prefer abstinence. 
Q: How many college students die from drinking?

College alcohol facts prove that the number of university students who die as a result of alcohol-abuse induced or accidental injuries is 1,825. 

People’s behaviour under the influence of alcohol may be completely different from how they normally react. This may result in trauma and road accidents, which can all have a lethal outcome. Please note that the death-toll caused by alcohol abuse is high. College drinking and driving statistics show that around half of fatal traffic accidents involve university students. 

Q: How many college students get alcohol poisoning a year?

While there are no specific college student drinking statistics, we know that 113 people aged 15-24 die annually from alcohol poisoning.

In order to establish drinking among college students statistics, some universities formed emergency departments in 2009. The department at Vanderbilt University had alcohol-related encounters with 101 undergraduates during one academic year. 28% of students showed symptoms of alcohol poisoning.  

Q: What percentage of American college students suffer academic problems from drinking?

About 25% of students have witnessed academic repercussions due to binge drinking. This means that one in four college students has fallen behind in some subjects, missed morning classes, or gotten lower grades because of problems with alcohol. 

Q: What are colleges doing to prevent binge drinking?

US universities across the country are working hard on suitable strategies to address substance abuse on campus and reduce the harmful abuse of alcohol. 

One of the most important prevention plans is discussing the risks and dangers of alcoholic substance abuse in middle-schools. This early form of prevention is very effective because students immersed in this program are less prone to drink or use drugs later in life. 

However, some universities target groups at risk of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, such as freshmen, sorority, and fraternity members. One of their goals is to determine what percent of college students drink before they act. 

Statistics show that campuses that offer physical, behavioral, and mental health support programs for individuals suffering from alcohol and drug abuse can successfully treat them. With this practice, signs of alcoholism in college students can be discovered and acted upon at the early stages. 

Wrap up

All things considered, the effects of alcohol on college students are detrimental. Substance abuse either kills or leaves immense repercussions on students’ mental and physical state. 

So, use the college drinking statistics to your advantage and make a suitable plan of action before things go south. 


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