College drinking results in negative effects

(Elijah Vary | The Oswegonian)
(Elijah Vary | The Oswegonian)

Drinking alcohol while in college at any age is a significant responsibility and not something to take advantage of or toy around with.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), approximately four out of five college students partake in consuming alcohol, while about half the students who drink in general will participate in binge drinking.

Maria Grimshaw-Clark, director of the counseling services center and staff clinical social worker, said this can start as early as a student’s first semester on campus.

“We’ve had some freshmen who have, for a lack of better words, been on a tight rein at home,” Grimshaw-Clark said. “Then they’re coming to school and there’s a lot more of an independence that they’re exercising.”

Grimshaw-Clark said seniors and older students are typically not included in this demographic because they have previously experienced what it is like to drink in college when they were freshmen.

This whimsical feeling of freedom can easily turn to depression and lack of motivation as a result of consuming alcohol on more than an occasional basis.

The NIAAA reported that nearly 25 percent of college students will suffer academic consequences, such as falling behind, missing class and doing poorly on assignments.

“I’ve had some students where they’re functional alcoholics,” Grimshaw-Clark said. “So they’re drinking, they’re going to classes, they can do better, but they’re kind of doing bare minimum and hanging in there and meeting the GPA requirements. But they are so depressed most of the time, they’re just struggling to have any energy to do anything else.”

Some cases become so out of hand that lethal accidents occur. According to the NIAAA, 1,800 college students die each year from alcohol-related incidents.

Oswego State University Police Chief John Rossi has nearly seen this up close and has witnessed his fair share of what being careless with alcohol can lead to.

“We have had several near-fatal incidents and we see on a routine basis the negative effects of alcohol costing students their college career,” Rossi said. “Most people we arrest on weekends, or late at night, have been drinking and would not have gotten themselves into their predicament.”

Before it is too late for these few who met their fate at an early age, receiving therapy can be the turning point. The counseling center in the Mary Walker Health Center at Oswego State is available every day of the week for those who wish to seek help, or those who have been mandated due to recent alcohol-related violations. Grimshaw-Clark said some students find out about their problem while seeking help for other issues, such as depression.

“Sometimes, it’s not ‘I think I have a problem with alcohol,’ but it’s ‘I’m feeling depressed,’ ‘I don’t have motivation to go to class,’” Grimshaw-Clark said. “When we explore with them and talk about their alcohol use, they might tell me, ‘Well, I’m getting drunk every weekend.’ Then we talk about the impact of it being a depressant and how that impacts your motivation and your energy and everything else in your life.”

For others who choose to continue on the path they’re on before receiving help, having a serious wake-up call may be the only way to convince them to seek assistance. When this happens to students who attend Oswego State, the Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corporation, or SAVAC, is here to accommodate those who have had too much to drink.

“The first thing we pay attention to is how responsive they are,” said Robert Chimmel,  chief of operations of SAVAC. “That is, if they know where they are, who they are and when they are. If we determine them to not be responding appropriately, what we refer to as altered mental status, then we will call in mutual aid from another ambulance who is certified to a  higher level of care than we are. If they respond normally, we can treat them ourselves and determine if they need further evaluation.”

Other short-term consequences can lead to a revelation that alcohol is not the answer. This could include harmful actions, such as being involved in unsafe sex while intoxicated, which can snowball into a sexual assault dispute. According to College Parents of America, every year over 100,000 students nationwide claim they were too intoxicated to know whether they partook in unsafe sex, while 70,000 are victims of sexual assault involving alcohol.

While there may be ways to help with alcoholism in college, whether it be an on-campus ambulance tending to those who have had too much to drink, or counseling services aiding in stress management, drinking responsibly is still a must while in college and beyond, as the effects can be critical and can occur rapidly, at which time it is already too late.

 

Oswego State University Police Chief at John Rossi has nearly seen this up close and has witnessed his fair share of what being careless with alcohol can lead to.

“We have had several near-fatal incidents and we see on a routine basis the negative effects of alcohol costing students their college career,” Rossi said. “Most people we arrest on weekends, or late at night, have been drinking and would not have gotten themselves into their predicament.”

Before it is too late for these select few who met their fate at an early age, receiving therapy can be the turning point. The counseling center in the Mary Walker Health Center at Oswego State is available every day of the week for those who wish to seek help, or those who have been mandated due to recent alcohol-related violations. Grimshaw-Clark said some students find out about their problem while seeking help for other issues, such as depression.

“Sometimes, it’s not ‘I think I have a problem with alcohol,’ but it’s ‘I’m feeling depressed,’ ‘I don’t have motivation to go to class,’” Grimshaw-Clark said. “When we explore with them and talk about their alcohol use, they might tell me ‘well, I’m getting drunk every weekend.’ Then we talk about the impact of it being a depressant and how that impacts your motivation and your energy and everything else in your life.”

For others who choose to continue on the path they’re on before receiving help, having a serious wake-up call may be the only way to convince them to seek assistance. When this happens to students who attend Oswego State, the Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corporation, or SAVAC, is here to accommodate those who have had too much to drink.

“The first thing we pay attention to is how responsive they are,” said Robert Chimmel,  chief of operations of SAVAC. “That is, if they know where they are, who they are, and when they are. If we determine them to not be responding appropriately, what we refer to as altered mental status, then we will call in mutual aid from another ambulance who is certified to a

higher level of care than we are. If they respond normally, we can treat them ourselves and determine if they need further evaluation.”

Other short-term consequences can also lead to a revelation that alcohol is not the answer. This could include harmful actions such as being involved in unsafe sex while intoxicated, which can snowball into a sexual assault dispute. According to College Parents of America, every year, over 100,000 students nationwide claim they were too intoxicated to know whether they partook in unsafe sex, while 70,000 are victims of sexual assault involving alcohol.

While there may be ways to help with alcoholism in college, whether it be an on-campus ambulance tending to those who have had too much to drink, or counseling services aiding in stress management, drinking responsibly is still a must while in college and beyond, as the effects can be critical and can occur rapidly, at which time it is already too late.