The “Decline” of Binge Drinking

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College students may be drinking less. Why? According to a piece by Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal:

Surveys at Purdue University, for example, show a sharp drop in binge drinking among students, to 37.3% in 2009 from 48% in 2006, says Tamara Loew, health-advocacy coordinator. She attributes this in part to a boom in late-night, alcohol-free events on or around campus, from poetry slams and dances to carnivals and “cabin-fever” parties.

Other things offsetting binge drinking include “a ‘Humans vs. Zombies’ foam-dart contest,” “late-night physical activities,” “alcohol-free tailgate parties before football games,” “a late-night tea house in the student union with billiards and other games,” an “alcohol-free” foam party, and roller skating.

Actually seems really unlikely. That’s because most of these things sound pretty lame. At any rate, none of them sound like more fun than going to bars or parties where they serve alcohol.

Observe the picture above, which commemorates an alcohol-free Rock ‘n Bowl at Fairleigh Dickinson University from the fall. That kid on the right is clearly miserable.

This prompts Hamilton Nolan at Gawker to suggest that one of two things is actually going on here: 1) the colleges students are lying in the survey they submit to the health-advocacy coordinator at Purdue, 2) “they’re getting really drunk before they go out and then sneaking in alcohol, instead of drinking openly.”

Neither of these things is good, as they suggest the behavior of actual alcoholics, instead of mere problem drinkers. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer