Alcohol & Drugs

Alcohol is seen by some college students as a normal part of their college experience. National research tells us that around 73% of college students have consumed alcohol at some point in the past year. It is important to note that there are a growing number of students who do not drink. About one fifth of all college students report not drinking at all in the past year.

Of particular concern is binge drinking, which is defined as 5 or more drinks in one sitting for men and 4 or more drinks in one sitting for women. About 44% of college students report binge drinking, and about 20% of those students are frequent binge drinkers. Binge drinking is so worrisome because students who engage in it are substantially more likely to encounter alcohol-related problems. Occasional binge drinkers are 5 time more likely than nonbinge drinkers to experience alcohol-related problems, and frequent binge drinkers are 21 times more likely than nonbinge drinkers to experience alcohol-related problems! Some of those problems include performing poorly on an assignment or test, missing class, being injured, driving while intoxicated, or being sexually assaulted. Over 80% of college students also report experiencing the second hand effects of someone else's drinking: being woken up, disrupted from studying, or having to care for a drunk friend.

Emory wants you to be successful, both academically and socially. Clearly there are positive benefits to drinking or no one would do it! At the same time, there are problems that come from drinking, particularly from binge drinking. On top of that, Emory complies with and enforces Georgia law so if you are under 21 years of age there are legal and disciplinary consequences to drinking alcohol.

So what can you do to reduce your risk of having alcohol-related problems? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Don't drink if you are under 21 years old. Abstaining from alcohol is one way to guarantee you won't encounter alcohol-related problems!
  2. If you do drink alcohol, set a limit for yourself each time you drink, and stick to it. Most people report drinking to increase their social experience and maintain a buzz - achieving these goals with less than 5 drinks (or 4 for women) is entirely in the realm of possibility!
  3. Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The body typically consumes around 1 standard drink an hour. Worried you'll look uncool drinking a soda? No one's going to know that's just Coke in your solo cup.
  4. Designate a sober driver if you are going out somewhere that requires a car. MADD, SADD and other organizations were founded due to tragic drunk driving fatalities. We don't want you to be in an accident or worse.
  5. Surround yourself with people who do not binge drink. Often we get fall into the mental trap of thinking something is normal because we surround ourselves with people who are doing it. About 20% of students aren't drinking at all, and over 60% of students don't binge drink.
  6. Find things to do besides drink! Emory is situated in Atlanta, with a vibrate array of cultural and entertainment venues, along with hundreds of clubs on campus holding events every week.

If you want to talk with someone at Emory about your alcohol use or a friend's alcohol use, we have a free and confidential counselor on campus who specializes in working with students on alcohol and other drugs: Willie Bannister. You can make an appointment to speak with Willie by calling the Student Health Service at 404.727.7551 or using SHS's Your Patient Portal.

If you are ever concerned that someone may have had too much to drink, we encourage you to call the Emory Emergency Medical Services (EEMS) at 404.727.6111 (or off campus dial 911 for the paramedics). Our first priority is always your safety.