Binge drinking results from a student’s submission to peer pressure, the lack of outside control over the student, and the denial that drinking leads to severe consequences. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in a row for men and four or more drinks in a row for women during a two week period (Wechsler). Many students partake in binge drinking to be socially accepted into a group. Other students find it difficult to make the choice to be the sober outsider. Many binge drinkers realize that there is little immediate outside influence to push them away from the alcohol and they abuse their independence.
Most binge drinkers do not consider themselves to be problem drinkers, which adds to the difficulty in solving this college epidemic. They associate binge drinking with a good time, but many are blind to the harm it causes, such as failing grades and unplanned sexual encounters. Binge drinking has become an accepted part of the college experience for many students. Although there are other reasons a student may choose to binge drink, the influence of friends, the lack of outside control and the denial of drinking-related problems are the main forces driving the need to consume alcohol to the point of physical harm.
The desire to be social enhances the willingness to binge drink. Social drinking has become a necessary activity at most weekend college parties. Students seek information about the type of alcoholic beverages available prior to attending a party. Having a few drinks has become synonymous with having a good time. A high tolerance for alcohol gains the respect of peers. Those that throw up after a few drinks are ridiculed, including women. Binge drinking rates are the highest among members of fraternities and sororities, which demonstrates the need to drink to fit in with peers. It is questioned whether Greek life attracts or creates binge drinkers. “Many fraternities and sororities are functional saloons. Fully 86% of men and 80% of women who live in fraternities and sororities are binge drinkers,” (Wechsler).
Unfortunately, the vast majority of students are unaware that their need to fit in with friends and inability to make individual decisions causes them to have dangerous drinking habits. Another circumstance that influences college binge drinking is the lack of outside control over the college student. For children, parents exert that control. As older adults, that control may come in the form of a spouse or employer.
Should We Legalize Marijuana?
Should We Legalize Marijuana?
In the perspective of America’s war on drugs, marijuana is one of the biggest enemies. And since alcohol and tobacco, two life threatening substances, are legal it is a relevant question to ask why marijuana is illegal. The taxpayers of America can partly answer this question when they fill out their tax forms and when they hear the hash rhetoric used against marijuana by the government. The fact that marijuana is illegal is sufficiently caused by the amount of money, jobs, and pride invested in the drug war. In other words, the government cannot turn back now.
In order to demonstrate this cause, the difference between illegal and legal substances (specifically alcohol and marijuana) must be abolished. Alcohol, as we all know, was once illegal. The reason that it was illegal was because the ill effects of alcohol led many people to fight for the prohibition cause. Some of these ill effects are direct and some alter the behavior and motor skills of the drinker, helping them do things they would not usually do. More often than not, the direct effects result from heavy drinking, like “depression is frequently diagnosed in alcoholics” (Rittenhouse 140). But just getting drunk can do serious harm. “Accidental trauma forms the major cause of brain damage from alcohol” (140) would indicate alcohol as a threat to human health.
Marijuana on the other hand seems a little out of place in its classification as illegal. The source previously cited notes that, “Although it is classified as a Schedule I drug for regulatory purposes, it is clearly different pharmacologically from the opiate analgesics” (Rittenhouse 151). Also, recently a heated debate has arisen on the medicinal value of marijuana. Whether there is a definite use for marijuana is unclear, but there is surely no such debate concerning alcohol.
So once again I posture the question why is marijuana illegal if it is not more dangerous than substances that are legal? The American government’s investment in the war on drugs spans the spectrum of governmental offices. But the main recipient of funds from the budget is the Drug Enforcement Agency, located in the Department of Justice. Before I start quoting budget allocations, I would like to ask the reader to make a small assumption. The budget does not make distinctions between fighting marijuana and fighting cocaine, heroine, etc. So I would ask that the reader assume marijuana accounts for five percent of the budget’s drug prevention allocations.