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Which college students are most likely to be binge drinkers?

If you're a parent who's talked to your college student about the dangers of binge drinking but find that your words have fallen on deaf ears, you're not alone. A study of 300 college students who admitted to consuming at least 34 alcoholic drinks in the past month that was recently published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association had some interesting -- and somewhat disheartening -- findings.

Many students reported that the only way they could stop drinking or even moderate their alcohol consumption to a couple of drinks a day would be to move out of their current environment. Often, this environment was a fraternity house. Binge drinking appeared to be a socially acceptable -- and even expected -- part of their social lives.

Some college students, at least statistically, are more at risk of becoming binge drinkers than others. It's a problem that impacts white males more than females and nonwhite males. As the study's lead author notes, "Convincing white men to adopt more responsible and moderate levels of drinking appears to be the biggest challenge at this point."

It's not surprising that, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is more prevalent at schools with a strong "Greek" culture. Students who seek social status by joining a fraternity or sorority or who participate in school sports teams are more likely to get caught up in binge drinking. Further, students who may be less well-off financially than their peers who come from wealthy families see alcohol as a "great social equalizer."

Some studies have shown that binge drinking among both high school and college students overall has been dropping. However, it's important for parents to know if their kids' college experience includes spending time in situations where excessive drinking is occurring. The consequences, including DUI, sexual assault and other types of violence, can be life-altering.

If your college student is arrested for an alcohol-related crime, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance. A college arrest and conviction can follow a young person long into adulthood.

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