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Under 21? Why you should think twice before you drink

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By Meghan Mahar


College partying is something we may not all take part in, but we all certainly hear about it. It is one of the reasons many students are eager to go to college. Unfortunately, it is also the reason some will never make it to graduation. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) roughly 1800 college students ages 18 to 24 die each year from alcohol related injuries. A majority of the deaths are people under the legal drinking age.

Last year the University at Albany had one of  its own students, Trevor Duffy, die as a direct result of alcohol consumption.

Incidents like this raise a lot of controversy over who should be held responsible. Should the university be blamed? Should the people consuming the alcohol be blamed, or the ones who are of age and who are providing it to those who aren’t?

When a student enrolls in a school, it is their responsibility to follow all the school’s policies. It is against UAlbany’s policy to have alcohol anywhere on campus in the presence of minors. No school should be held responsible for what happens outside its grounds. The moment students leave campus, they can make choices to their own discretion, which should not reflect on the school.

Most students who take part in drinking know the effects of alcohol. They are fully aware of what excessive consumption can lead to. I think what some don’t know is their own limit, and others persuade them to keep going through peer pressure like in Duffy’s case. We all hear about those who die from alcohol poisoning and we all think it’s something that won’t happen to us, until it does.

After the death of Duffy, the Times Union reported that “Duffy was promised by the brothers of an underground fraternity that no one was ever killed while pledging.”

Unfortunately, that is no longer true. Although his drinking was a result of hazing, alcohol was still the cause of death. It is still connected to one of the main problems on college campuses. 

The Times Union also reported that a student testified the brothers of the frat argued over whether or not they should call the cops. This is another issue surrounding alcohol-related deaths. Although I have never experienced alcohol poisoning, I have witnessed it.

A close friend of mine in high school drank an excessive amount of liquor. By the time she was taken to the hospital, she was in an alcohol-induced coma. Luckily she survived, but doctors told her mother that had they not called for help when they did, she would have died.

If ever in this situation it is important to remember that a simple phone call can be the matter of life and death.

In an interview with the Times Union, Michael Christakis, interim vice president of Student Success said, “The institution cannot be everywhere all the time… the most powerful deterrent is peer-to-peer.”

Peers have the most influence over each other in social situations. It is O.K. to tell your friends that you think they have had enough or that they shouldn’t do something, even if you are the only one who feels that way.

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