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Is drinking culture reason behind violent crimes?

Statistics posted by The Baltimore Sun show that 3.36 million college students drive under the influence of alcohol each year. The statistics also show that 1,825 college-age students are killed from injuries related to alcohol, including car crashes. Yet, the number of college students who qualify for an alcohol abuse diagnosis is 31 percent.

In a high-profile case, one male college student is on trial for the murder of a female college student. Both students had reportedly been drinking heavily. The male college student had been arrested twice for alcohol-related actions. One of those involved violence and happened when the man was in his early 20s. In this incident, he admitted to "at least" 15 drinks, but friends say he most likely had more.

A spokesperson who runs a substance abuse education program for athletes says that alcohol abuse by college students is an epidemic. Students drink before working on papers, have a "pregame" before going out, and drink with the purpose of getting drunk every time they drink.

The director of a substance abuse prevention group said that excessive drinking "seems normal" because it gets attention, is dramatic and, because "everyone's doing it." The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 80 percent of college students drink and that 50 percent of college students that drink consume alcohol heavily.

Allegedly, the above-mentioned defendant kicked in the woman's door and confronted her about mutual infidelities. He had been binge drinking. He supposedly threw her around the room, blackened her eye, bloodied her nose and bruised her brain. The man's attorneys say that her death was not caused by the man's actions, but by a combination of the actions and her heavy drinking. Court records show that the woman's blood alcohol level was between 0.14 and 0.18 percent.

Being intoxicated is not an excuse to commit a violent crime. But reported trends on drinking and its affect on young adults suggest that crimes could be prevented if our country corrected its attitude regarding alcohol use, especially among youth and college students.

Source

The Baltimore Sun: "Huguely trial highlights alcohol abuse at colleges, universities," Tricia Bishop, Feb. 18, 2012

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