The old notion that “kids will be kids” and that everything will be fine when young college students head off to drinking parties just doesn’t fly anymore.
Not after the tragic death of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, a Penn State student who died at a fraternity event in the spring of 2017, or the hundreds of other college students across the nation — some research estimates peg the number as high as 1,800 a year — who die after consuming too much alcohol.
So it’s good to see that liquor enforcement officers from the state police team up with local police every year to target underage drinking on and around college campuses. Officers meet with school representatives, making presentations to students and reaching out to liquor license holders who operate near campuses to promote awareness, improve relations and work to prevent the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
Educating incoming students about the dangers of alcohol is an “ongoing, never-ending process for us,” said Tom McGuire, a spokesman for Bloomsburg University.
Before classes started this morning at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, all first-year students were required to complete an online alcohol education course that provides information on the effects of alcohol consumption and the consequences of high-risk drinking, said Amanda O’Rourke, a university spokeswoman.
The list of adverse consequences stemming from underage drinking is extensive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year and that young people ages 12 to 20 consume a staggering amount — 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90 percent of that alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinking.
On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks during each occasion than adult drinkers, and overconsumption is responsible for approximately 120,000 emergency room visits each year, the CDC reports.
The list of other consequences tied to alcohol abuse — too extensive publish here — range from problems in school, to rape and sexual assault to death from alcohol poisoning.
All efforts to curb underage drinking are actually efforts to protect young adults and help our kids enjoy being kids.