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What should college students know about alcohol use?

Young people drink in college for a variety of reasons. Alcohol is considered a rite of passage for those who are involved in sports, fraternities and sororities and making new friends. Many students enjoy the newfound adult freedoms of being on their own and going to bars and parties. Some students, especially those who are new to college life, might rely on alcohol to cope with the pressures of studying and stressful class schedules. You and other Virginia residents should understand the consequences that may result from drinking too much in college.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, many college students develop problems with drinking. Binge-drinking is particularly a problem for students with an active social schedule. Every year in the United States, an estimated 1,825 college students are killed in incidents related to alcohol use, especially drunk driving accidents. However, it’s not just DUI charges and injuries that you might risk if you drink too much in college.

Your university might have policies that could result in your suspension from sports and academic teams if you receive an alcohol-related charge, or you could even be expelled. You might face the embarrassment and social stigma from having a criminal charge, and charges could also affect your future career prospects. As you may know, alcohol can cloud your judgment, which might tempt you to participate in activities that you otherwise wouldn’t have done when you were sober.

You might reduce your chances of receiving alcohol-related charges by choosing a designated driver when you and your friends go out, and by planning ahead to limit how much you drink. However, mistakes can happen, which could necessitate experienced legal counsel. This information is not meant to replace the advice of an attorney.