Blame it on the Alcohol: Why is Binge Drinking So Socially Acceptable?

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Most of us have drank before. Whether we simply tasted it, drowned in it, hated it, or loved it, many college students are all too familiar with its conducive effects. According to the Alcohol 101 Plus Organization, around 84 percent of college students report that they have consumed alcohol each year, a hefty  — yet unsurprising — figure to most of us.
All the while, alcohol’s long-term and short-term health effects have long been known to be much worse than other popular drugs among our age group.  We know that whenever we binge drink that we’re at risk of having a fatal overdose and later experiencing brain damage, neither of which have been reported from chronic weed smoking. In turn, this leads to health-related costs associated with alcohol use that far exceeds those for marijuana use.
But if booze is this sh*tty for your body, then why is it more socially acceptable than non-lethal drugs like marijuana, or even tobacco?
“It has always been popular in society and has been drank for ages,” said Lindsey Wood, a junior nutrition and food science major at the University of Maryland. “Negative advertising has also affected how the public views weed and tobacco, especially with the surgeon general warnings.”
Students like Lindsey live on both sides of this double-edged sword: party-going college students who learn every day about these dangerous social obligations. Some argue that its accessibility and easy control of moderation has made it a much more common problem in college towns than weed.
“It’s more popular because you can drink some, get a little tipsy, and avoid many of the bad health effects of drinking in excess,” said Logan Lawrence, a junior pre-med student at University of Maryland.
Ask any student from any major and the general consensus will be that alcohol’s more relaxed social stigma is directly related to its commonly seen health effects among American students. The more acceptable something is means that it will ultimately be abused more. I’m not saying I practice what I preach all the time, but it’s some food for thought concerning where our social priorities are.
College Drug Use Infographic
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Junior > Multi-Platform Journalism > University of Maryland

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