TCU campaign warns against the consequences of binge drinking


(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

By Grace Amiss

One TCU campaign has advice for students who are trying to avoid binge drinking: know exactly what’s in the cup.

“If you are at a party and handed a cup of punch, you might think you’re just having one drink,” said Tiara Nugent, director of TCU’s Power 2 Choose campaign. “The catch is you don’t know exactly what is in that beverage. One cup of party punch is usually actually the equivalent of five or six standard drinks.”

The Power 2 Choose is TCU’s initiative to reduce alcohol consumption on campus. In the past three years, the latest information available from the TCU Police Department shows a continued rise in on-campus liquor law violations. In 2013, there were a total of 708 on-campus arrests for liquor violations. In 2015, there were 771 total arrests.

Nugent said excessively drinking can have short and long-term consequences.

“Unintentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, liver damage, sexual dysfunction, high blood pressure and heart disease are all common consequences of binge drinking,” she said. “Alcohol decreases situational awareness and inhibitions, so those who binge drink are also at higher risk of physical or sexual assault. Binge drinking also impacts memory retention, so academic and physical performance are always affected as well.”

Nationwide, nearly 1,800 students die from alcohol-related injuries, more than 600,000 students are harmed while intoxicated and over 100,000 students become victims of sexual assault due to alcohol-related actions, according to studies by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The institute defines binge drinking as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks for males and four or more alcoholic drinks for females within a two-hour time period.

A TCU student, who wished to stay anonymous, said binge drinking makes them feel embarrassed.

“I wake up the next morning and feel extremely anxious because I’m not sure if I made mistakes, had fights with friends or did something embarrassing that everyone saw,” the student said. “I feel ashamed if I ever make bad decisions and ashamed for drinking that excessive amount. I also feel worried that I will get caught and get in trouble.”

Bianca Newton, a program manager in TCU’s Alcohol & Drug Education Center, said binge drinking shouldn’t be confused with social drinking

“Binge drinking may lead to things you may not ordinarily do,” she said. “You might say something to friends that ruin relationships or you may have legal issues. We have quite a few TCU students that say, based on having a binge experience, they’ve done something that they later regretted.”

Newton said social drinking is safe and can be achieved by having one or two drinks, but she emphasized the dangers of binge drinking.

“Binge drinking could lead to you to some legal actions that could really follow you beyond just your time at TCU,” she said.