Ask any college student you know about alcohol on campus. You won't hear them answer with a number as if playing a game of trivia. College students get hammered, wasted, bombed or blitzed, but they wouldn’t use "binge" to define their behavior. Adults who “binge” would doubtfully use that term nor would they say, “I over consumed last night” at the water cooler the next morning.
The Century Council's recent efforts to learn about college binge drinking specifically examined the definition of binge drinking from college students. Among students who go out socially at least twice a week and drink at least once, binging happened, yes, but they’d never use that term. Their definition, and there isn't one they'd all agree to, is closer to "too many drinks too often."
Consequences from overconsumption, as identified by the students, tend to be those with short term effects such as hangovers or social consequences such as regretted texts or humiliation. The number of deaths, injuries, car crashes, or visits to the ER due to binge drinking are not the primary concerns of these college students.
Five drinks for a man or four for a woman in a few hours may be harmful; nobody would argue otherwise. But as the CDC found, people really drink in excess of eight or nine drinks. Let's nudge our nation's gifted, motivated, and driven college students to realize for themselves how silly, wasteful, and dangerous their behavior really is.
Students (and the general population) are wary of statistics. Overconsumption is dangerous and needs to be addressed from a cultural standpoint. Smoking (it's not cool anymore) and drunk driving (nobody brags about how they just barely made it home) are no longer socially acceptable to most Americans. Let’s put an end to binge drinking the same way.
The irresponsible overconsumption of alcohol must become culturally unacceptable. The Century Council is encouraging college students to find their voice on this issue. All Americans must do the same.