Here's What You Should Think

University of Minnesota Drinking Statistics

I came across a little flier the other day touting the University of Minnesota statistics on student drinking. While reading it, I felt as if the writer of said flier was trying a little too hard to make negative statistics sound positive. You be the judge:

  • “Nearly 75% of all college students drink moderately, infrequently, or not at all.”

So let me get this straight: you’re saying that only 25% of the student population are binge-drinking alcoholics? Considering what the average college student would classify as “moderate drinking,” this scares me a little.

  • “Most students consume approximately less than one alcoholic drink per hour.”

Hmmm… 24 hours in a day, 24 cans in a case. I’ll admit, this one was worded poorly, making it sounds as if these students are in a perpetual alcohol-induced haze, but the author probably meant to say “When drinking, …” Either way, the word “most” shouldn’t appear in any statistics. Also, neither should “nearly” (see above).

  • “95% of students usually of always employed one or more of the following protective behaviors[…]:”
    • Ok, good so far.
  • Determine in advance not to exceed a set number of drinks.
    • “Dude, I am so totally not going to drink more than 100 cans of beer tonight!”
  • Eat either before or while they drank.
    • Is this really a “protective behavior”? Eating while you drink? I know that it slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, but how many students really thought “You know, in order to slow the absorption of alcohol into my bloodstream, I should really start throwing back a few of these pretzels.”?

The worst part is, 5% of all drinking students didn’t do any of these. That means, out of 20 typical drinking students, there’s one among them that is not alternating non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic drinks, determining a set amount of drinks not to exceed, eating before or during drinking, having a friend let them know they’ve had enough, pacing drinks to less than one an hour, avoiding drinking games, or drinking an alcoholic look-alike (whatever that is). This person would have to be spending the entire time playing a drinking game alone while avoiding food.


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