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Students Likely to Drink in 2010

After reading a recent roundup of drinking data, I have made the above proclamation. That’s right, you heard it here first.

To understand Penn State’s notorious drinking habits, the university and the county have created “Penn State’s Partnership – Campus and Community United Against Dangerous Drinking.”

Each year, the PSPCCUADD CCUADD Partnership publishes the Annual Assessment Report, which strives to track changes in the levels and consequences of drinking. The new 2009 edition can be found here.

Now, we can all imagine the gist of such a report:  Students consumed about as much alcohol this year as in previous years, if not more. Many students are hospitalized. Many students are criminally charged. Sometimes people get hurt.

While these assumptions are all correct, here are some facts that you may not know:

  • Wednesday had the lowest rate of alcohol consumption in 2009 at 0.96 drinks per hour, representative of all students.
  • 6% of students have never tried alcohol, and 13.3% have tried alcohol but currently don’t drink.
  • Off-campus white males of legal drinking age are most likely to partake in high-risk drinking.
  • In 2008-2009, Judicial Affairs processed 913 alcohol-related violations and 305 drug-related violations (But really folks, alcohol is a drug).
  • In 2007, Centre County sold 3.51 gallons of liquor per capita.
  • That same year, State College liquor stores sold 30,900 bottles of Vladimir Vodka, the borough’s most frequently-purchased liquor.

Although we often downplay the seriousness of alcohol, it can produce unpleasant results. In 2008, 10.52 Penn State students per 1,000 students visited the emergency department with an alcohol-related concern. In 2009, the number jumped to 13.54 students.

The reality transcends the statistics. According to anonymous attendees, alcohol-centric parties already occurred last night, the Sunday before the semester even started.

Many students do drink responsibly, but it’s the irresponsible people that cause trouble for any society. Students drank last year, and students will drink this year. The question is this:  Will they be safe?

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