President's Office

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Study Guide
Binge Drinking: Causes and Consequences

Discussion Guide

Beyond giving information it would be important to provide some discussion questions for the students in your classes. Following are some suggestions that you can use verbatim or modify to fit your needs.

What is your reaction to the statistics about binge drinking at Muhlenberg College? Do you talk with your friends at other colleges about this and are they experiencing similar situations on their campus? What is the flavor of your conversations with your friends about the amount of drinking at their school? How do you perceive that Muhlenberg is similar or different from your friends' school?

When confronted with the potential dangers of binge drinking , many students disregard the risks by reasoning that "I am different. This would never happen to me." In what ways is this attitude potentially dangerous? Ask students "Of the 26 students hospitalized for alcohol intoxication this semester, what percentage also believed that it would not happen to them?"

Why do you think a person chooses to drink to the point of intoxication, alcohol poisoning or even death?

One of the most common beliefs associated with binge-drinking is that "drinking alcohol enhances social interactions (i.e., makes it easier to interact with people) or has positive effects(helps to relax, relieve stress or celebrate). Yet, the actual effects of heavy alcohol consumption are often quite different. Students who endorse these beliefs about the positive effects of alcohol are more likely to get into physical fights and engage in unplanned or unprotected sexual behavior. What implications does this have for preventing binge drinking? For identifying fellow students who are at-risk for serious problems?

How would you like others to respond to you when you are involved in dangerous drinking behavior? What, if any, is your responsibility when another student is involved in dangerous drinking behavior? Why would you or would you not intervene? What information or event would cause you to examine or change your current drinking behavior?

Many students are able to drink responsibly and never "lose control." However, the negative consequences of binge drinking are not resticted to the binge drinker. The destructive behaviors of the binge drinker affect the wider community . In what ways are "responsible drinkers" and non-drinkers still vulnerable to the negative effects of binge drinking on campus? To what extent do you think that your fellow students see binge drinking as personally relevant?

Spring break is coming up. What are you planning to do in order to reduce the risk of binge drinking yourself or being a victim of someone else's binge drinking?

Discussion pitfalls
If a student tells a long personal story, you may want to generalize the experience to one that many may have had but "it is important for us to focus on how we can respond to these types of incidents in the future."

If one or more students want to bash the "authority" as in administration, police, the law etc, again you will want to acknowledge their concerns and refer to the forming of the task force but that "the discussion today is to focus on how we personally can and will respond to the problem."