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Heavy Drinking More Common on Campus Than Off -Study

Mon Mar 7, 2005

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. college students drink more alcohol and are more likely to binge drink than young adults who are not in college, but the nonstudents are more likely to be dependent on alcohol, a study said Monday.

Other studies have found that college students are more likely to take part in heavy or binge drinking than peers in the same age group who do not attend college.

The 2001 survey of 6,300 people aged 19 to 21 found 18 percent of college students reported alcohol-related problems compared to 15 percent of those not in college.

Students also exceeded their nonstudent peers in weekly, monthly, and yearly alcohol use, the report said.

But nonstudents were more likely than students to drink daily -- a sign of alcohol dependency.

"The results of this study provide a more encouraging message about the consequences of college drinking than many of the recent reports," wrote study author Wendy Slutske of the University of Missouri at Columbia.

"Although college students suffer from some clinically significant consequences of their heavy-handed drinking, they do not appear to be at greater risk than their noncollege attending peers for the more pervasive syndrome of problems that is characteristic of alcohol dependence," she wrote.

Alcohol is involved in about 1,400 student deaths, 500,000 injuries, 600,000 assaults, and 70,000 sexual assaults each year on U.S. college campuses, said the report published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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