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Consequences

A snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences

High-risk college student drinking includes the following:

  • Underage drinking
  • Drinking and driving or other activities where the use of alcohol is dangerous
  • Drinking when health conditions or medications make use dangerous

Binge drinking; that is, 5 drinks in a row per occasion for males and 4 for females*

*Moderate drinking by persons of legal age is defined as no more than 2 standard drinks per day for men and 1 per day for women.


The consequences of excessive and underage drinking affect virtually all college campuses, college communities and college students, whether they choose to drink or not.

  • Death:  1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • Injury:  599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • Assault: 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • Sexual Abuse: 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • Unsafe Sex: 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex (Hingson et al., 2002).
  • Academic Problems: About 1 in 4 of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Thomas, Olds, Bondy et al., 2009)
  • Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem (Hingson et al., 2002), and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use (Presley et al., 1998).
  • Drunk Driving: 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009).
  • Alcohol Use Disorder: About 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder (SAMHSA.2014 NSDUH)
  • More Information: https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/  or https://niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special-populations-co-occurring-disorders/college-drinking