Binge drinking is a problem happening at college campuses across the country. Some college students can’t tell how much is too much.
“I’ve fallen, and sprained my ankle after drinking way too much. I felt like an idiot that night, but I still drink. It’s apart of college life. It’s my time to be free,” said University of South Florida student Crystal Evans.
The Center for Disease Control defines binge drinking as the consumption of five or more drinks in a row by males and four or more drinks in a row by females.
According to a study done by Harvard University, 44 percent of students surveyed from over 140 colleges were binge drinkers. Of those binge drinkers 47 percent experienced a drinking-related injury, unplanned sexual encounter or driving incident since the beginning of the school year.
USF Nursing student Shelby Hardee said binge drinkers are damaging their liver and brains. Heavy alcohol consumption can confuse or kill brain cells in both the nervous system and memory. Hardee explained studies have been done suggesting binge drinkers could be increasing memory loss later in adulthood.
After losing a friend to drunk driving in high school USF student Heather Ravioli has vowed to stay alcohol free. However, she is concerned about her other friends, and their drinking habits.
“I’ve had friends black out and forget what happens when they drink too much. They laugh and act like it’s normal but it scares me,” said Ravioli.
Tampa freelance personal trainer Sebastian Flores believes drinking is okay in moderation.
“With the holidays coming up it’s especially important for everyone to know their limits and know what moderation means, you know. When you drink too much you start to make poor choices in all facets of your life. I like to decide before going out what I‘m going to drink and how much. Make a plan and stick to it,” said Flores.
Early Tuesday morning a University of South Florida student’s car was struck while turning onto Alumni Dr. from Leroy Collins Blvd. Tampa police arrived on the scene within minutes, and began communicating with the driver. The driver was coherent and talking but needed minor medical attention. Traffic started to back up as people slowed to see what happened. The Tampa Fire Rescue arrived only seconds before this picture was taken.
The stress of being suffocated by tests, projects and papers has driven students to misuse Adderall and other prescription medications.
A study completed by Harvard Medical School in 2004, in which students from 109 colleges in America were surveyed, 6.9 percent of college students used Adderall within the last year non-medically an increase of 4.1 percent from the previous year. Usage was as high as 25 percent at some colleges.
College students across the globe are using the drug Adderall and other stimulant to keep awake and concentrate during the busy school year. Some students have also begun using the drugs to keep awake while partying at night.
University of South Florida freshmen Luis Gonzalez has been tempted to try the drug. He said.
“Sometimes at 2 a.m. when you’re only three pages in a eight-page paper, you think about it,” said Luis Gonzalez. “I haven’t done it but I have plenty of friends who have. I see it done on campus all the time.”
Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder. The way it is prescribed is through a series of questions with a doctor.
Daytona Beach psychiatrist Sally MacMaster first began seeing college students around finals week come into her office trying to get prescriptions for Adderall, but now it’s year round.
“The abuse of the medication has become a problem so the prescription process is now more elaborate with more questions and a longer time frame,” said MacMaster. “Students don‘t realize how addicting it can become.”
Ramya Matthews a pharmacist at the Wal-Greens accross the street from the USF Tampa campus said Adderall and other drugs are stimulants that help people focus.
“I have some older customers who’ve been taking the medication for years and now need it in a way to stay focused,” said Matthews. We also have plenty of students from the school who pick up their medication here.”
Students should plan for stressful endings of the semester, and should be cautious of taking medicines not prescribed to them.
The people living without healthcare in an unpredictable world play Russian roulette with their health and finances.
According to the 2008 U.S Census, 15.4 percent of the population currently has no healthcare. The number of Florida’s uninsured is at 20 percent, one of the highest in the nation.
Students Programs Coordinator Susanna Perez-Field thinks that the University of South Florida students without health insurance is equal to or exceeds the national average.
She said that since USF does not mandate health insurance the school does not track information on who has it.
Last year USF considered requiring insurance. Student Programs officials placed a question on the Student Government Associations election ballots asking students how they would feel about mandated healthcare.
The idea was set aside after a staggering 75 percent of students voted against it, Perez-Field said.
USF offers students a discounted health insurance program that cost $2,570 per year. For the 2010-2011 school year only 480 undergraduate students signed up for the program.
Senior Tony Harrison feels steep prices and confusing policies are the problem with the healthcare system.
“I have health insurance but honestly I feel like it’s ripping me off. I have no idea what is covered with my plan and what isn’t. I just got whatever my mom told me to,” Harrison said.
Transfer student Tung Nguygen uses USF Student Health Services, which is free for students, as a replacement for health insurance.
“The clinic is free or cheap for check ups but if I was to really get injured I’d be in a world of trouble but I just honestly can’t afford that right now,” said Nguygen.