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College Drinking - When Friends Get Into Trouble

How to Help a Friend


College Drinking - When Friends Get Into Trouble
Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The reality is, too many college students drink. But when you look at the top issues for college kids - the things that end up affecting their academics - it's a list topped by stress, flu and colds, sleep issues, and concern for friends and family.

Friendships are crucial to people of any age, but particularly to college students, far from home. When friends and booze intersect, troubling issues may arise. So, here are tips you can share with your college-aged child on how he can help keep his friends safe in a heavy partying, college drinking environment, and what to do when a friend's drinking spirals out of control.

  • Never Leave Your Buddies Behind: It's a horrifying face: The biggest issue on college campuses is date or acquaintance rape. Alcohol is involved in some 90% of campus rapes. If a friend is under the influence, do not, under any circumstances, leave her (or him) to get home under her own power. Friends protect friends.


  • "Sleeping It Off" is a Myth: Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, slows the heart rate and breathing, and lowers blood pressure. Someone who has drunk enough to pass out has depressed his central nervous system beyond the point of consciousness. So leaving him to "sleep it off" in some back bedroom may mean he never wakes up again. Stay with him, check his breathing and skin temperature, and try to rouse him periodically. If you cannot awaken him, call 911. It's vastly preferable to face a friend's wrath than his funeral.


  • Margarita Mondays: People who get blitzed every day of the week are clearly abusing alcohol, but it doesn't take nightly binge sessions to arouse a friend's concern. If your child is concerned about how much a friend is drinking, he doesn't have to stage a full-on intervention to help. There are less extreme ways to offer support and concern.
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