Decline in drinking trend continues among UA students - Tucson News Now

Decline in drinking trend continues among UA students

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Every year, the University of Arizona Campus Health Department administers its Health and Wellness Survey. It covers a range of topics, including student drinking habits.

Researchers have found drinking has been going down on campus. According to the survey, in 2002 students drank an average 7.6 drinks per week. But since about 2009, that number has gone down to just more than four drinks per week with the 2012 average at 4.5 drinks.

"The average is spread out across a week, which only three of those days are actually where real drinking occurs." UA senior Michael Lien said. "That might be a statistical skew. It's not a daily trend, it's a weekend trend."

Researchers are seeing the biggest decline in drinking among underage students. David Salafsky, the Campus Health director says part of that has to do with access but incoming freshman are also a major target for drinking awareness programs on campus.

Salafsky says the next goal is to target other groups, namely binge drinkers who he says represent a small number of UA students.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says binge drinking is when men consume five or more drinks and women consume four or more drinks in about two hours. According to the CDC, 70 percent of "binge drinking episodes" involve adults age 26 years or older.

The Campus Health survey doesn't just ask about drinking, though.

"When we started out with the survey, it was more of an alcohol and drug survey," Salafsky said. "It's really evolved into a health and wellness survey. Where we didn't really have questions that spoke to mental health, we've really increased those questions over time."

Salafsky says students are reporting stress, anxiety and depression more frequently and researchers anticipate asking more questions about that in the next survey.

About 2,000 students selected at random were interviewed for the survey.

For more on the research being done and information on binge drinking, visit the following links:

UA Campus Health Service Drug & Alcohol information:  http://www.health.arizona.edu/hpps_aod.htm 

More on how the survey is done:  http://www.health.arizona.edu/about_us_training_and_research_research.htm  

CDC Facts on Binge Drinking:  http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm 

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