March 17th is almost here, a day that many people will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. While the day is named after the Irish Saint Patrick and the celebration of Ireland’s culture and the arrival of Christianity, it has now evolved into a different type of celebration over the years (Bellum, 2012).
Today, many honor St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green, decorating with shamrocks, and drinking green alcoholic beverages. St. Patrick’s Day is also regarded as one of the biggest drinking days of the year, and with that many adults who imbibe do so at dangerous rate by binge drinking.
When a person binge drinks, their Blood Alcohol Content or BAC is raised at a level above 0.08 grams (Watson, 2015). For women, having about four drinks in two hours is considered binge drinking while it is five or more drinks for men (Watson, 2015). One statistic found that in the United States, “one in six adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge” (Watson, 2015). In younger populations such as college-age students, binge drinking rates are alarming. In 2019, it was reported that 52.5% of college students age 18-22 drank alcohol in the past 30 days (College Drinking Prevention). Further information from the report indicated that in 2019, 33% of 18-22 year old college students were binge drinking in the past month (College Drinking Prevention). Binge drinking has also led to more motor vehicle accidents and deaths. In fact, drunken driving causes over 1,800 deaths of college students each year (Watson, 2015).
During this St. Patrick’s Day, please remember that it is illegal to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. If you have a college student at home please discuss the dangers of binge drinking with them such as the risk of alcohol poisoning and overdose as well as never driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances. It is also important to know that the brain is not fully developed until age 25, and that even one instance of binge drinking can create lasting damage to the brain (Bellum, 2012).
Please stay safe and well!
Tara Estright, Community Coalition Coordinator
Bellum, S. (2012, March 15). St. Patrick’s Day: Leprechauns, shamrocks, and…
binge drinking? Message posted to https://archives.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/st-patricks-day-leprechauns-
Watson, R. (2015, March 14). St. Patrick’s Day drinking: Facts, hangovers, and
advice. Message posted to https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-and-gratitude/201503/st-