Know the facts before you begin drinking in college

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Every year during the period of graduation exercises, my mind wonders back to 1989 when my son finished high school and was about to enter college. Going to college is the time when most teens are entering the world of making major decisions on their own.

As my late husband and I were taking our son to his dormitory, we noticed one giant trashcan filled to the brim with empty beer cans and liquor bottles. I was shocked to see this and found out from other friends who had students attending other institutions that they had seen similar situations where their children were attending, Unfortunately, this is still one major freedom still in schools of higher learning today – the consumption of alcohol; because just like holding a cigarette some teens think that holding a glass is being cool, grownup and sophisticated. Little do they know that there can be terrible consequences and bodily harm that they can experience when they make the decision to use these drugs.

According to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Drugs and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, alcohol is America’s No. 1 drug problem among youth and is the one drug that the majority of youth in the eight grade or older teens have tried at least once.

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Heavy drinking can cause severe health problems including cancer, liver and pancreatic disease, heart disease and birth defects. It can also harm every organ and system in the body. Cancers of the larynx, mouth, throat, and esophagus are all linked to alcohol consumption. Other health problems for the drinker include loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, stomach problems, hormone deficiencies and memory loss,

As a student entering college you should know that the last thing that you need is a loss of memory because your memory will that is the major tool that you need to get you through four years of advanced studies.

In most colleges and universities you have to maintain at least a 2.5 gpa or C average to remain.

According to Dr. Alan Harris, acting coordinator for students services for the Hobbs campus at Paul D. Camp Community College, the grade scale there is as follows: A-4, B-3, C-2, D-1 and F-0. He also said that is a student fails or flunks out of college, there is a possibility that he can enter another one because students are transferred by credits and not by grade point averages.

However, if you decide to transfer, let it be for a very good reason and not because you couldn’t make the grade at an institution of your choice due to careless behavior.

It is a coincidence that I Harris was referred to me when I was requiring about averages because during our conversation, I also learned that along with two other courses that he teaches at the school, he also is an alcoholic education instructor. To me, this is a sign that I am on the right track.

Other things that will play a big part are the kind of students you pick to be your friends and please be alert to the different sororities and fraternities on campus and what they may ask you to do to join. Year after year, no matter how much bad news you hear about someone getting killed by consuming too much alcohol or other pranks by these organizations someone else ends up in the same way because he or she had not been warned of the danger of initiations. Consuming too much alcohol can mean chugging alcohol, which is drinking too much, too fast. This can cause unconsciousness or even death.

Listed here are other facts about alcohol from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

nAlcohol is as much a drug as marijuana and cocaine.

nA 12-ounce can of beer, a wine cooler, a five-ounce glass of wine and a 1 1/2 ounce shot of whiskey all contain the same amount of alcohol.

nPeople who just drink beer or wine coolers can become alcoholics. The percentage of alcohol in these drinks may be low but they still contain enough alcohol to cause dependency.

nAlcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which goes directly into the bloodstream and affects nearly every organ in the body. It also lowers inhibitions, impairs judgment, reduces coordination, slows reaction time, dulls the senses and blocks memory functions.

nAlcohol can cause cancers to form in the mouth, throat, pancreas, can cause painful ulcers in the stomach, can cause the kidneys to break down, the hart muscles and heart to lose its regular beat, damage brain cells and the brain to shrink, and cause a serious and deadly disease in the liver called cirrhosis.

Help is available for teenagers who have problems with alcohol. If you know someone or suspect that a friend has a problem, he or she should talk to a counselor, friend or parent about getting help. Alcoholics Anonymous the local branch of the National council on Alcoholism, a family physician or a clinic can be of assistance. Al-Anon and Alateen are two other groups that can provide help

I congratulate all graduates on jobs well done.

My deadline for information on churches and civic leagues to be published in the 2004 Sketchbook Edition is Thursday, and to date I have contacted many churches and have heard from only a very few. The publication is scheduled to be on the stands Sunday, June 27.

The publication is a guide to living and playing in Suffolk and is a quick way for the community to learn about what your business, church, club, and civic league has to offer. It is also a tool that gives information that your telephone directory does not provide.

For churches I need to have the following: the church denomination, pastor’s name, service times, mission statement, address, Web address, size of active members in congregation, special programs, church notes, anniversary programs, &uot;come as you are&uot; days or other special events. This advertisement is free to you.

I have now done my part to inform you of this great opportunity in a previous column about a month ago and today. It is now up to you to take advantage of it.

Evelyn Wall is a News-Herald staff writer and regular columnist. She can be contacted at 934-0615. or via e-mail: