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Campus-related drinking effects can lead to harsh outcomes

College life typically represents young adults' first time living on their own. Being away from the parents provides a sense of independence and responsibility, plenty of campus and personal opportunities as well as some temptations. The latter can lead to plenty of experimenting including with alcohol.

Drinking has become a ritual for many students, some of whom already had an established habit before arriving at college. Beer-soaked parties and mixers filled with binge drinking are not uncommon. Potential dangers go hand-in-hand with these events.

Affects students, parents, communities

The Philadelphia metro-area includes a number of high profile colleges and universities that are home to thousands students -- undergraduate and graduate.

A national survey from 2014 disclosed that nearly 60 percent of college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month, and two-thirds of that group admitted to binge drinking - consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period.

Not only does drinking alcohol affect students, but it also affects parents and the community. An estimated 1,825 college students ages 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related injuries that are unintentional. This includes falls, alcohol poisoning and motor vehicle accidents.

DUI penalty tiers in Pennsylvania

Getting behind the wheel after a night of imbibing alcohol is never a good idea. When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI), Pennsylvania relies on a series of penalty tiers - one of which applies to underage drinkers. Here are the descriptions:

  • Under state and federal laws, any driver with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 percent is considered legally drunk. This is considered the "per se" BAC limit.
  • There's basically a zero tolerance blood alcohol content limit for drivers under the age of 21 in the state. If you're an underage drinker and caught with a BAC level of 0.02 percent, you will be charged with DUI.
  • Enhanced penalties are in place for people whose BACs range from 0.10 to 0.159 percent and for amounts that are 0.16 percent or higher.

Penalties vary, but can lead to fines, suspension of driver's license, jail time, and the installation of an interlock ignition system. If you're going to drink alcohol on campus, do so responsibly. Don't over-do it. You have a lot of life happenings to look forward to in the future.


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