‘I was terrified’: Student shares experiences with binge drinking

By Cara Kalouris

Binge drinking had a traumatizing effect on one Youngstown State University student. The sophomore, who spoke to The Jambar on the condition of anonymity, shared her experience.

“I remember drinking about seven, maybe eight mixed drinks, and after that, nothing,” she said. “I blacked out and don’t remember a single moment of the night. The next morning I woke up in a random apartment on a random couch. I was terrified. I was so scared that something bad happened.” 

She said this instance inspired her to be more responsible when drinking with her friends.

“After that night, I made the decision to never do something like that to myself ever again,” she said. “Not being in control of your actions, physically or mentally, is a very scary experience. I wish [I would’ve] known the risks of binge drinking before I had to learn the hard way.”

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter. 

For adults, this level corresponds to males consuming five or more drinks and females consuming four or more drinks in a frame of two hours. One drink is equivalent to a 12 fl oz beer, a 5 oz glass of wine, or a 1.5 oz shot of distilled spirits.

Teresa Peck is an RN and MSN with the nursing faculty at YSU. She takes students to local hospitals for clinical experiences, where she said the patients are often college students who binge drank.

Peck said binge drinking affects the central nervous system, brain, liver, kidneys, heart and pancreas. These effects can be short and long term. Some short-term effects include a drop in blood sugar, dehydration, loss of electrolytes, irregular heart rate and increased blood pressure.

“With long-term binge drinking, cancers of the liver, mouth, throat and the esophagus are common. Breast cancer is increasing in women,” she said. “You also have long-term risk of increased hypertension and heart attacks.”

She said if you encounter someone who’s binge drinking, it’s crucial to know what to do if they experience alcohol poisoning.

“The best thing to do is to call 911. People don’t want to do it because they don’t want the student to get in trouble,” she said. ”But it’s better to do that than to have somebody pass out and die.”

Jacob Haskins, case manager for student advocacy and support, facilitates help for individuals who fill out or are the subject of Penguin of Concern referral forms.

“Any time that there is something going on in a student’s life and a faculty member, friend or a parent thinks they can benefit from some additional outreach, they turn in the form,” he said. 

He said most students who binge drink use it as a way of coping with mental health issues. He urges students to use the resources provided on campus.

For the YSU sophomore who had the incident with binge drinking, she hopes her story will help other students avoid similar experiences.

“It’s inevitable for college students to drink,” she said. “Instead of telling them not to, it’s extremely important to bring awareness so they can help themselves and their friends.”