In With the Old and Out With the New?

Binge drinking across college campuses in America continues to be a main health concern throughout the country. Until recently the binge drinking standard throughout America was set at 5+ drinks per drinking occasion for men and 4+ drinks per drinking occasion for women. These numbers were highly focused on weighing the risk for negative consequences during a particular night out with the obvious correlation being the more drinks the riskier the behavior and evening may become. One problem with this standard is that it didn’t define what constitutes as a “drinking occasion” based on the important variable of time. I believe that we can all agree that sometimes a night out can last from 10:00 PM to midnight, making the “drinking occasion” a total of two hours long. ¬†And I am also sure that we have all had “drinking occasions” that have lasted from 10:00 PM way into the morning hours of 3:00 AM, making the total drinking time five hours long. As you probably already know there is a huge difference between drinking 5+ drinks in a 2 hour period or time vs. drinking 5+drinking in a 5 hour period of time, hence the problem with the old “binge drinking standard.”

In response to these concerns, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism task force recommended adding a time “qualifier” of 2 hours to the already set binge drinking standard. Why is time such an important variable you may ask? When you drink alcohol your body needs to metabolise it in order to get the alcohol out of your system. The general rate for metabolizing alcohol is 1 drink per 1 hour. This rate may unearth some problems with the time qualifier of 2 hours.

In order to compare the old and new a standard in regards to the estimated frequency of reaching a BAC of 0.08% and the overall experience of negative drinking consequences. The results surprisingly showed that the new binge drinking standard accounted more for reaching a BAC of 0.08% while the old method did significantly better on avoiding negative drinking consequences. Hence the jury still being out on which is the best method. However, which ever method you use be sure to have fun and be safe.

Corbin, W., Zalewski, S., & Leeman, R. (2014, October 23). In with the Old and Out with the New? A Comparison of the Old and New Binge Drinking Standards. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from

Leave a Reply