The recent alcohol-related death of Minnesota State University Moorhead sophomore Patrick Kycia has opened many eyes to the consequences of binge drinking. Here at the University, the number of students who participate in binge drinking is up to more than 45 percent, higher than the national average of approximately 44 percent. These activities can not only result in death but also and more often in consequences such as personal injury, physical or sexual assault, or falling behind academically.
Kycia’s body was found Sept. 27 in the Red River in Moorhead. His autopsy states drowning as the cause of death, but Kycia reportedly was intoxicated when he left a party at Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. His blood-alcohol level and confirmations of any possible drug use haven’t yet been determined or reported. A statement issued by the grand chapter of the fraternity states that the fraternity is not responsible for supplying Kycia with alcohol and that the party was not an official fraternity event. Many agree that the fraternity shouldn’t be held responsible, because they were not forcing Kycia to drink that night.
According to recent national statistics, 1,700 students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from accidents resulting from drinking too much alcohol. More importantly is that 599,000 in the same age range are injured, and 696,000 experience assault by an intoxicated peer. Of those assaulted, 97,000 students report sexual assault, including nonconsensual activity. Eleven percent of binge drinkers vandalize property, and 1.2 to 1.5 percent attempt suicide while intoxicated.
Aside from physical consequences, national statistics also show that 25 percent of students who participate in binge drinking feel academic consequences. These include missing or sleeping through classes, falling behind and receiving lower grades.
Though drinking plays a role in the average student’s social life, one should keep in mind the reality of the consequences that can result from overdoing it. Binge drinking shouldn’t be a constant in anyone’s life. Students should look out for themselves and their friends when they choose to drink alcohol. Most importantly, be aware of the consequences that are most serious.