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June 28, 1995

Binge Drinking in College

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis

JAMA. 1995;273(24):1903. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520480021020

To the Editor.  —Dr Wechsler and colleagues1 provide an excellent assessment of the effects of binge drinking among college students, including "secondary binge effects" on nonbinging or nondrinking students. I propose that similar secondary effects occur among nondrinking students in medical school.When I started medical school in 1983, out of my class of 169, there were no more than five other nondrinkers. As one of the nondrinking students, I came under regular and frequent pressure from many members of the freshman class to drink alcohol when I attended class events. This pressure left me feeling alienated and added unnecessary stress during my freshman year. I regarded this pressure to drink alcohol as significant because I had never experienced similar pressure during high school or college.Even the medical school administration seemed to regard alcohol as an essential part of social interaction within our profession. I have already recounted

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