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June 28, 1995

Binge Drinking in College

Author Affiliations

University of Washington Seattle

JAMA. 1995;273(24):1903-1904. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520480021022

To the Editor.  —We commend Dr Wechsler and colleagues1 for bringing the seriousness of college student binge drinking to public consciousness. Since the study by Strauss and Bacon,2 few disagree that college students constitute a risk group for alcohol problems as a result of excessive drinking. The question now (as it has been for years) is what can be done.The solution is in part determined on the basis of how binge drinking is defined. Wechsler et al define binge drinking as five or more drinks in a row for men and four or more drinks in a row for women. This criterion fails to address the student's body weight or the interval over which the drinks were consumed. If drinks consumed "in a row" are evenly distributed over 3 hours, a person could meet the binge criterion but not be legally impaired to drive (a blood alcohol

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