The annual Night of Decadence party at Rice University is considered one of the most legendary college parties in the country, with more than a thousand people showing up each year.
This year, eleven students were treated for alcohol poisoning.
Crystal Collier is Director of Youth Services at the Houston Council on Alcohol and Drugs. She says too many people accept binge drinking as part of the college experience.
“A lot of parents think that they should teach their kids how to drink before they go to college so that they don’t binge drink when they get in to college. And that’s actually the wrong way to think about it. What we want to do is keep our kids as clean and sober as we possibly can so that their brain is formed and making really healthy decisions.”
Binge drinking is more common among freshmen and sophomore students than older students. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows about 40 percent of people between 18 and 25 engage in binge drinking.
Collier says the definition of binge drinking surprises a lot of people.
“Really binge drinking is having more than three or four drinks in one sitting.”
One sitting means no more than three or four servings of alcohol in a four to six hour period.
Collier says it makes a difference when parents set strong consequences for their children regarding alcohol use and also model healthy drinking habits.