While most college students think nothing of a night out drinking with their friends, for one family, it became their worst nightmare.
According to 20/20, Lauren Spierer disappeared from Indiana University just over six years ago in early June after a night of heavy drinking.
The department of applied health at Indiana University defines binge-drinking as consuming five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more for women. Using this definition as a basis, this department concluded that a large number of students develop excessive-drinking habits during their college years.
“I am finding more and more college-aged people are beginning to drink earlier in the day,” said Pat Clancy, Fort Wayne family and individual therapist.
Indiana University also reports there are sociological consequences of heavy-drinking tendencies, such as an increased crime rate, increased number of unintentional injuries among students, as well as an increase in student assaults.
Clancy said that with more students engaging in early drinking activities, more alcohol is consumed over the course of the day, leaving a bigger window of opportunity for dangerous situations to occur, and added motivation.
Breeanna Fusselman, a junior in communication from Ossian, said drinking on college campuses is an expected activity.
Fusselman said she believes incoming freshman are at the highest risk for alcohol abuse and poisoning, due to the fact that they are unaware of their limits.
Chad Landez, IPFW and IU alumnus, said he thinks heavy drinking is a coping mechanism that many college students turn to automatically, due to the association society places between college and drinking.
Landez went on to say he believes many college students make it a goal to drink excessively when they go out on the weekends. In other words, they drink to forget.
Courtney Bourne, a Ball State junior in criminal justice from Markle, said college students tend to have a work hard, play harder mindset. They get all their work done during the week. Then come Thursday or Friday, it’s time to loosen up. Bourne said the problem with this mentality is people tend to get carried away, especially after encouragement from peers.
“They live for the weekends,” Bourne said. “There has to be a way that college students can relieve stress from the week, and most of them turn to alcohol because it an easy fix, and they like the way it makes them feel.”
According to an IU on student drinking patterns, Greek houses and college athletes are at the highest risk of engaging in heavy drinking. The department found that as athletic participation increases, so does alcohol consumption among athletes. In terms of fraternities and sororities, the department reports heavy drinking is the central activity at most social events between the houses.
Emma Browning, an IPFW freshman undeclared major from Fort Wayne, said she recently learned in her psychology class that alcohol was a more addictive substance than marijuana. Browning believes police departments should crack down on college drinking, in order to deter students from drinking so excessively.
As for the Lauren Spierer case, 20/20 reported no further progress has been made. Spierer remains amongst the many college students who have gone missing during a night out gone wrong.