University Police: Students are getting drunker

Vincent Samperio, Contributing Writer

A study conducted by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles shows that the number of students drinking and partying is declining.

However, according to University Police Captain Scott Brown, partying at Cal State Long Beach has remained the same – but with one major difference.

“The students are much more drunk,” Brown said.

UCLA’s survey found that the number of students who reported drinking beer “frequently” or “occasionally” was at an all-time low of 33.4 percent in 2012, compared to the peak of 73.7 percent in 1982 according to past CIRP surveys.

Being more intoxicated may result from binge drinking, a pattern of heavy drinking that usually consists of five or more drinks for men in a single occasion and four or more for women, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Patrick Toste, a senior graphic design major, said he believes that students are drinking more heavily than before.

“At least from what I’ve seen … everyone wants to be wasted at a rager,” Toste said.

According to statistics provided by University Police, however, the number of DUIs on campus decreased from 54 in 2007 to 29 in 2010. The DUI records do not take into account if the driver was actually a student or not.

The number of public intoxication arrests has also fluctuated since 2006 with numbers ranging from four to 18 arrest issues each year in the span of seven years, according to University Police statistics.

One statistic that has gone down is liquor law violations on campus. The number of violations has declined from 17 violations in 2008 compared to 2012’s two violations, according to University Police.

Linda Peña, health educator for the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Program at CSULB, said that she has not seen much change regarding alcohol use at CSULB. The number of students in Step 1 of the ATOD program, which is a mandatory three-hour class for students cited for an alcohol violation, has not changed much over the past semesters, Peña said. The program’s enrollment ranges anywhere from 96 students a semester to 179 students a semester.

The fall semester numbers are usually lower than spring semester numbers, according to Peña. She also said that most students have already tried or used alcohol before entering Step 1 of the program.

CSULB Sigma Chi founding President and senior communications major Tom Chavez said he hasn’t seen any change in students’ wanting to drink and party.

“I don’t think there’s been a change at all,” Chavez said. “College kids are going to do what they want to do, and it seems like they still want to drink.”

Chavez said he thinks that freshmen will always want to drink because some have never experienced it or have only done so on a few occasions.

Senior public relations major Ty Gates said he thinks that students may drink less as they get older.

“I used to party a lot more when I was younger and so did my friends,” Gates said. “Once classes get harder, students don’t see partying as worth it in return for failing a class.”

Peña said that if students have any questions, concerns or need help with alcohol problems as well as drugs, they can visit Student Health Services.