Finding Common Ground for Effective Campus-Based Prevention

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This commentary reviews the controversy over use of the term binge drinking to describe college student alcohol consumption, argues for abandoning the term, and explains how doing so will help unify and reinvigorate campus-based prevention work. Binge drinking has been defined for men as 5 or more drinks in a row at least once in the previous 2 weeks and as 4 or more drinks for women. There is no scientific basis for focusing on this measure to the exclusion of other consumption measures; neither is there justification for labeling such consumption binge drinking, which reinforces an exaggerated view of student drinking. To build support for environmental management strategies to reduce alcohol-related problems, campus officials should avoid terminology that demonizes students and instead embrace the responsible majority of college students as an essential part of the solution.

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