Parents: If the words “spring break” bring to mind scenes of Gidget and Moondoggie waxing up their surfboards, then it’s time for a reality check. If “spring break” conjures up images of days and nights of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, then consider yourself up to date on this annual college ritual.
Not all college students choose rowdy escapes. More and more campuses are promoting alternative spring break activities such as drug-and alcohol-free parties and sporting events and “service” vacations that range from repairing trails in state parks to studying wild dolphin societies in Florida.
That said, parents should be aware of the risks and temptations college students face when vacationing with their peers.
According to a University of Wisconsin study, 75 percent of college males and 43.6 percent of females reported being intoxicated on a daily basis during spring break. Nearly half of the males and more than 40 percent of the females also reported being drunk to the point of vomiting or passing out at least once during break. This kind of binge drinking is the major culprit in alcohol poisoning. It also increases the risk of car accidents and arrests for such violations as drunk driving, public intoxication and property destruction.
Tips to pass along to students: Don’t drink, but if you are of legal drinking age and you do decide to drink:
Decide in advance what and how much you will drink.
Plan how you will refuse once you reach your limit.
Know what will happen if you violate state or local laws
Use a designated driver or choose public transportation.
Sex and Violence
According to the same University of Wisconsin study, few students who had sex during spring break used condoms, even if a condom was available. Among women, those with higher alcohol consumption were more likely to have been the victim of a sexual assault. Tips for parents to pass along to students: