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Using Social Media to Combat College Drinking

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Binge drinking is a common practice among college-age young adults. Consuming as much alcohol as you can, as fast as you can, is the goal of many young adults – despite the dangers which accompany the practice. The college years, for many, are a time when people are first exposed to heavy drinking, which means that many young adults are naive about the health consequences of drinking too much. It is imperative that college faculties are effective in reaching their students – educating them about alcohol and reminding them that help is available if drinking gets out of control.

Effective Ways of Reaching Young Adults

The alcohol industry is no stranger to effective marketing tactics and in recent years have implemented million dollar social media campaigns to increase sales. A group of experts suggest that colleges and universities be equally as vigilant, using social media to educate their students about alcohol, Forbes reports.

“I think for any organization trying to curtail alcohol use or binge drinking, it’s almost imperative to have a social media presence because that’s where the kids are,” said Michael Siegal , a professor at Boston University who studies the effects of marketing on youth substance use. “Especially since it looks like the alcohol companies have a presence, it can’t be a one-way street.”

Big Alcohol Taps Social Media

In 2012, 898 alcohol brands had 1,017 separate sponsored Facebook webpages, including individual pages and accounts, according to the report. When you consider that comScore data indicates that 75.6% of millennials use Facebook, it is clear that social media needs to be the front line in combating unhealthy drinking practices.

“Universities use social media for promoting athletic events and campus activities and educational enrichment activities, so surely a good campus would put alcohol messages on the list,” says Ken Winters, director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at the University of Minnesota. “At minimum, I should know where I can get help on campus if I have a drinking problem and have occasional reminders of activities available that are alcohol-free.”


If you are a young adult with an alcohol use disorder, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. At Design for Change, we specialize in gender specific 12-Step based treatment.

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