Alcohol, Nightclubs, and College Students: A Lethal Cocktail

February 19, 2007 by  
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By William L. Smith Ph. D.

Drugs and alcohol are the most common substances abused by teenagers. Alcoholism, also know as alcohol dependence, has symptoms such as craving, loss of control, loss of memory, physical dependence, and increasing tolerance. Approximately, 10 million current drinkers are under the age of 21, about 4 million are binge drinkers; including 2 million who are heavy drinkers all of them are between the ages of 16-21 years old.

One in three college students now drinks solely to get drunk. About 30% of women in college reported poor grades with the increased use of alcohol and drugs, and 60% of college women diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease contacted while they were drunk.

The absence of ongoing oversight by parents and caretakers offers college students the freedom to makes choices, develop personality, and to engage in social experiment. These are all natural and necessary path to adulthood. However, the road to adulthood also create an environment that is susceptible to crime and victimization. Which may include opportunity for drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and hate crimes all common on today’s college campuses and the surrounding communities.

Statistics that support the wide-spread use and abuse of alcohol by teenagers and college students are readily available. This is also true for alcohol-related crimes and anti-social behaviors on college campuses across the nation. However, statistics on crimes against college students, especially women, off campus are not so available. In many large urban cities bars and nightclubs are increasing at a very rapid pace; and their economic survival depends successfully reaching out to the younger patrons, including college students. These establishments act as a magnet for many college students who find them more attracted than the traditional college hing-out. The problem is that many of these nightspots are hunting grounds for hard-core criminals, pimps and predators seeking susceptible and available victims, especially those under the influence of alcohol.

A recent study showed that intoxicated people are more vulnerable to violent crime because they exhibit more risk-taking behaviors. For example, they are more likely to go out alone at night, visit places where violence is most likely to occur, and intoxicated individuals have impaired cognitive problem-solving abilities. In other words, these individuals will go places and things that they sober peers would not do; or they would not do when sober.

While doing the research for this article, the local television news station announced that the police had recover the body of the college student who was reported missing, three days ago after a night of drinking at a popular New York City nightclub. In the past few years New York City seems to have more than its share of violent acts against young women after a night on the town. An examination of recent crime statistics shows that New York City is at its safest in recent memory. However, the discovery of another dead student suggests that it is not very safe for young women drinking in nightclubs and bars late at night.

This latest victim of New York City night life is Jennifer Moore, 18-year old, of Harrington Park, New Jersey. Jennifer Moore was murdered just five months after a female graduate student went missing after leaving a popular bar in SoHo. The student, Imette St. Guillen 24, had been drinking alone, in a bar called the Falls, until closing time. Her naked body was discovered the next day wrapped in a quilt in a swampy area near Belt Parkway in Brooklyn New York. Darryl Littlejohn 41, a bouncer employed at the Falls a career criminal, had been charged with the murder. Draymond Coleman, 34, another career criminal, and a pimp is accused of beating and strangling Jennifer Moore to death inside a Weekhawken hotel. Her body was found in a trash bin in a parking lot, in a squalid area in New Jersey across the Hudson River, West New York.

Further research and we find other cases of similar circumstances involving alcohol and the murder of young women. Last October, Tabitha Perez, a 24 year old saleswoman from the Bronx, was shot and killed outside the Viva a bar in upper Manhattan. In April, a 21- year-old woman from Newark, New Jersey, Jessica Martinez, was struck by a car while crossing the West Side Highway after leaving a nearby nightclub where she had been drinking. Another New Jersey college student, Mark Fisher, 19, was killed in 2003 after a night of partying in Manhattan and Brooklyn, ending with him alone among strangers, two of whom were convicted in the robbery and murder.

According to recent studies, New York City has been under the spotlight due to a sharp increase in bars and nightclubs, but a greater number of homicides occur in other boroughs. Shootings on Saturday nights outside nightclubs in less affluent neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx is a regular occurrence.

Andrew Karmen, a sociology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that “the drug most implicated with violence is alcohol.” Being under the influence of alcohol has been shown numerous times to raise the risk of being either a victim or an offender.

Dr. William Smith is a psychologist and personal consultant with over 30 years experience working with groups and individuals. Dr. Smith had many successes working, online, with Adult Children of Alcoholic, Survivors of Incest, and other Sexual Trauma, Relationship Problems…Including all forms of quality of life issues. If you have a very personal issue that you feel professional consultation is needed…Dr. Smith is the professional to contact at:

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