MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- College students who consider heavy drinking a harmless spring break tradition might need to think again.
Binge drinking is a serious problem and puts students at risk for injury and death, an expert says.
Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks within two hours for a man, and four or more drinks within two hours for a woman. About half of college students binge drink, which becomes more extreme during spring break, said Dr. Eric Collins, an addiction psychiatrist at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Conn.
A recent study found that the average male college student had 18 drinks per day and the average female college student had up to 10 drinks a day during spring break, according to a Silver Hill news release.
Each school year, drinking results in nearly 600,000 accidental injuries among U.S. college students aged 18 to 24, and more than 1,800 college students in that age group die from alcohol-related accidental injuries, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Nearly 700,000 college students are assaulted by other students who have been drinking, and nearly 100,000 college students are victims of sexual assault or date rape related to alcohol.
Collins said college students need to know their limits when it comes to drinking, and should call 911 or go to an emergency room if they suspect they have alcohol poisoning.
Other advice for spring break revelers: Stay hydrated, don't accept drinks from strangers, never leave a drink unattended and don't drink and drive.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more spring break health and safety tips.