Special to the Village News
March Madness is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. Fans and students witness some of the best up-and-coming basketball talents in the nation.
However, it is also a sure bet that for every tip-off during the tournament, students and fans are consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. There are tailgate parties, bar or house viewing parties, and post-game celebrations, often with a single-minded purpose, to drink alcohol.
It can be challenging to avoid heavy drinking during March Madness, but there are practical approaches that anyone can use.
First, if you know someone struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it is vital to get them help. Their substance use problem will become worse with time.
“Binge drinking or heavy drinking is most common among men and those aged 18 to 34,” said Marcel Gemme of Addicted.org. “We believe that preventative information and an increases awareness about alcohol abuse is critical in preventing problematic alcohol consumption.”
While the NCAA tournament positively affects every school involved, there is a negative impact. Students and fans are heavily exposed to the influence of excessive alcohol use. However, avoiding the pitfalls of alcohol abuse is not impossible.
Suppose someone is in recovery from addiction or choosing sobriety during the tournament, in that case, plan ahead. Begin by identifying relapse triggers, such as people, places, environments, groups, or anything that could trigger someone to drink.
Avoid these triggers by setting clear boundaries and limitations. Manage the negative emotions and have a healthy outlet, such as exercise or a hobby. Attend any game or post-game celebrations with other sober like-minded people.
Have an exit plan in the event things become too much to manage. Finally, have support such as group meetings, peers, friends, or family to lean on when needed.
In contrast, suppose someone is a casual drinker of legal age. Stick to having one or two alcoholic beverages during the game. Drink water and have a full meal to avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Avoid drinking games and environments that promote binge drinking. Never drink and drive, even if you do not feel intoxicated.
Binge drinking is a pattern of consuming alcohol that rapidly increases blood alcohol concentration to or above 0.08%. Generally, among adult men, this takes five or more drinks in two hours, and for adult women, four or more drinks in two hours.
Statistically, one in six U.S. adults binge drink, with 25% doing so at least weekly. Excessive alcohol use has been known to increase during significant sporting events.
There are severe and dangerous outcomes as a result, which affect college students, their families, and college campuses.
The more dangerous consequences include alcohol poisoning, suicide attempts, health problems, injuries, unsafe sexual behavior, DUIs, sexual assault, assault, and even death.
While the NCAA tournament is an exceptional sporting event, participating in the festivities should never cost someone their health or future. Stay safe, be responsible, and make good choices.
Nickolaus Hayes is a healthcare professional in the field of substance abuse and addiction recovery. He strives to provide current, up-to-date facts about drug and alcohol abuse to his readers. His primary focus is spreading awareness by educating individuals on the topics surrounding substance abuse.