College and university students may drink excessively, and one well-known pattern is a drinking binge, defined by one study as consuming 5 or more alcoholic drinks in succession (4 for women). It is generally understood by most people as too much alcohol in too little time.
Students who frequently binge drink are over 20 times more likely than non-binge drinkers to: be hurt or injured; drive a car after drinking; get in trouble with campus or local police; engage in unprotected sex; engage in unplanned sexual activity; damage property; fall behind in school work; miss class.
50% of college men and 39% of college women are binge drinkers. A 1993 American study found that women's colleges, historically black colleges, and colleges whose students tend to live with their parents have fewer binge drinkers on campus. 46% of students became binge drinkers when exposed to campus life where there were already many binge drinkers, and 20% stopped bingeing. At campuses with few binge drinkers, 17% of students became binge drinkers, but a further 48% stopped bingeing.
Since 1993, the proportion of students who binge drink (44 percent) has remained stable. However, the number of frequent binge drinkers - students who binge three or more times in a two-week period - has risen from 20 to 23 percent. Students more likely to binge drink are white, age 23 or younger, and are residents of a fraternity or sorority.