Binge Drinking is Deceptive Term

Calling for a more accurate and realistic reporting of student alcohol consumption, the Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues, a coalition of 21 higher education associations has issued a proclamation asking members of their associations, government agencies, and researchers to refrain from further use of the term "binge drinking" in describing student alcohol use.

The term both traditionally and clinically refers to an extended period of intoxication (usually lasting at least two days) during which time the drinker neglects customary duties and responsibilities.

Henry Wechsler's new and very broad definition of five or more drinks (only four for a woman) on an occasion during a period of two weeks describes very commonly occuring behavior.

Unfortunately, it fails to consider the time period of consumption, blood alcohol level, size of the drinker, or any of a number of other important factors. By Wechsler's definition, a sober person can be labeled a binger.

For these reasons it is misleading at best to report high numbers of students as "binge drinkers" based on this new definition.


  • Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues. IATF Proclamation (

See Also

Filed Under: Alcohol Abuse