College students often enjoy social events that allow them to take a break from their classes and studies, and many of these events include large amounts of alcohol. Some students attempt to increase their levels of intoxication by consuming alcohol before each occasion. This is known as frontloading, and it can have dangerous consequences.
Why Do College Students Participate in Frontloading?
Scientists believe that students take part in frontloading for enhancement and coping purposes. The students may drink prior to the party to alleviate nerves or to make the event more enjoyable. They may also join their friends who are frontloading because they donâ€™t want to feel different or be left out. Other students may do it because they like the feeling of being intoxicated and want to feel the effects for as long as possible. Researchers found that men are drawn to frontloading to enhance their experiences, while women participate in it to cope with their feelings. College freshmen are also prone to using frontloading as a technique to help them experience their newfound freedom and to help them cope with the many changes that they experience during their first year away from home.
The Consequences of Frontloading
While college students may enjoy frontloading before each party or event, the practice can lead to some serious consequences. Studies have found that those who participate in pre-event drinking may be involved in unprotected or unintended sexual intercourse, and many suffer from falls or injuries. Frontloading can also lead to blackouts, toxic blood alcohol levels and participation in vandalism.
What Can Be Done?
Since it is estimated that three in four college students are frontloading, university health professionals are dedicated to overcoming the trend of frontloading among their students. They are spreading awareness about the practice and its effects through counseling, college newspaper articles and pamphlets. Many universities have also implemented policies that reduce the likelihood of experimentation and excessive use of alcohol during their homecoming festivities and spring vacation periods.
Frontloading is a serious activity that has attracted the attention of many college students. By spreading awareness about the practice and finding the motives behind the behavior, colleges and parents can work closely with students to minimize the negative effects of their excessive drinking habits.