Early Spring Break has a Downside

While spring break is supposed to be an amazing time in an exotic place with no worries, many students lose control of their inhibitions and spiral into the dark realms of drug and alcohol abuse.

“Two years ago I went to Cancun on spring break and had a really bad experience,” said junior Justine Garone. “I drank too much and ended up being rushed to an emergency room. I nearly had to get my stomach pumped. I’ve never been so scared.”

Garone’s experience is hardly uncommon when considering the self-indulgence of spring break.

According to the American Journal of College Health, the average male reported drinking 18 drinks per day and the average woman reported drinking 10 drinks per day during spring break.

What Garone got out of her experience was a new sense of taking responsibility for her actions.

“I definitely learned my limit,” she said. “The experience will always be in the back of my mind whenever I drink.”

Alcohol is hardly the only dangerous temptation associated with spring break.

According to researchers Bharath M. Josiam and George L. Smeaton, drugs were abused more during break, with marijuana being the drug of choice.

The use of other illegal drugs such as Ecstasy is a part of the experience for many and is becoming more widely abused on campuses.

Ecstasy use has increased dramatically among college students in just the last few years. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the use of Ecstasy is up 71 percent since 1999.

Reuters news service reported that researchers have tied Ecstasy to other drugs and dangerous behaviors. The same researchers reported that Ecstasy users were more likely to engage in binge drinking, cigarette smoking and have several sexual partners. Nine out of 10 students who used Ecstasy had also used marijuana.

Ruth DeRosa, the executive director of St. John’s Counseling Center, has some advice for spring breakers. “Don’t do drugs because, basically, spring break becomes only about your alcohol and drug use, and not about the people that you met or the sites you saw or the things you experienced. It’s about ‘When am I am going to get drunk again?’

“You don’t really need alcohol and drugs to have a great spring break. You need to have a great time with great people,” she said.

The Counseling Center, located on Marillac’s first floor, offers a wide variety of information, including pamphlets, fact sheets, and one-on-one counseling concerning drug and alcohol abuse.