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Don’t let spring break kill you

The further into the semester we get the longer my alarm clocks ring. I say alarm clocks because it now takes more than one to get me out of bed in the morning. But Monday I had the motivation of knowing that next week is spring break. Midway into the semester, spring break comes at a much-needed time for college students.

But for some, spring breaks for college students can become irresponsible. In popular destinations such as Cancun where the legal drinking age is 18 (rather than 21), more students are able to consume more alcohol, say some medical experts. A college health journal from the American Medical Association reported that 50 percent of men and more than 40 percent of women drank until they got sick or passed out. The AMA also states that alcohol promotions such as wristbands can put students in jeopardy.

A wristband drink special may seem no different than what local bars in Ybor City may offer. But when at an exotic location, where quality drinks are offered all week and inexpensively, the situation can escalate, ending with an involvement with the local authorities. Or, in the worst case, end with a fatality.

Take these numbers into consideration: 364 arrests, two deaths and one rape. The U.S. Consulate said U.S. students accumulated these statistics during an eight-week spring break period in Cancun last year. One death included a case of a 20-year-old Harvard student, who had been drinking heavily and fell from a second-story balcony.

Deadly situations such as these are unfortunate because most of them could be prevented if one is responsible for his or her actions.

In other instances, no matter the location, the AMA says excessive drinking could also lead to riskier sexual behavior. Take for instance a college sophomore who, according to an ABCNEWs.com report, was “pouring tequila down her throat” while dancing on a bar and was quoted for saying, “We just party … whatever happens, happens.”

While I’m sure that may have been a rare case (since I doubt many women could be able to drink tequila like they would a can of soda), it’s still important for women especially to be aware of their surroundings.

While at a bar in Jamaica last year, I had a guy who reeked of alcohol asking me where my hotel room was and if I would have sex with him. Luckily, I was aware and able enough to tell him a few choice expletives and walk away from the situation. The only consequence I have is the vacation’s cost that is still on my credit card.

This is not to say I didn’t take part of any drinking specials and that college students, who are of age, shouldn’t. But if you’re going to, don’t be irresponsible about the decisions you make.

It could be easy to get carried away when margaritas are offered for a $1. Along with many college-aged students, I didn’t pass on the offer when a Margaritaville in Negril started the frozen drink special at 10 p.m.

I even lined up with the rest for refills. The machines were starting to break down by the end of the night because so many drinks were being sold.

While many hotels are located in walking distance of the bar, for others like myself that was not the case. Fortunately, I had a designated driver.

Some blame beer or liquor companies, which sponsor beach parties, offering free or cheap alcohol to students during spring break. David Jernigan, a research director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University, said companies are using spring break locations, to get around the drinking age limitations of other areas and putting them at risk, according to USA Today. But large beer companies such as Budweiser say they aren’t doing anything wrong.

Either way, neither a study nor a company is going to be able to prevent a student from a life-threatening situation. Hopefully, more students will be able to make that call this year.

Grace Agostin is a senior majoring in mass communications. oraclegrace@yahoo.com