Healthy Living

Algoma Public Health

REPORT: Alcohol & Post-Secondary Students: What Parents Need to Know

  • Facebook
  • Email

Alcohol & Post-Secondary Students: What Parents Need to Know - PDF File 

Binge Drinking in Algoma


Self-reported binge drinking of at least once a month:



 12-24 year olds     

25+ year olds     
 Algoma      1 out of 2 1 out of 5
 Ontario 1 out of 3 1 out of 7


Nearly 90% of 18-24 year olds in Algoma drink alcohol and nearly 50% binge drink at least once a month. Only about 20% of 25+ year olds in Algoma binge drinking monthly. 


For comparison, about 33% of 18-24 year olds in Ontario binge drink at least once a month and only about 15% of 25+ year olds. 

Binge Drinking Quick Facts


What is binge drinking?


  • 5 drinks on one occasion for males
  • 4 drinks on one occasion for females 

What are common activities with binge drinking?


  • “Pre-drinking” before going out 

  • Drinking games

These activities promote excessive drinking and especially prevalent in the post secondary (18-24 years old) age group

Start the Conversation


  • Do not assume your son/daughter is immune from the pressure to drink

  • Talk about alcohol related issues that affect the post-secondary school age group (i.e. drinking and driving deaths, sexual assaults, vandalism, violence and academic suspensions)

  • Be clear about expectations regarding alcohol

  • Help your son/daughter plan ways to minimize   alcohol related risks using the Safer Alcohol Drinking Tips

  • Be a role model for moderation

  • For additional detailed discussion of strategies, see Parent Alcohol Handbook 

Safer Alcohol Drinking Tips 


  • Drink slowly

  • Set realistic limits for yourself

  • Have one non-alcoholic beverage for every alcoholic beverage consumed

  • Eat before and while drinking alcohol

  • Always stay with a friend

  • Never get behind the wheel of a vehicle or with someone else who is impaired

  • Do not mix alcohol with medications or energy drinks

Spotlight on Binge Drinking with Post-Secondary Students


Every year there are numerous alcohol related injuries, drinking and driving deaths, sexual assaults, vandalism, violence and academic suspensions associated with post-secondary drinking. All of these situations could be prevented. 


Binge drinking is a common risky behaviour for young adults. Binge drinking is defined as exceeding 5 or more drinks on one occasion. This is becoming an increasing problem with post-secondary students. It is time to create change and make moderation the new social norm.

But how do we do this?

If you are a parent of a college or university age child remember they can still benefit from your experience. Think about your own alcohol use. Are you modeling responsible drinking? Parents play an important role in this change. Young adults tend to model the behaviour of their parents before them. 


Start or continue the conversation about alcohol use and the consequences of excessive drinking. Research shows us that parents who talk to their children about alcohol avoidance strategies before they began their first year of college were most likely to avoid alcohol, limit its use, and spend less time with heavy drinking peers.


How do we create this dialogue?


  • Pick a time and place wisely – a relaxed quiet place
  • Don’t lecture, listen to what they have to say and ask questions such as “Did you have fun at the party” or “What are your parties like?”
  • Challenge claims and beliefs such as “everyone drinks” or “I have to drink to fit in” with proof and help navigate these feelings to get a clear picture. 
  • Learn why they feel pressured to drink – these reasons may seem irrational but need to understand them to relate
  • Develop strategies together for drinking outside of their home such as a buddy system and never leaving drinks unattended
  • Be caring, understanding, respectful, and helpful



Date created: September 12, 2016