Friends Beach Party Drink beer, hold bottles up as a Toast Celebration
Friends Beach Party Drinks Toast Celebration Concept.

The Dangers of Spring Break for College Kids

This notorious university vacation week is fraught with possible hazards.

For many college students, spring break is an exciting time. It’s an opportunity to relax, take a break from academics and spend time with friends in warm, tropical locations like Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Unfortunately, although it can be exciting and pleasant, spring break can be dangerous. There are many problems that college students could encounter during spring break that put their lives in danger.

Spring break is when drinking and drug use are frequently practiced, and even encouraged. This is a popular time for students to party and have fun, often resulting in binge drinking and drug abuse. Unfortunately, students under the influence of drugs or alcohol usually make poor choices, resulting in mishaps, injuries and even fatalities. During spring break, it’s not unusual to hear tales of students getting into fights, falling from balconies or suffering severe injuries. Roughly 1,825 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

One recent example of someone dying due to the influence of alcohol during spring break is that of Tyler Douglas Gilmore. After binge drinking all day in Panama City on spring break, Gilmore fell off of a 10-story high parking garage, leading to his unfortunate and tragic demise. Another sad example was in Daytona, where a 19-year-old student named Christopher Grasso fell off of a balcony due to intoxication. Although he survived the fall, he was significantly injured, and was lucky not to have died. Unfortunately, there are many more examples of college students falling from extreme heights due to drinking all day and losing consciousness.

Using drugs and alcohol over spring break also increases students’ likelihood of being sexually assaulted. Drugs and alcohol use can impair students’ ability to protect themselves or detect when they are in potentially harmful scenarios. Therefore, they may become more vulnerable to sexual predators who may prey on their impairment. Moreover, binge drinking and drug use can result in health issues like alcohol poisoning and drug overdose. When people are unaware of the strength or potency of the drugs or alcohol they are ingesting, they can easily poison themselves. Furthermore, kids need to keep their eyes out for drugs laced with fentanyl. They should be especially cautious of laced marijuana. Even the smallest dosage can instantly kill someone and pose a massive threat to the safety of everyone who takes the laced drug.

Drug and alcohol abuse can have serious long-term effects. For example, overusing drugs and alcohol early on in life can increase the likelihood of long-term addiction as well as chronic medical conditions like liver disease, brain damage and mental illness. Therefore, college students should be aware of the risks of excessive alcohol and drug consumption to stay safe during spring break. This entails being aware of the dangers of excessive drinking or drug usage, being able to spot the symptoms of alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose and avoiding circumstances that might make them vulnerable to being sexually assaulted or taken advantage of. Moreover, students must always drink responsibly, never drive after drinking, and avoid engaging in any actions that could result in severe harm or injury.

Another danger of spring break college students run into is the financial burden the trip puts them under. Travel expenses are the first cost many students have to fund, which may put them in a financial hole. The price of traveling to and from the destination, whether it be airfare, gas or rental car expenses, can soon mount up and significantly affect their bank accounts. Also, hospitality costs add up, and lodging fees are a considerable additional expense. Many students choose to stay in hotels or vacation rentals, which can be rather costly during spring break due to owners ramping up the prices. Costs associated with food and beverages also play a factor, as many college students indulge in expensive dining experiences on vacation.

Other unexpected costs include lost or stolen property, medical issues and vehicle problems. These costs can be challenging to budget for, and quickly strain a student’s financial situation. All three of these are extremely common during this week, as heavy drinking affects one’s ability to keep a good eye on their personal belongings and stay safe from injury. Last but not least, spring break charges may pose opportunity costs. Spending a lot of money over spring break could prevent students from taking advantage of other possibilities, including internships or summer jobs, which can offer long-term financial stability.

While many students see spring break as a chance to relax and enjoy themselves, it’s crucial to be aware of the adverse effects of taking risks. Students should be made aware of the risks associated with excessive drinking and drug use and the significance of making wise financial decisions to reduce short-term and long-term harm. College students can make their time off fun and risk-free by taking simple precautions to keep safe while on vacation.

Joshua Shweiki, University of Maryland, College Park

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Joshua Shweiki

University of Maryland, College Park
Government and Politics

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