Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Researchers estimate that each year:

  • Deaths: 1,519 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.1
  • Assaults: 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.2
  • Sexual Assaults: Although estimating the number of alcohol-related sexual assaults is exceptionally challenging—since sexual assault is typically underreported—researchers have confirmed a long-standing finding that 1 in 5 college women experience sexual assault during their time in college.3 A majority of sexual assaults in college involve alcohol or other substances.4,5 Research continues in order to better understand the relationships between alcohol and sexual assault among college students. Additional national survey data are needed to better estimate the number of alcohol-related assaults.
  • Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): Around 15% of full-time college students met the criteria for past-year AUD, according to the 2022 NSDUH.6
  • Academic Consequences: About 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class or getting behind in schoolwork.7

1 Methodology for arriving at estimates described in Hingson R, Zha W, Smyth D. Magnitude and trends in heavy episodic drinking, alcohol-impaired driving, and alcohol-related mortality and overdose hospitalizations among emerging adults of college ages 18–24 in the United States, 1998–2014. J Stud on Alcohol Drugs, 2017;78(4):540–48. PubMed PMID: 28728636

2 Hingson R, Heeren T, Winter M, Weschler H. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24: changes from 1998 to 2001. Annu Rev Public Health, 2005;26:259–79. PubMed PMID: 15760289

3 Muehlenhard C, Peterson Z, Humphreys T, Jozkowski K. Evaluating the one-in-five statistic: women’s risk of sexual assault while in college. J Sex Res, 2017;54(4-5):549–76. PubMed PMID: 28375675

4 Carey KB, Durney SE, Shepardson RL, Carey MP. Incapacitated and forcible rape of college women: prevalence across the first year. J Adolesc Health, 2015;56(6):678–80. PubMed PMID: 26003585

55 Lawyer S, Resnick H, Bakanic V, Burkett T, Kilpatrick D. Forcible, drug-facilitated, and incapacitated rape and sexual assault among undergraduate women. J Am Coll Health, 2010;58(5):453–60. PubMed PMID: 20304757

6 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 8.33B – Alcohol use disorder in past year among persons aged 18 to 22, by college enrollment status and demographic characteristics: percentages, 2021 and 2022 [cited 2023 Dec 27]. Available from: 

7 Wechsler H, Lee JE, Kuo M, Seibring M, Nelson TF, Lee H. Trends in college binge drinking during a period of increased prevention efforts. Findings from 4 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study Surveys: 1993 to 2001. J Am Coll Health. 2002;50(5):203-17. PubMed PMID: 16562416

An official website of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Looking for U.S. government information and services?