Summary: The Dangers of Spring Break Behaviors

Spring break trips frequently involve heavier drinking than on college campuses as well as an increase in risky sexual activity.

  • A recent poll conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that alcohol and sexual activities play a potentially dangerous role in spring break trips among college co-eds. This poll was conducted on a nationwide sample of 644 women ages 17-35 years old who currently attend college, graduated from college, or attended (but did not graduate), and reside within the United States. 83% of those polled agreed that spring break trips involve more or heavier drinking than what occurs on college campuses and 74% said spring break trips result in increased sexual activity. The poll also found that an overwhelming majority (83%) of women had friends who drank most of the nights while on spring break. Furthermore, nearly 3 out of 5 women knew friends who had unprotected sex during spring break. Almost all those polled (92%) said it was easy to get alcohol while on spring break and 2 out of 5 women agreed that easy access to free or cheap alcohol or a drinking age under age 21 were important factors in their decision to go on a spring break trip. Each year in Cancun, Mexico, a major spring break destination for American college students, the city and hospitals report an increase in deaths, rapes, injuries, assaults, and arrests related to drinking. In Daytona, Florida, another popular spring break destination, county officials reported twice as many rape cases during the month of spring break in 2005. 59% of those surveyed support restricting the content of spring break flyers and ads on campus, and 61% support prohibiting drinking or alcohol specials as part of any tour package. Approximately 71% support increased regulation of the tour agencies, and 81% support the idea of requiring colleges to offer alternative spring breaks that do not include alcohol. The AMA said the poll results highlight the need for policy change, including offering alternative spring breaks and restrictions on alcohol advertising on campus. Parents are also strongly encouraged to talk with their children about the health risks of alcohol use and spring break.1

1Sex and Intoxication Among Women More Common on Spring Break According to AMA Poll, American Medical Association, March 8, 2006, pp. 1-2.

 

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