College students who study abroad drink more alcohol while they are away, according to a new survey by a firm that provides risk management services to Americans traveling abroad.
The survey, released by On Call International, included 1,000 current or recent students who studied abroad in college. Half of the students who drank alcohol said they drank more while studying abroad, Bloomberg Business reports. The survey found 11 percent said that while abroad, they were more likely to black out while drinking. In addition, 29 percent of those surveyed said they had used drugs while studying abroad, and 11 percent said they tried a drug for the first time.
“Students may feel invincible, but there are many real dangers when they venture out on their own,” On Call International’s Chief Security Officer, Jim Hutton, said in a news release. “In unfamiliar situations, risky behaviors like drinking, drug use and going home with a stranger take on a new level of risk. Students who don’t understand their limits could find themselves injuring themselves or others, or being arrested by law enforcement for their actions and removed from their study abroad programs. In addition, young college students can be an easy target for theft or other crimes, and are especially vulnerable when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. To mitigate these risks, universities should institute mandatory pre-travel training sessions for any students who are heading overseas, as it is the institutions’ responsibility to ensure student safety.”
A 2014 survey of college students found about 39 percent have used one or more illegal drugs in the 12 months preceding the survey.
The Forum on Education Abroad, a group that facilitates foreign study programs, found the most common incidents involving American students studying abroad were related to illness, especially diarrhea. They found there were more cases of gastrointestinal illnesses than aggravated assaults, robberies, and deaths combined.