Alcohol abuse and March Madness



With March Madness around the corner, Nickolaus Hayes encourages people to enjoy the tournament in a responsible and safe manner.

Nickolaus Hayes, Guest Columnist

Editor’s note: Nickolaus Hayes is a healthcare professional in the field of substance abuse and addiction recovery. He strives to provide current, up-to-date facts about drug and alcohol abuse to his readers. His primary focus is spreading awareness by educating individuals on the topics surrounding substance abuse.

For every tip-off during March Madness, one can bet students and fans will consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

Significant dangers are associated with binge drinking and excessive alcohol use, especially among underage adults. During the NCAA tournament, students and fans attend tailgate events, bar viewing parties, and post-game celebrations to have a drink.

While the tournament has a significant positive effect on every school involved, it exposes countless students and fans to excessive alcohol consumption.

Fortunately, there are practical ways to avoid the pitfall of binge drinking, stay sober, or take part in the festivities responsibly.

Initially, if you know someone struggling with an alcohol or drug addiction, it is vital to intervene and get them help. Any substance use problem becomes worse with time.

“Binge drinking is more common among men than women and among younger adults aged 18 to 34,” said Marcel Gemme of

Unfortunately, for many people within this age group, there is a lack of awareness or preventative information about the dangers of overconsumption of alcohol.

Binge drinking is a pattern of consuming alcohol to increase blood alcohol concentration rapidly. Generally, among men, this is five drinks or more within two hours, and among women, four drinks or more within two hours.

There are severe consequences that include: alcohol poisoning, suicide attempt, health problems, injuries, unsafe sexual behavior, driving under the influence, involvement with police, sexual assault, assault and even death.

These consequences are avoidable by making responsible decisions. Suppose you are of legal age and a casual drinker. Stick to one or two alcoholic beverages during the game and drink water in between. Have a full meal to avoid having an empty stomach. Even if you do not feel drunk, do not drink and drive.

In contrast, if you are in recovery from addiction or choosing sobriety, focus on avoiding relapse triggers and managing negative emotions healthily—for example, bars, parties, negative influences or environments, and set clear boundaries. Bring non-alcoholic drinks and go to the celebrations with sober like-minded friends. Have an exit plan if things become too much to manage. Finally, have support available, such as meetings, friends, family or school peers.

March Madness is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. Yet, the fun of the tournament should not cost you your health or future. Alcohol abuse is avoidable; everyone can make responsible choices with the correct information.