Drinking downfalls

Ashley Green

After a long week of classes, students may be tempted to go out and have a little too much fun on the weekends. What are the possible consequences of all this too much fun?

Physical risks

Consuming five or more standard drinks in a short period of time can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Signs of alcohol poisoning

  • The individual is unconscious.
  • The individual is breathing slowly or irregularly.
  • The individual’s skin is cold, clammy and discolored.
  • The individual is experiencing seizures.
  • The individual is vomiting excessively.

Students should always call for help when they see someone with these signs.

Mental concerns

Alcohol can damage the hippocampi of someone under the age of 25. The hippocampi is the part of the brain that has a central role in memory processes. It becomes smaller when someone abuses alcohol, which affects the person’s ability to form lasting memories.

The prefrontal cortex development can be hindered, leading to impulsive behavior and lack of reasoning. The prefrontal cortex plans and directs motor, cognitive, affective and social behavior across time. 

Legal action

In Iowa, what is typically known as a minor in possession is called possession of alcohol under the legal age so as not to discriminate against people between the ages of 18 and 21. This charge will land a student a $330 fine for his or her first offense.

“Some students don’t have a great grasp on what $330 looks like,” ISU Police Officer Anthony Greiter said. “So if you look at gaming systems, a PlayStation 4 is less than $330, [and] an Xbox One is just over $330. That’s five to 10 pretty decent dates you could go on if you hadn’t been caught one time with one container of alcohol.”

Fake IDs

Owning or seeking out someone who owns fraudulent identification goes hand in hand with underage drinking, but legal action differs. The use or possession of a fake ID is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and a suspended driver’s license.

Students who provide their personal information, photo and signature to a stranger are at a high risk of having their identity stolen, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. 

Drinking and driving

Everyone’s heard the story: Someone’s had a few too many drinks, but still chooses to get behind the wheel. The end result usually involves varying levels of tragedy. When drinking and driving doesn’t result in death, legal consequences are severe.

Public Intoxication

Often mistaken for disorderly conduct, a public intoxication charge is defined as a public display of drunkenness. A public area includes any facilities open to the general population, including residence halls.

A first offense public intoxication includes a minimum 30-day jail sentence, a hefty fine and court costs. After two years, an individual charged with public intoxication can petition the court to have it removed from his or her record.


“Alcohol is something where you turn 21 and all of a sudden, magically with the flick of a switch, we’re now considered mature enough or capable of handling that alcohol by law,” Greiter said. “But with narcotics you’re not, ever.”

Narcotics are illegal for people of all ages. People who are caught possessing any illegal drug, substance or drug paraphernalia are sent to court and fined, jailed or imprisoned.