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Alcohol is the most used and abused drug on college campuses today. The majority of college students nationally and on the Cornell campus report consuming alcohol at least once in a 30-day period, despite minimum drinking age laws which make it illegal for a significant percentage of college students.

Risky drinking among college students—drinking that results in harm to either the individual and those around them—garners much attention in the popular press. However, most students, including Cornellians, tend to drink moderately or not at all. Based on Fall 2013 data, 72% of students report consuming, on average, four or fewer drinks when socializing in a setting with alcohol. While these students may occasionally experience negative consequences from drinking, they do so at a level much lower than students who drink more.


Cornell tracks student drinking trends using a number of different strategies. Review the most recently reported findings (pdf). Gannett Health Services regularly surveys student health concerns, including drinking on the National College Health Assessment and the CORE Alcohol and Drug Survey. For those interested in trends over time, we have made available CORE Survey Data (pdf) from 2000, 2003 and 2005. These data include:

  • use of substances in past 30 days
  • frequency of alcohol use in the last year
  • number of drinks per sitting
  • experience of negative consequences due to alcohol or drug use in past year
  • experience of second-hand effects due to other students drinking in or around campus
  • comparison of Cornell's findings to a national sample