2 out of 32 out of 3, 00 BAC
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What is the Alcohol Study?

In the Fall of 1997 and 1999, teams from the UNC Highway Safety Research Center collected breathalyzer data from University of North Carolina students who were returning home to fraternities, sororities, residence halls and apartment complexes.

Data were collected between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on every night of the week for 6 weeks. Most of the interviews took place on the main 'party nights:' Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In total, 1,846 UNC students participated in '97 and 2,535 in '99.

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What we found:


The data revealed several interesting findings, but the fact that stood out most was:

On the main 'party nights' in 1997, about 68% of students had no alcohol in their system when they were interviewed. That resulted in the message now seen on several posters around campus:

Whether it's Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, 2 out of 3 UNC
students return home with a .00 BAC
(Blood Alcohol Concentration)

By 1999 the figure was up to 70%, so the message should probably read "7 out of 10" rather than 2 out of 3.

Another finding also debunks the common misperception that many college students are problem drinkers: Those students who drink (and about 80% do so on occasion), have on average fewer than 3 drinks per week.

Don't believe it?

In talking to UNC students about the study results, we discovered that many don't believe the "2 out of 3" fact is accurate. When we asked why, we discovered that some students misinterpreted the message to mean that, 2 out 3 UNC students don't drink at all. Although a few news stories have reported it that way, that's not what the study found.

Even though the majority of UNC students report drinking on occasion, the results of this large, scientifically rigorous study show that on any given night, even weekend nights, the large majority of students don't drink anything. This doesn't fit the stereotype of college students. Perhaps that is part of the reason that some people find it hard to believe.

Some people who were not on campus at the time these surveys were conducted don't realize how they were done and that may be part of the reason they are skeptical.
Click here to see more details about how the data were collected.