Two hundred out of 500 university students who attended an anti-binge drinking campaign by the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation were identified as "problem drinkers" and received counseling.
Choi Eun-joo, at the foundation's alcohol counseling center in Mapo said, "More than half of the students who received counseling were women, and 15 percent of the women said they drink on a daily basis until they have no recollection of what happened the previous night."
Drinking is a serious problem among Korean university students. A study last year showed that 94.4 percent of university students drank at least once a year, which was higher than among U.S. students (86 percent) and Korean adults (78.5 percent).
The study also showed that 85.4 percent of university students drank at least once a month, which was higher than the rate among adults (59.4 percent). The rate for women students was double the rate for adult women at 82.6 percent.
Although the overall rate of drinking declined, instances of binge drinking, or consuming four to five shot glasses of soju at once, rose to 70 percent as of 2009.
"University students are not immune to the stresses caused by unemployment, scarce jobs and tough financial conditions," said Kim Kwang-ki, a professor at the Inje University's Graduate School of Public Health. "Students are growing slowly accustomed to the unique culture in Korean society of judging people’s ability by their tolerance for alcohol."