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Pour it up? UGA ranks among top 20 colleges in America for alcohol use 

While the University of Georgia is no longer the nation’s No. 1 party school, alcohol is certainly not difficult to find around campus, according to a new ranking.

» RELATED: Hold my beer: This Georgia university was ranked No. 2 party school in the country

In fact, according to the Princeton Review’s 2019 “Best 384 Colleges” book, which features survey data from 138,000 students at 384 schools, the Athens university is one America’s top 20 colleges known for lots of hard liquor.

The “Best 384” collection contains 62 different rankings, including best quality of life, most LGBTQ-friendly, party schools and schools with lots of hard liquor.

» RELATED: Binge drinking, risks common far beyond frat houses and the young

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This year, UGA didn’t even crack the Princeton Review’s 2019 top 20 party schools in the U.S. — a stark contrast from its No. 1 rank in 2010. But it did come in second overall in Niche.com’s 2018 party schools ranking, which featured surveys from students at 1,440 colleges about their school’s party scene and nightlife.

And of the top 20 colleges included in the Princeton Review’s 2019 “Lots of Hard Liquor” ranking, based on students’ answers to the question, “How widely is hard liquor used at your school?” Georgia ranked 12th.

The University of Delaware, Pennsylvania’s Juniata College and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, rounded out the top three.

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In 2010, when the Georgia school was ranked the top party school in the nation by the Princeton Review, university leaders were not pleased. 

“UGA has been on the party school list for a while, but it’s one we prefer not to lead," spokesman Tom Jackson said in a statement. “We’d rather focus on the Green Honor Roll listing as a top environmentally conscious campus or the top 50 ‘Best Values' listing.”

» RELATED: What's the best college in Georgia? Depends who you ask 

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May published new research about the long-term effects of heavy drinking, common at schools known for party culture.

According to the study, more than 37 million Americans (or 1 in 6) reported binge drinking (four or more drinks in a setting for women; five or more for men) approximately once per week in 2015.

In fact, binge drinkers on average consume seven drinks in a single setting. 

» RELATED: Two Atlanta colleges among the best in the world in new global ranking

But the habit is on the decline at some colleges, including at UGA.

According to a previous AJC report, UGA drinking rates have decreased over the past five years, and about 55 percent of incoming students this year identified as abstainers or non-drinkers.

“Parents may think they are the last people their kids will listen to when it comes to drinking but all evidence says teenagers do listen to their parents on this,” Britany Newton, coordinator of Voices for Prevention and advocate for substance abuse prevention, previously told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Have those conversations with your kids about going to a party and if a keg shows up at a party and they are uncomfortable, establish a code word so parents know when their kids want to be picked up.”

» RELATED: Even one drink per day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

According to the CDC, binge drinking account for more than half of the 88,000 excessive drinking-related deaths in the country.

“Students love to brag about the high number of bars per capita in Athens,” Review authors noted, “but there’s plenty more to boast about,” such as downtown Athens’ music and arts scene or intramural sports on campus.

Still, football, Greek life and tailgating dominate the social scene.

» RELATED: Americans binge 17 billion drinks a year, CDC estimates

At UGA, 62 percent of students polled in Niche.com’s 2018 analysis said Greek life is a significant part of college culture at the Southern school. Nearly half of students said varsity sports are also a big component of campus life.

Athens has also been recognized as the second-best college football town in America by USA TODAY and is famous for its nearly 100 bars and world-renowned restaurants. 

Explore more from the “Lots of Hard Liquor” ranking.

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