Does Snooki need rehab for her drinking problem?

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzo is a charming little fireball who took the world by storm with her guido and guidette friends on MTV’s Jersey Shore last year.

They became pop culture icons for their over-the-top personalities, penchant for alcohol binges and the indiscriminate sexual activity that can accompany it. Most people who have been to college, (or been between the ages of 18 and 23) have experienced at least a taste of this type of care-free, irresponsible behavior. For most of us, however, too much of this stuff can fail us out of college, ruin our job prospects, and have other fairly immediate consequences that usually leads to curbing behavior before we develop a more severe problem that can lead to crippling health problems, and other life-ruining type situations.

For the young adults on Jersey Shore, the more drunken, debauched behavior, the bigger their paychecks, fame, and opportunities. And that could lead to a dangerous path.

In May, when Snooki was filming Season 2 in Miami, the pint-sized star (she’s only 4’9″) drank so much she had to be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. The curious thing about that scary incident is that the show’s producers didn’t report on the incident or air any of the footage on the show. It was a startling omission, since the show thrives on drama. What could be more dramatic than a frightening trip to the hospital? Were they purposefully missing out on an opportunity to show some of the gritty realities of binge drinking in order to justify continuing to encourage that type of behavior in their cast members?

Snooki didn’t seem to learn much from her hospital stay either. Last summer while she was filming Season 3 on the beach at Seaside Heights, N.J., Snooki drank so much in the middle of the day that she was arrested for disorderly conduct.

After her arrest, Snooki promised to curb her drinking, but months later she’s making the media rounds promoting her new book and Season 3 of Jersey Shore claiming to “black out once a month” and talking about waking up in garbage cans.

While she admitted to Ellen that she didn’t want to be a role model for kids, the type of behavior she’s brushing off is incredibly dangerous. Even if she “cuts down” and stops blacking out, she still may be drinking too much, especially for her size. A woman of average size should only have one drink per day or no more than three drinks during an infrequent “binge” to stay within a range that’s considered “less harmful” by U.S. health organizations like the CDC. With Snooki’s petite frame, she should probably be imbibing even less than that amount.

Health problems aside, the real issue is the reason Snooki and her cast members are drinking so heavily in the first place. They do it for attention, and to prevent having to face the drama and issues in their lives. It seems highly likely that future seasons of MTV’s sister station VH1’s Celebrity Rehab might feature Snooki and her cast-mates if they aren’t able to get a handle on their partying after the lights fade (or even when the lights are still on).

UPDATE: Although Snooki cut down on her drinking for a while to lose a little weight, she continued to really booze it up in Italy. On one particular episode, Snooki drank so much with Deena Cortese, the other cast members were embarrassed and shocked. They started out with multiple shots, had champagne (Deena danced so much her panties came off) then followed up with vodka seltzers, beer, and drinks at a club. That’s a lot of alcohol for little girls! Deena and Snooki ended up making out, and spent the night in the same bed, which was bad because Snooki was in a relationship with Jionni back home. (The Situation still maintains that she also cheated on Jionni with him.)

Snooki’s ex Emilio even Tweeted his concerns about Snooki’s drinking: “This is Disgusting. MTV’s Jersey Shore is turning Nicole into an Alcoholic. They are killin her liver. That’s not the nicole I knew! Poor girl.”

Image credit: MTV

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