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The scary reality of binge drinking

 article about The scary reality of binge drinking
After reading all the disturbing reports in the UK papers about ladette culture, and female binge drinkers, I forced myself to take a good look at my social life over the last few years to see if I fell into that category. And I scared myself with the results.

Binge Drinking has been defined as the consumption of large quantities of alcohol at a single session resulting in intoxication, and as much as I now hate to admit it, intoxication on a night out at University was the norm, not just for me - for everyone.

My university drinking days make me wonder how my liver still manages to function and Im surprised I actually have enough brain cells intact to sit here writing this now. Drinking five days out of seven was not unusual. We all did it. Britains pub culture is what we are famous for and we certainly live up to our reputation.

Recent reports show that there has been an alarming rise in 16-24 year olds drinking, with 50% of males and 42% of females consuming well over the recommended levels. In comparison to the rest of Europe, Britain is head-and-shoulders above everybody else, with Sweden coming in second and Finland in third.

The Government is supposedly taking measures to try and curb its nation of drinkers, introducing measures such as on-the-spot-fines and ASBOs (anti-social behavioural orders) but with the potential changes in Britains licensing laws due to take place in the next few years, which will allow pubs to open 24 hours a day, the future does not look promising.

In an effort to justify to myself exactly how I fell so easily into a binge drinking routine, I feel some of the blame must lie at the doors of marketing companies, pubs, clubs and student unions. Buy two glasses, get the rest of the bottle free, two-for-one on shots, pints and shorts, 50p extra for a double, and the fact that it actually costs more for a pint of blackcurrant and lemonade than it does for a pint of lagerthe list is endless. To the drinks industry, 18-24 year olds are easy money. Advertising campaigns seduce you with a sophisticated image of drinkers, good-looking people, all behaving within the confines of society, enjoying lifes little luxuries. Yet in reality, it couldnt be further from the truth. Aside from incurring memory loss, alcohol consumption is one of the biggest influences toward the increase in violence. Hospitals have noted the concern rise in women brought in after a night out, who have been glassed or beaten up. Thankfully, I have never suffered from any violence on a night out, but Ive seen it happen.

For myself and a large number of my friends, binge drinking has become less common now we have left our student days behind us. Hangovers are harder to get over, and with only two days off a week, who wants to waste them hiding in a dark room until they can focus properly?

I dont know why the British drink so much more than any of our neighbouring countries. It is, however, something we need to look at - and fast - otherwise in 20 years time we are going to have a nation crippled by health problems. We will be incapable of looking after ourselves, let alone our country.

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