The media is constantly conjuring up new scares for the general public to worry about. One of the hottest topics of the last decade has been binge drinking. Drinkaware give us the NHS definition of binge drinking as “drinking heavily in a short space of time to get drunk or feel the effects of alcohol.”
A lot of the negative press associated with binge drinking is tied to a specific social group… Students. I am not going to try to convince anyone here that students don’t binge drink, or try to deny the sheer number of students that go out just to get drunk. It is part of the ”
university experience” and very rare to find a student who is teetotal.
Although students are more than likely responsible for high proportion of alcohol-related illnesses and injury admissions to A+E, it is other social groups I find more worrying.
In recent months I have noticed the middle-aged drinkers and their habits with alcohol. In August I attended Leeds music festival. As you can imagine, this was an event where alcohol was flowing quicker than water. Although there were plenty of drunk teenagers and students I encountered, It was the middle-aged drunks who stuck in my mind. I witnessed men in their mid 40’s stumbling around fields, falling over and even vomiting in crowds of thousands of people. And the women were worse. Jumping around, shouting and screaming, one woman ended the night with her face in the mud!
Unfortunately, this isn’t even the worst example of drunkenness I have witnessed from the older social groups. I was asked to attend my former boss’ birthday barbecue. When I was planning what drinks to take with me I said to myself, “It is probably going to be a more friendly socialise than a drunken evening, I will take two beers with me.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was one of the last to arrive and was greeted by a scene I wasn’t expected. Shots being passed round, Vodka Jellies being drunk and Ice buckets filled with beer. I would have said that some of the guests at the party were drunk when I arrived at 6 30pm. As the evening progressed, more and more of the guests got drunk. I soberly witnessed the events of the evening.
One of my former colleagues was paralytic by 8pm, where he passed out inside, broke a washing line when trying to steady himself and then fell into a hedge. He was taken home before 9pm! This from a man who had to be at work for 5am the next morning.
Again by no means am I saying that these scenes are any worse than you would witness in any town centre on a “student night”, I just hope that everyone can think of similar situations in their lives and remember that it isn’t just us students that go out and get drunk. So next time your criticising someones “binge drinking”, think back, no matter how old you are, because last time you were like that probably wasn’t that long ago. Give us students a break, It isn’t just us!