As the binge drinking culture continues to thrive in universities, the levels of excessive alcohol consumption soar, but universities are attempting to tackle the booze.
Grace, 21, a student from the University of Brighton living at the Hastings campus, recalls her typical night out:
“Normally I just buy half a litre of vodka from a supermarket and mix it with lemonade. I’ll drink most of it before I leave, because I want to be drunk when I get to the bar.”
Half a litre of vodka contains around 20 units of alcohol. That means Grace is consuming nearly seven times more than the recommended 2-3 units of alcohol per day guideline, in one entire sitting. She continues:
“I’m often sick. I know I’ve had enough when my friends are holding my hair back over the toilet bowl.”
This type of binge drinking can cause a lot more damage to a person’s health, than just the average hangover.
Alcohol awareness charity, Drinkaware, says binge drinking can cause you to become more accident-prone, as your balance and coordination is impaired when drunk. In extreme cases, an overdose of alcohol can cause respiratory and heart failure, resulting in death.
Mental health problems can also develop from excessive alcohol consumption. It can affect your memory and mood, which is often a trigger for anti-social behaviour and violence.
According to the NHS, in 2008/9, over 24,000 young people received NHS treatment for alcohol-related problems.
Rebecca, 50, works for a substance misuse clinic in St. Leonards, Hastings. She’s seen the impact of alcoholism in young people:
“It’s no longer a rarity to have a girl of 25 referred to me due to alcohol addiction. It starts with binging, but once it becomes a habit, addiction can take hold of that person. It destroys them.”
As the binge drinking culture intensifies, universities are taking action to offer an alternative to this dangerous lifestyle.
The National Union of Students (NUS) launched their Alcohol Impact project at the University of Brighton in May 2014 for a 12-month trial. The project promotes a cutback on binge drinking, a responsible social culture and encourages staff to arrange diverse events.
As the trial period comes to an end, soon we can see if the project has made an impact on student life, proving everyone can enjoy a safe and sociable learning environment.