Rethink the drink

University social scenes promote binge drinking, according to study findings and Mt. A students

Binge drinking is when someone has consumed four or five drinks in under two hours, and is a behaviour we should learn to identify in ourselves and in those around us. The harsh reality is that heavy drinking is a major factor in morbidity and mortality worldwide.

Countless studies have examined trends in binge drinking in young adults, as university culture tends to encourage binge drinking. On a more general scale, a 2016 study from researchers at the University of Calgary found that one-fifth of the Canadian population engages in binge drinking.

The 2016 study also stressed the importance of knowing that binge drinking has a strong correlation to violence, injury, unsafe sex and heart attacks, making it a potentially dangerous form of alcohol abuse.

Another study found that students consume the most alcohol at parties (6.0 drinks per sitting), in bars (5.1 drinks per sitting) and in university residences (5.7 drinks per sitting). It was also found that as the size of a social group increased, alcohol consumption also increased.

A group of Mount Allison students were interviewed to see if their social lives reflected the results of these studies.

Generally, Mt. A students noted that they consume the most alcohol when they are in social settings with large groups of people.

Third-year Keely McGill said, “It seems that social group atmospheres tend to promote the pressure to conform to a drinking culture even though people might not be comfortable with it.”

Another trend that many Mt. A students touched on was the notion that alcohol is often used as a catalyst to increase sociability, or just to fit in.

Emma Hachey said, “Especially as a first-year student, parties are a place where you can meet people and drinking tends to coincide with that.”

McGill remarked, “Although the pressure to binge drink at a party may always be there, it seems to lessen after the first year at university.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, the Mt. A Wellness Centre, which is located on the bottom floor of the Wallace McCain Student Centre, has resources available to assist in these situations. There are counsellors available who are more than willing to help and can also refer you to addiction counsellors in the community.

On Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m., Mt. A will be hosting a #ReThinkTheDrink event in Crabtree. A peer-led panel discussion will discuss binge drinking culture and associated alcohol harms. The event is partnered with the Postsecondary Education Partnership – Alcohol Harms and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

If you are interested in engaging in a discussion about binge drinking, want to learn more about it or would like the chance to win a $50 Mountie Money door prize,  #ReThinkTheDrink is the event to attend.

Kathleen Morrison