According to a recent Guardian article, the high level of drinking is the greatest concern facing students at the moment.

The blogger, Simon Murphy, asserted his belief that alcohol is a bigger problem than student debt.

A report on binge drinking amongst UK undergraduates over the past 25 years has concluded that: “significant numbers of both male and female students are reported to exceed sensible weekly consumption guidelines.”

The article suggests that cheap drinks and stress are incentives to binge drink whilst at university, but fails to identify the social acceptance of alcoholism in the student community.

Special drink deals in clubs attract student customers and the affordability of the alcohol also creates an incentive for students to binge drink.

A first year student remarked: “Societies, house parties and gatherings, have evolved around drinking.”

She stressed her view that Freshers’ week emphasises the need to drink in order to socialise, and re-affirms the positive correlation between being social and intoxicating substances.

“Drinking is so embedded into student life that for me it was one of the main reasons for applying to university.”
Amanda Griffiths, the Health and Wellbeing co-ordinator at the University, stated: “We have not seen evidence of any recent increase in alcohol consumption by students at Sussex, nor of illegal drug use.”

Many students have expressed the view that drink is an aid to combat anxiety when they first move away from home.
One student said: “You believe the only way to have a good time is to drink, however it is quite the opposite when you actually do.”

Another remarked: “There’s always that association between not remembering a night out and it being a good night out, which thinking about it is absurd.”

There is often regret and disappointment after heavy alcohol consumption, and the standard, “I’m never drinking again” conversation to follow.

Some students don’t comprehend the danger of over-consumption of alcohol compared to other recreational substances, more than likely because it is legal and easily available.

Griffiths said that: “The University and the Students’ Union take a very active approach to promoting and supporting healthy lifestyles for students.”

There is an alcohol/drugs drop-in at the Student Life Centre every Monday at 12 noon-1pm with Annie Berry from the Counselling Service – students can just turn up at reception.

For comprehensive information on all “intoxicants” including alcohol and drugs and related harm, students should visit the Brighton and Hove NHS website “Think Drink Drugs” for up-to-the-minute advice and alcohol recommended allowances.

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