Wednesday 22 April 2015

The Youth Non-Drinking Epidemic

More news today on this 'binge-drinking epidemic' amongst young people that we keep hearing about.
The study says the proportion of teenagers and young adults drinking on five or more days a week has more than halved since 2005. Binge drinking – which is defined as more than eight units for men and six units for women - has gone down by nearly a third to 18% among this age group over the same period.
Perhaps this might, erm, educate the drones at the National Union of Students into not unfairly painting their peers as a collection of violent, shit-faced, destructive savages by calling for urgent measures to whack up the price of drinks and even ban alcohol in student bars.

Nah, probably not. Because the 'binge-drinking epidemic' is just one of those moral panics that refuses to go away despite a decade of facts showing that it's bunkum. It's interesting too, that this dramatic decline is continuing at the same time as alcohol duty is being cut, booze is still advertised at sports events, in cinemas, at concerts and on the TV, and minimum alcohol pricing is still considered an entirely unwarranted proposal.

In fact, the only factor that this institutional decline can be attributed to is education, seeing as kids are harangued - on the national curriculum - from kindergarten to university about the evils of alcohol these days. Yet 'public health' still routinely insists that education is a poor driver of change and that we need armies of their kind to lobby for legislation with our taxes as well, or else we'll all soon be heading to Armageddon in a drug-infused tumbril.

But then, I suppose if teachers are doing all the work, there's not much scope for lobbyists, anti-business proselytisers, junk science researchers, global summits and the huge salaries and expense accounts that come with them, eh?


Edward Spalton said...

Take a stroll in the evening through most/many town centres and you will see differently. A Greek friend started a very nice restaurant in our town - but getting to and from it it was like walking through a Hogarth print and spoiled an otherwise pleasant evening. He has moved out of the "vibrant" centre of what was once a pleasantly ordinary market town.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I have strolled through Puddlecoteville on weekends recently and have to say experience here is the complete opposite, massively less intimidating (more boring) than in the past.

The data are consistent over a long period of time from all sources, but I expect anecdotal anomalies will always turn up.

Curmudgeon said...

I would say this "alcohol-fuelled disorder" is extremely localised both in time and place. Far more common is town centres being largely dead in the evenings - Stockport certainly is.

truckerlyn said...

There will always be those that buck the system and regardless of education or any kind of 'intimidation' by the joyless, will continue to drink themselves stupid, at least at weekends, if not during the week too. However, the probability is that this lifestyle will, with most, wane and they mostly become 'normal' drinkers.

RichardMitton said...

When I was in the army we used to call binge drinking as "going on the piss".

Flaxen Saxon said...

I am saddened. When I was a lad we drank to excess at weekends. Often I would end up in the gutter or wake up with a strange female. Once I awoke at 4am, bollock naked on a park bench with a Chinaman sucking my toes. I have memories, well at least the ones I can remember, which will last me until dementia kicks in. These poor kids are losing out on a great wealth of anecdotes. I pity them.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Couldn't agree more.