Student Binge Drinking

12 March 2012, 06:43

Capital's been told Universities aren't doing enough to promote sensible drinking to students.

Nick Teggerdine, the director of Alcohol Advisory Service APAS which covers the East Midlands with bases in Derby and Nottingham, says he's seen students drop out of uni because their drinking's got out of control:

'Every univesrsity that I have spoken to points to the fact that they have a liason officer whose task it is to make sure that people know about the drinking and services available, credit to that.

'They've also got literally dozens of people whose job it is to sell alcohol and to make money out of it.

'I remember one father just sitting in this room with me saying 'I can't understand why my son has dropped into this heavy pattern, but having seen where he's living and seeing what goes on around the university, I can now understand. How can you help him resist?' '

'Archaic and Damaging' Statement

Capital has asked every student union in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby for their response and not all of them got back to us. Leicester and Derby did; Leicester say they price their drinks responsibly and encourage a healthy approach to drinking; Derby told us the statement is damaging and they run awareness days and are doingeverything they can to get students to understand drinking too much is dangerous, read the full statements below.

Statement from the University of Leicester Students' Union:

'At the University of Leicester Students' Union, we are advocates of anti-binge drinking policies.   We are members of City Watch Leicester and we participate in the Best Bar None scheme which promotes best practice in the sector.  

'We always have licensed door staff and first aiders on hand who provide the best service possible to our students.  We price our drinks responsibly and do not price drinks at cost price or lower.  Our bar staff are trained to recognise and refuse service to those who appear to be intoxicated; but our venue is only one of many venues and retail outlets where alcohol may be purchased. 

'We recognise that encouraging a healthy approach to the consumption of alcohol can affect students behaviour in the wider community, and this is something we try to do in the day to day running of the Students' Union.'

Statement from Derby University:

'In response to the statement made regarding whether Universities and SU's take binge drinking seriously, I would start by saying that yes, we do understand the fact that some young people, not just students, do drink to excess maybe once or twice a week.  However, I would counter this by throwing into the mix that many adult professionals, who work full-timedrink more alcohol on a weekly basis than your typical student, when taking into account that glass of wine (or two) that is consumed whilst cooking.  

'Within our bars and venues we ensure that students receive appropriate advice regarding he number of units they are consuming by putting this information at points where they can easily access it, we ensure that students are educated on the effects of binge drinking by delivering sessions on the topic to our 16-19  year old learners whilst they are at college, we run awareness day giving out literature and information relating to binge drinking and its effects.  Also, the NUS has dedicated staff member, Madeline Harris, who works very closely with drinkaware on this very topic and we are doing everything in our power and within our resource limitations to get the message across to our members that drinking in excess is damaging.

'So, does our message work? That we do not know.  We know that our members enjoy socialising with friends still in the pubs and clubs in their locality; we know that some of them will get the message and choose the swap their alcoholic drink for a soft drink; we know for certain that any bar we have contracted partnerships with operates a minimum price policy for alcohol and we know that we have fantastic links with the NHS, form close links with our local policing teams and other agencies to ensure that the messages we deliver and current, factual and relevant.  So I would say yes, Students' Unions take it very seriously, but it is a culture which we have inherited and we are dealing with now and is not just the responsibility of Universities and Students' Unions as we are the innovative partners in this and statements such as those which suggest we don't take the matter seriously are archaic and damaging.  At Derby we have seen a dramatic change in the way our members spend their money in the bar now, opting for food and a coffee rather than a pint oflager or a vodka and coke.  I would suggest that whoever stated this needs to go back and do a little more research into the topic as it certainly isn¹t the case within the student movement.'
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