a group of friends outdoors, clinking bottles of beer together.

Alcohol consumption among students

Ending the day with a drink on the terrace, having a drink to unwind, getting a little tipsy at parties... Alcohol consumption among students is a real institution. However, it is essential not to forget that excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous for health.

Between occasional drinkers and more regular partygoers, over 80% of students consume alcohol. According to the USEM 2021 survey (National Union of Regional Student Mutuals), 20% of students are excessive drinkers, and 39% of them are already aware of having drunk too much, among which 11% state that they drink with the intention of getting drunk. This practice often occurs after a specific initiation, during an integration party or binge drinking. How can effective prevention be carried out for this young audience?

Binge Drinking: A Social Bonding Agent?

"Express binging" in French, binge drinking can be a ritual of integration at the beginning of an academic year or during student parties where alcohol is present. In these types of events, alcohol consumption aims to be a social bonding agent by facilitating encounters through disinhibition. Among students, alcohol is generally viewed positively because it is associated with notions of festive pleasure. Some say that one is happier when drinking... that alcohol helps forget shyness a bit; that it's easier to let go, talk to others, and do things one wouldn't dare to do without alcohol. Thus, it is challenging for some students to conceive of a party without alcohol...

Why is alcohol at the center of integration weekends?

Alcohol is often seen as a facilitator of social relationships. In some selective programs (business or engineering schools, health studies, etc.), these integration weekends come after one or more years of intensive work to prepare for the entrance exam. A form of decompression is created, breaking the limits that were imposed until now. Those who are not used to consuming alcohol are put in a vulnerable position and may end up drinking excessively, encouraged by other classmates they do not know.

Some students drink to forget their problems

Other, rarer but unfortunately present realities: for some students, consuming alcohol allows them to combat a negative situation, such as stress, loneliness, or fear of the future. While some doctors claim that drinking a glass a day is beneficial for health, abusive consumption can have serious repercussions on the entire body.

Whether for fun or to forget one's troubles, it is essential not to forget that alcohol is dangerous for health.


How to carry out effective prevention for this young audience?

Prevention actions should help reduce risk-taking. For example, it is known that peer-to-peer prevention, by other students who are already sensitized and trained, works well.

Similarly, it is useful for teams responsible for securing student events to be at the heart of these devices. In direct contact with young people, they must be in a risk reduction strategy. For example, by being present at parties to give basic advice to limit damage: "don't drink too fast," "drink some water," etc. It is also necessary to find resource people to propose avoidance strategies for those who are not used to drinking or do not want to: how to find one's place at a party without drinking; keep one's glass in hand without necessarily having alcohol in it, etc. Prevention must be effective in the long term to break the positive image that alcohol has among students.

In this regard, the young startup Hedonist Labs is committed to supporting young alcohol consumers as best as possible by providing prevention at the pharmacist's counter and offering them natural ways to limit risks to their health. HANG-OVER dietary supplements are among the good alternatives to self-medication to alleviate hangover symptoms. To avoid these effects, the best solution is to favor moderate and occasional consumption.

As a reminder, consumption guidelines (according to WHO) are 2 glasses per day and not every day!


Sources:

  • Chung, T. (2018). Adolescent binge drinking. Alcohol Research. Published.
  • Com-Ruelle, L. (2013). Les jeunes et l’alcool : évolution des comportements, facteurs de risque et éléments protecteurs. Question d’économie de la santé. Published.
  • Dequiré, A. F. (2013). L’alcool et les jeunes : état des lieux. Journal du droit des jeunes. Published.
  • Hwang, C. L.,et al. (2020). The effects of repeated binge drinking on arterial stiffness and urinary norepinephrine levels in young adults. Journal of Hypertension, 38, 111‑117.
  • Morrison, C. N., et al. (2019). Exposure to alcohol outlets, alcohol access, and alcohol consumption among adolescents. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 205, 107622.

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