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Amazingly, boozy students don't really care about their health

Only 9% of students asked said they would reduce their alcohol consumption due to an awareness of medical consequences.

Image: drunk student via shutterstock

NEW RESEARCH HAS shown that the majority of students surveyed had little regard for their health when it came to binge drinking.

The new study, conducted by the Irish Society of Gastroenterology (ISG), found that only 9% of students asked would reduce consumption due to an awareness of medical consequences.

A far stronger motivator for abstinence was price – with 21% saying an increase in the cost of alcohol would make them reduce their intake.

Surprisingly, this was more than the 19% of students who said that exam preparation would put them off. Participation in sport was given as the predominant reason for cutting back, with 29% saying it would make them think twice before drinking too much.

Heavy drinking

On average, it was found that students spend €20 a week on alcohol – although this figure could go up as high as €190.

Of Irish drinkers, those aged 18 to 29 years were found to be the heaviest drinkers, with two-fifths saying they binge drink on a weekly basis.

Part of the report, which looked at overall consumption, found that 96% of students asked consumed alcohol.

Big increases

The study found that there has been big increases in alcohol consumption over the past 20 years. Between 1994 and 2010 there the number of patients admitted to hospital with liver disease increased by 335%.

This came from admissions data taken from St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin.

In 2011, 14,000 people were admitted to hospital for alcohol dependence, while deaths relating to cirrhosis of the liver had doubled between 1994 and 2008.

Legislation 

Speaking about the results, one of its authors, Dr Orla Crosbie, a consultant hepatologist with Cork University Hospital, said:

While we can increase education about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption – when it comes to the crunch people do respond to cost, as the study shows.

As part of the report, the introduction of legislation to curb student drinks promotions is recommended.

Dr Crosbie said that such action could result in a reduction of alcohol related deaths. In Canada, a 32% reduction in such incidents was noted one year after the legislation was introduced.

The data for the report was collected from first year students in the University College Cork.

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