I despair of modern society. I confess I don’t really drink; to me it seems totally unnecessary. That’s not to say I’ve never got absolutely legless, I had my fair share of nights at university where I didn’t so much walk home as stagger. But I’ve never had so much to drink that I’ve not been able to remember the night before or that I’ve been sick. I know that in current times this makes me a bit of a novelty as going out and getting completely wasted seems to be a bit of a badge of honour these days.
But I was driving home the other night from a friend’s leaving party and got held up behind a taxi. The taxi put its hazard lights on and I couldn’t work out what was going on until a girl stuck her head out and started throwing up. Unfortunately I am deadly serious about this, I mean, come on woman, have some self-respect!!
But the culture of binge-drinking is now so entrenched into society that this doesn’t seem to be that shocking. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people at work saying that they went out and got pissed, that they can’t remember the night before and to be blunt I find it depressing that so many young people seem to be intent on killing their brain cells and their livers with so little care.
The issue has been well documented in the media with an episode of 24 hours in A&E which covered the alcohol related injuries brought to the accident and emergency department of King’s Hospital in London. The scariest statistic that is mentioned in this programme is that out of all the injuries this department will see in a weekend, half of these will be alcohol related. When you know how busy an A&E department can be you will understand what an enormous waste of resources this is, especially in a time when the NHS has so little spare budget.
Similarly when channel 4 (who also produced 24 hours in A&E) developed their programme, The Hospital, one of the episodes focussed on lifestyle relates liver disease, in other words liver disease which is largely caused by alcohol consumption and obesity. Again the statistics uttered in this programme were incredibly depressing. The incidence of lifestyle related liver disease has doubled in the past 5 years with patients being seen increasingly in their twenties. This programme was shown in August last year, a full year ago, and one bit has stuck with me. When asked how much he drank, a young man in his twenties was asked how much he drank a day and when he responded a pint, the consultant looked slightly confused. It was however clarified that this was a pint of vodka. A pint of vodka a day.
As I say, I’ve been there and done that. I appreciate a gin and tonic on occasion but the difference is I really do mean on occasion. I drink maybe once a month and even then it tends to be one drink. I would much rather have a cup of tea. This does mean that people don’t invite me to the pub, after all how can I possibly enjoy myself without alcohol, and whilst that used to bother me, I have given up being annoyed by such pettiness. And I’m not going to drink more regularly to keep other people comfortable.
So do you agree that binge drinking is out of hand? Or does the allure of a good night out outweigh the potential consequences?
Average Josephine x