Health in the Media

This blog looks at health issues in the news

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

Merrick Brown via Flickr

A new campaign was launched yesterday by drinkaware.ie to encourage people in Ireland to drink at their own pace. The campaign is the second leg  of Drinkaware.ie’s “Rethinking Our Drinking” initiative was launched on March 11th, 2010. The campaign tries to encourage people who drink to be responsible and to avoid abusing alcohol with impactful TV advertisement. It looks specifically at how people drink in Ireland- young people often drink more on a night out to keep up with their friends who may have a higher alcohol tolerance or to not appear like a “lightweight”. The ad shows a number of young people drinking socially while a second pair of hands forces them to drink more alcohol than they really want to. The ad is very accessible to younger people in that it promotes going out with friends and drinking while encouraging the viewer not to follow someone else when it comes to how much they drink. The ads attempt to make people re-think their drinking behaviour. Drinkaware.ie’s also ran a  Rag Week ‘Rethinking our Drinking’  which cleverly incorporates the student’s night out with image of the effects of alcohol. For this campaign, images of passed out people were shown in cubicles which is where most people start to become aware that they are starting to get inebriated- away from the loud music and laughter.

Another advert (above) plays canned laughter and shows a variety of people falling over or intimidating other people while heavily intoxicated. This ad aims to reflect that while  drunken antics can seem funny at the time, other people can be afraid or hurt by your behaviour. And also that you can cause damage to yourself. Professor Tim Stockwell, who is considered to be the world expert on the relationship between the price of alcohol and alcohol abuse, last month adviced the British and Scottish Government to fix a minimum price for alcohol to reduce problem drinking. David Cameron has since promised to introduce legislation that will make cheap booze dearer — fixing a minimum price of 48c pence sterling per unit.The low cost of alcohol in Britain and Ireland has always been a concern. In discount supermarkets like Lidl you can buy a cheap can of lager for 24c at and you a two-litre plastic bottle of cider for around €2.4o. Wine can be bought for  €4.70  while a standard bottle of Polish vodka can be bought for about  €9.50. A recent report from the British Department of Health revealed that over the last ten years there has been an increase of 25%  in deaths from liver disease. While liver disease typically affects older people, younger people can also be susceptible to the effects of alcohol. Young people can be less well equipped  to cope with the effects of alcohol physically because their bodies are still growing and developing. Emotionally speaking, a young person can find it harder to deal with the effects of alcohol on their judgement and perception and act in ways they deeply regret later. Drinking can also negatively effect a young person’s school work, social life and friendships.

Health in the Media went to Quinn’s bar and nightclub in Drumcondra to talk to the students there about their attitudes to alcohol.

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