Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Binge drinking all in the mind…

The Campaign Company Blog take a look at what they think is going on in the way that government intentions and those of young drinkers are interacting:

If we take young people as an example, much of the current focus is on education and awareness. The idea might be that if someone were aware of the facts, they could make a rational and informed decision about whether or not they should binge drink. A full understanding may result in someone reducing their consumption to recommended levels. However, this assumes that a ‘binge drinker’ is a rational consumer. A rational person would look at the prospect of a night out and think, ‘I hope I have a good time tonight’. A ‘binge drinker’s outlook would be, ‘I want to get completely smashed tonight’. It is this mind set that lies at the heart of binge drinking amongst young people.

Leaving aside the question of whether education and awareness are really in the driving seat when it comes to the government’s strategy, I’m guessing Matthew (who’s the author of the post) is referring to the Know Your Limits campaign, rather than drug education in schools or elsewhere, but I may be wrong.

Matthew goes on to use his own experience to argue that it’s intention rather than inputs like drug education that are the critical factor when it comes to behaviour:

Even then, I knew the trade-off (good night blurred with memory loss
versus hangover, hole in wallet, frequent regret) was not worth it.
All the education and awareness in the world would not have made a
blind bit of difference though. It was of no consequence whether I
drank 15 units or 30 units; the important issue was my intention.

I’m not sure that many of us would disagree with the thought that knowledge on its own is enough to change behaviour, particularly in a society which is struggling with its attitudes towards alcohol. What we’d want though is to point out that some programmes – SHARHP for example – can change some young people’s behaviour at least while it’s being delivered and for a period afterwards.

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Filed under: alcohol, drug education

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