The Wilberforce Society | Students and Alcohol
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Students and Alcohol

Written exclusively by students, this paper is uniquely placed to present a broad range of perspectives on issues surrounding young people and alcohol.

  • In the opening chapter, Claudia Leong argues that media presentation of a youth binge drinking culture is unfair and counterproductive: unfair in light of comparable levels of alcohol consumption among other generations and counterproductive in reinforcing negative stereotypes.
  • Debayan Dasgupta, the author of chapter two, targets his proposals for community level partnerships at the problems of underage drinking and cheap, superstrength alcohol, which are in his eyes the key factors in reducing antisocial behaviour surrounding alcohol misuse.
  • The provision of explicit, personalised information is the key proposal of the third chapter, by Gabriel Lambert. He sees potential in making the medical effects of alcohol consumption easier to conceptualise by linking alcohol intake directly to life expectancy. In addition, he makes a wider case for full disclosure of information by alcohol producers, which he hopes would lead people to reduce their consumption, obviating the need for punitive measures.
  • In chapter four, Helena Barman points to the success of graphic health warnings on cigarette packets in arguing for the adoption of a similar strategy for tackling alcohol misuse. Visually arresting images that target heavy drinkers would add shock value to a message, which could be communicated more effectively overall with the help of representative student bodies.
  • Ingrid Hesselbo adopts an anthropological perspective in chapter five. She emphasises the importance of separating the medical effects of alcohol from its cultural associations, and highlights the issue of personal responsibility for actions while intoxicated. She also advocates more liberal licensing laws in the long term, as part of normalising moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Finally, in chapter six Jonathon Hazell argues for further alcohol taxation over minimum pricing as a potentially more progressive system that would see the proceeds go to government rather than alcohol companies. In addition, he draws attention to the fact that, despite the government’s outward concern with phenomena such as preloading, young people are not disproportionately heavy drinkers compared with the general population.

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