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Students suffer from other students drinking habit

Students suffer from other students drinking habits

A study of Otago University students has shown that some 84 percent of those surveyed had experienced a negative effect from other students’ drinking.

A tenth of the women surveyed and a fifth of the men were assaulted at least once in the four weeks preceding the survey, and one fifth of the students had their property damaged.

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) was commenting on recently released research on second hand effects of alcohol consumption among tertiary students. ALAC’s comment comes as many university students get set to party during orientation weeks on campuses throughout the country,

As part of the ongoing study into hazardous drinking by the Injury Prevention Research Unit (IPRU) of Otago University researchers John Langley, Kyp Kypri and Shaun Stephenson estimated the incidence of second hand effects of alcohol consumption among tertiary students. The research was partially funded by ALAC.

Second hand effects are the negative experiences that result from someone else’s drinking.

The survey found that second hand effects due to alcohol were more common than had been expected, with 84% of the survey respondents reporting one or more of the effects. Women were slightly more likely to report an effect (85%) than were men (81%).

The most commonly reported effects were disrupted sleep or study; having to take care of a drunken person; being insulted or humiliated; or unwanted sexual advances.

Others reported finding vomit in the halls or bathroom; serious argument or quarrel; sexual assault or date rape.

The survey invited 1910 students aged 16 to 24 to complete an Internet based questionnaire. Eighty two percent responded.

ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr mike MacAvoy says the survey was conducted at Otago University but there is no reason to think the results would be different at any other campus throughout the country.

“Universities often have a drinking culture of excessive consumption,” he says.

“Throughout the academic year there are a variety of student social events in which drinking is the central activity e.g. balls, keg parties, court sessions, Orientation week.

“It seems to be accepted that it's just what you do when you are a student. This combined with peer pressure and academic stress contributes to an unhealthy drinking culture.

“However, risks to health and well-being from binge drinking are enormous - drink driving, unprotected sex, loss of money, family problems, physical injury, violence, and academic difficulties.”

Dr MacAvoy says a national taskforce is meeting in Dunedin today (Monday February 23) to look at ways to reduce alcohol-related harm amongst students. The taskforce was set up by the ALAC and has representation from New Zealand University Students Association, universities, halls of residences, student health centres, health groups and researchers.

“What we are aiming for is to work with universities, student organisations and local government to develop university alcohol policies and intervention approaches among New Zealand tertiary students.

“We want to get the get the whole university on board, ensure campus alcohol policies are supported, up-to-date, and monitored.

“The group is bringing together expertise on what we already know about tertiary student drinking and some of the programmes/interventions that have been successful in reducing alcohol-related harm.

“The focus of the group is on developing guidelines and the initial task which is already underway is to provide a review of the information available on student drinking.

“The intention of the guidelines is to provide a resource to all tertiary institutes on the extent of the problem and the likely approaches a variety of agencies can take to reduce alcohol-related harm among tertiary student, “ he says.

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