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Alcohol difficulties - Are students on the brink of a drug and alcohol epidemic?

Published 29/06/2009

With increasingly large disposable incomes, the powerful youth and teenage market is one of the largest in the UK.  However, monetary freedom seems to be a double edged sword.  With increased peer group and academic pressure, we are now seeing that British teenagers, together with those in Ireland and Denmark, are among the heaviest teenage drinkers in Europe.  Among UK teenagers aged 15-16, 56% reported drinking more than five drinks on a single occasion in the last 30 days and 30% reported doing this on more than three times in the last month.

This pattern of difficulty controlling drinking continues unabated when teenagers fly the nest.  In a survey of second year students in 10 UK universities, 11% were 'non-drinkers', 89% 'drinkers'.  Looking at the drinkers group: 61% of men and 48% of women regularly exceeded the recommended limit of 14 units a week for women and 21 units for men; 15% reported hazardous drinking (more than 51 units a week for men and 36 units for women) and 28% reported' binge' drinking.  An additional study of the 1995-98 cohort of Cambridge undergraduates revealed that 10% answered a set of standard questions about their drinking habits in a way that suggested 'problematic drinking'.

Sue Allchurch, director of Linwood Group, explains why this pattern of alcohol usage is of serious concern: "We are seeing more and more drug and alcohol difficulties beginning in childhood, where once they were triggered in the late teens and early twenties.  This use of drink and drugs from a young age is worrying on more than one level.  Apart from the physical damage done from drink or drug use at such a formative age, people who regularly drink alcohol or take drugs in order to cope with difficult situations or emotions find that this form of ‘self medication' eventually leads to even more extreme situations and emotions." 

"Young people traditionally think of rehabilitation centres as the places where celebrities go to recover, not for people like them to go to seek help with drug or alcohol difficulties.  However, it is vital that if you begin to suspect that you or a loved one is showing the beginnings of a drink or drug problem, that professional help is sought as soon as possible.  Early intervention can save years of struggle and heartache."

So, how can you tell if you or a loved one actually has the beginnings of a drink or drug problem?  The Linwood Group has developed the traffic light system, which helps people to quickly understand what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to alcohol intake.  Why not click on the link above to see if your drinking is safe, unsafe or dangerous?

For the next step on the road to recovery, whatever your age, why not contact the Linwood Group for help with an alcohol difficulty problem or call on Freephone 0800 066 4173 or if you are calling from a mobile phone or from overseas, call 01226 698 054?



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