Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Drunk Again? It's Not Your Fault

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Drunk Again? It's Not Your Fault

Article excerpt

Media maladies

According to a recent report, a leading hepatologist has made an alarming discovery in the course of discussions with medical students. It seems that the prevailing view among students is that, 'if you are drinking to much', then 'it is your own fault'. He regards this attitude, which he clearly believes to be widespread among young people, as 'a real stumbling block' in the way of the campaign to curtail the adverse health effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

So whose fault is it if even medical students, long distinguished by their sobriety, are now becoming unwitting victims of the demon drink? A cursory survey of the recent discussion reveals a number of guilty parties.

The drink industry is the first in line for blame. It has cynically duped people into buying its products by seductive advertising and by promotional stunts (such as 'happy hours'). It has also resisted measures to clarify the alcohol content of drinks and has particularly targeted young people with alcopops (alcohol disguised as soft drinks). The government too is at fault for refusing to deter consumption by raising taxes (and hence prices), for extending licensing hours and for allowing the proliferation of clusters of city centre pubs and clubs encouraging binge drinking. It is also blamed for putting a greater emphasis on dealing with drink-related crime and disorder rather than its public health consequences. Teachers fail to educate students in the dangers of alcohol and doctors avoid telling patients that excessive drinking is bad for their health. …

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