Share & Connect
Modern day perspectives are changing, with recent years focusing on binge-drinking throwing up alarming statistics. Predominantly throughout Europe, the younger drinking age seems to go hand in hand with the excessive rise in alcohol related incidents.
The figures relating to the topic make interesting reading, with a 2006 report from the USA stating that almost 80,000 people a year throughout the nation die as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. This statistic has cost the United States a shocking $223.5 billion. Such appalling stats continue, with a more recent study, published in January 2012 reporting that 50.9% of people over the age of 18 admit to being regular drinkers, as opposed to just 13.6% of the same age denying it.
Further numbers highlight the global stigma of the problem, with both America and England falling victim to a mortality rate of thousands related to alcohol a year. Whether it be directly linked to excessive alcohol intake or even alcohol abuse, the facts are present and make unpleasant reading.
However, alcohol addiction and binge-drinking amongst younger adults is a recognized issue, while underlying matters exist and remain un-tackled. Drug abuse among the age 18-25 throughout both Europe and America is on the verge of becoming a bigger issue now than in recent years.
Many teenagers and young adults are turning towards drugs in the search for euphoria in the nightlife, with several different forms available, each slightly different if ultimately reaching the same goal.
Through my University, I was able to speak to a young gentleman who openly admits to both excessively drinking alcohol and abusing drugs when on nights out and social events.
The individual will be referred to as ‘John’ but his identity is known by Toonari Post. He spoke openly and honestly during the interview, confessing to his substance abuse.
Toonari Post (TP): When did you have your first alcoholic drink?
John: I would have said i was about 15, but i wouldnt say i started drinking heavily ’til i was around 16/17 and managed to get my brothers I.D.
TP: Did you find it easy to get alcohol?
John: With I.D saying i was 19, even though I was 16/17 it was easy, no-one ever questioned it, shop keepers were all more than willing to make the sale.
TP: When was it that you first took drugs?
John: The summer before my move to University was the first time i experiemented with drugs. Several of my friends often took MDMA, M-cat and pills and had no side effects. They used to go on about how ‘good’ it was and how i should experience it.
TP: How accessible are drugs?
John: Extremely easy to get hold of. We went away on a lads holiday and didnt even drink much whilst we were away because drugs were so easy get hold of and surprisingly cheap too.
TP: Why do you continue to take drugs as opposed to drink alcohol?
John: Drugs are cheaper, simple. The high you get from taking drugs/pills is totally different to drinking. Alcohol leaves you bloated, lethargic and feeling horrendous the next morning. Drugs have a different effect all together, much more enjoyable from personal experience.
TP: Are you not afraid of long term effects? Addiction for example?
John: As a university student, i have four years on my course, then i’ll head out in to the world of work and I presume I will have matured by then, but for now, I’m just living my life as it comes, and going out and having a good time is part of that.
TP: Do many of your friends take drugs? Is it a recreational habit for you all?
John: We all do it together yeah, but when i moved to university it was something i had in common with alot of people, and we just went from there.
TP: What about the risks of what you’re actually taking? How can you know for sure?
John: You can’t be 100% sure, but with alcohol becoming more expensive and drugs so easily accessible, making you feel better and becoming much cheaper, you can’t complain.
TP: How do you feel knowing that over 50 people this year alone have died from taking such substances as MDMA and M-Cat?
John: It does make you think twice, but aswell as thinking of the bad effects you think about how good it feels when you take them. You feel on top of the world. Yeah it does scare me everytime i take any kind of drug but then again once I do, it feels good, so it all balances out in my eyes.
TP: How much would you spend on a night out, if you were just taking drugs?
John: Depends what drugs you are buying. Class A’s such as cocaine cost around £40 a gram normally, but others such as m-cat are around £20 a gram. So if you work out how much you’d spend on alcohol rather than to drugs, drugs are the cheaper and in many peoples eyes, the better choice.
Recession to blame
The tough economic climate has hit hard in more ways than you can imagine. Increasing prices of alcohol, rather than deterring youngsters from excessively indulging in alcohol, is forcing their hand in other directions, encouraging drugs abuse.
The factors add up, and despite the last decade or so being dominated by a culture obsessed with binge-drinking, increasing levels of peer pressure, alongside falling economic stability, all seem to be lending themselves to the trend that sees more and more young adults turn to drugs as opposed to alcohol.
In order for these potential disasters to be averted, younger children must receive better education concerning substance abuse from an earlier age. The current generations, with its ‘party-university’ mentality that for the majority revolves around having a good time, are still able prevent further damage, to themselves and society.
If not, this culture has the unfortunate potential of influencing younger generations, which highlights the argument for more information to younger children, teenagers and even younger adults, the age range where these issues lie.