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Binge Drinking In Teenagers Health And Social Care Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Health And Social Care
Wordcount: 1815 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Anti social behaviours such as binge drinking in teenagers and young adults have been a serious issue and also contributed significantly to the mortality rates in United Kingdom.

Binge drinking is associated with non modifiable risk factors such as age, sex and modifiable genetic predisposition as well as modifiable risk factors such as smoking, violence, rape and drug abuse.

The control of binge drinking among these young adults is very important in preventing any form of risk factors that could damage their lifestyle or become a threat to the environment and family.

Proposals have been made by the UK Department of Health (DoH) regarding the current concerns of risk and increasing prevalence of binge drinking among teenagers and young adults.

Possible options for action have been proposed and available pieces of evidence are used to discuss issues such as education, communication, working with the Government and also working with the local industry.

It is recommended that there should be an electronic assessment application that will help to generate electronic feedback similar to that of the e-Nudge trial is been developed and adopted.

It is also proposed that if the Government could work with the law abiding forces in UK to reduce binge drinking among these subgroups

It is proposed that further research should be carried out to investigate the cost effectiveness of these recommendations and the feasibility.


Surveys with teenagers in the United States, United Kingdom and other European countries have documented that young and adolescent is prevalent in binge drinking. Cahalan and Crossley (1969) defined “binge drinking” as taking at least five alcoholic drinks consumed during a session. Comprehensive College Alcohol Study (CAS) in Harvard School of Public Health conducted a research and also re-defined binge drinking as five drinks for men and four drinks for women on a single occasion within the past two weeks (Davenport, Wechsler, Dowdall, Castillo and Moeykens, 2004). Binge drinking is a major public health and safety problem and its associated with health risks such as coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular heart disease (CVD), and the short term effects includes violence, accidents, rape cases and anti-social behaviours (ASB).

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Anti-social behaviours (ASB) have significantly contributed to global mortality and have been projected to cause more damage if not controlled. For so many youths and teenagers in UK and which are also influenced by peer pressure, they have chosen binge drinking as part of their lifestyle and these lifestyle could be relaxing with friends in an open environment, pub, party or at home. Home office has done two studies which was the relationship between binge drinking and the risk factors among 18-25 years. The first study (Richardson and Budd, 2003) examined the relationship between an offensive behaviour and binge drinking while the second study (Engineer et al., 2003) was to quantify between the social context of binge drinking and the key findings were:

Most of the binge drinkers were men (48%) than women (31%);

There was a strong relationship between been offensive and drinking, and also causing strong violent crimes after been drunk;

Most of the binge drinkers (60%) admitted been involved in a bad behaviour after or during drinking which was compared to the 25% of regular drinkers.

The present large, population based study attempts to address the issues on the strong relationship between subjective health and binge drinkers.

Options for action

There are a number of approaches that could be adopted in implementing the new programme. These options can only be effective and also reduce the current concern in binge drinking. It is also set out that these options will have to work with the industry, law enforcement agencies, communities, and the Government. They are:

An improvement on the enforcement on young people drinking in public places and environments;

Working with the industries

To support the teenagers in making a wise decision on alcohol

These options will need the Government to seriously intervene only if the Government’s intervention is coherent, strategic, sustained and measured.

Review of Evidence

It is an illegal act in UK when an underage (under 18) buys or goes to the pub to have alcohol either if the alcohol is bought by them or somebody else that is older than 18 years old. The current Government guidelines by National Health Service (NHS) states that the normal intake of alcohol for that of men is 3-4 units in a day while that of women is 2-3 units in a day. College of physicians (2002) had a report on binge drinking and defined binge drinking as the intake of alcohol either a man or a woman of 10 or more than 10 units in a single session. The new national alcohol harm-reduction strategy defined binge drinking as having alcohol of 6 units or more for women and 8 or more units for men.

More than half according to Strategy Unit (2003) of the young adults take alcohol below 14/21 units per week, 6.4 million people binge drink up to 35/50 units per week, 1.8 million people binge drink more than 35/50 units per week. It was also recorded that the young adults within the age of 16-24 are classified as binge drinkers having the percentage of men (50%) and women (42%). The public is concerned about this shameful act and the Government has to do something about it because this kind of drinking put young and teenagers at risk as well as creating problems for others which could possibly lead to crime. Fuller E (2006) had a proportion where the age range of 11-15 years old that drink on the street and in public places has increased from 21% to 31% in the year 1999 to 2006. In addition for the Government to intervene to take responsibility of young people drinking in public, the Home office will have to issue an immediate order to the police and the parents whose children that constantly drink in public will also have to be questioned so that conditions like strict monitoring of the child’s behaviour will need to be met.

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The central role of the alcohol industry is very substantial and variable identity in the UK society and economy. Binge drinking does not only make an individual vulnerable to danger and harm but also damage the health of the person which could lead to both short and long term illness. For over the last century record, the alcohol consumption in UK has raised which makes UK to fall in the middle compared to other European countries. The approach of working with the breweries or industries requires a strong relationship between families, communities, the public services such as the National Health Service (NHS) and the police, the individuals and the Government. There is also a clear view when Government gets to work with the industry at a national level to introduce a scheme or a law that would operate to a set of standards that will help to promote best practice in England. This plan can only be put up as a law in different ways and also implemented. They are;

To make sure that the retailers do not sell to an underage and anybody found or caught doing such will have to face an immediate prosecution.

Implement the use of Proof of Age Standard Scheme (PASS) amongst the young adults, retailers and the parents.

To support the police to close down any pub/shop when it has been identified for creating problems in the public.

Young people are also highly influenced by alcohol adverts either on TV or in the radio which is also the key points to address binge drinking amongst teenagers and young adults. The work of Drink aware Trust in an example that has been done in the UK to help fight binge drinking. The young teenagers themselves needs to be encouraged, advised and supported when making a decision on taking alcohol. They need to be told on the effect, harm, the potential risk and also receive all the appropriate information about binge drinking.

The need for a campaign or a seminar on moderate drinking and not ‘drink to get drunk’. The aim should be about bringing change in culture, a delay in age when young people should start drinking and to those who has chosen to engage in drinking, to be advised on the lower risk way which should be the target. The Government should also reach out to children and young people in schools about alcohol education and also drugs.


Based on all that has been discussed, the following recommendations should be considered:

Improving the identification process in the health system because it presents variety of access points for those with binge drinking;

The use of screening and brief intervention for identifying the level of alcohol consumption using a questionnaire as a tool for the survey; and

The approach of enforcement which will be a clear legal framework preventing the sale of alcohol to under 21s. The Government can introduce a national identity cards scheme, useful and secure way of providing and determining age when young adults or teenagers wish to purchase age restricted products such as alcohol.

The increase in awareness regarding the importance of age, environment, and gender should also be promoted especially amongst ethnic minority groups and the socially deprived through culture and language sensitive health education programs and adverts. Implementation of policy to encourage the risk behind binge drinking for all young adults in the UK should also be considered. These would ultimately assist the Minister of State for Public health and Department of Health to reduce binge drinking.


Based on all that has been discussed, the following recommendations should be considered;

Stopping young and teenagers in drinking anywhere that is public by giving the police to arrest under 18s who drink and act anti-socially, issue guidance to the health and young adult’s services, the police to also fasten their approach in dealing with public drinking by the underage’s in UK;

Teaming with the industry to encourage a tough prosecution on those caught breaking the licensing conditions, the Government also should support the local authorities, police and communities to spot hotspots that create problems;

Establish a guideline on alcohol and teenagers;

Support and establish a strong relationship with parents;

The Government should also have an alcohol and drug education in schools and also encourage those that have already started drinking the harm, potential long and short term risk involved in drinking.


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