Social media use may help identify students at risk of alcohol problems

Having an ‘alcohol identity’ puts college students at greater risk of having drinking problems, say researchers, adding that posting about alcohol use on social media sites is actually a stronger predictor of alcohol problems than having a drink.

North Carolina State University

May 27, 2016

click here to read the article

This article is all about drinking identity at college, and the correlation between having a drink problem and having a drinking identity on social media. The claim is that a drinking identity is a better indicator of a problem than the consumption of alcohol itself.

Back in the early 1980s when I was at University, and long before social media existed, my drinking identity got me through the early days and weeks on an all-male corridor at a North England University. I was an experienced alcohol consumer when I arrived at University and my ability to sink pints and generally hold my liquor made up for what I felt an otherwise weak personal identity.

I would have found social media a useful tool for this purpose, much as the article outlines.


Scotland now a ‘nation of home drinkers’

Adults in Scotland have increased their consumption of alcohol for the second year in a row, according to a report.

Wednesday 25 May, 2016 BBC

Click here for BBC online article

In my drinking days, articles like the one above, all about the increase in home-drinking (in Scotland as it happens, but it could have been anywhere, as far as I was concerned) would give me a warm glowing comforting sensation, based around the idea that I was by no means the only one to be drinking at home, or to be increasing the amount I was drinking generally. I could even console myself with the idea that my increased consumption on my part was someone else’s fault, as the article seemed to suggest, maybe the Government, or was it the supermarkets to blame?

Only at the mention of death might I feel a spasm of angst, but the numbers of deaths were always so low as a percentage of the overall numbers of drinkers, I hardly needed to worry, and any anxiety quickly evaporated.

I am inclined to think that these kinds of articles are counter-productive in the battle to reduce excessive drinking – not that this is the purpose of them, necessarily, on the part of the press.

But they contribute to a mass of reporting about alcohol which concentrates on the levels of consumption and little else.

It would be useful, I believe, if the press were to carry more stories that challenge the assumptions that alcohol is necessarily desirable, even at low levels of consumption.

Will Piper



Sydney lockout laws

“What do you mean, it’s slightly harder for me to get a Jägerbomb at 1.30am? Damn you, Mike Baird!”

That’s how comedian Jordan Shanks, 26, characterises the resistance to the Sydney lockout laws in his eight-minute diatribe on YouTube. Though he’s against the controversial measures introduced in 2014 to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence in the city’s late-night hotspots, he comes across a bit bitter that this, of all issues, seems to be the one that’s galvanising his generation.

Saturday 27 February, The Guardian

Click here for Guardian article