Pre-drinking culture an issue in DCU

73% of DCU students have forgotten events from a night out because of the amount of alcohol they consumed, a survey for The College View has revealed.

The survey, which asked students about their alcohol consumption habits, found 86% of students drink before they go out (pre-drink).

Addressing the issue of predrinking, DCU Students’ Union President, Paul Doherty, told The College View: “It is a dangerous culture because people drink naggins and shoulders and all sorts. It can be very dangerous to drink a huge amount of spirits at 9 or 10 in the evening and go out.”

He put the culture of predrinking down to students having less money. “People don’t have the money so they go to the off-license to buy cheap drink.”

Doherty said that the dangers of pre-drinking are something the SU want to make students aware of this year. “We’re trying to get students to look after themselves and try to move away from that [pre-drinking] a little bit because you can be in for a bad night if it’s [alcohol] abused too much so we’re trying to push that message.”

The College View asked 571 students if they think alcohol is too cheap. Only 8% said yes.

According to a survey by the Health Research Board in July, most Irish adults (58%) support setting a minimum unit price for alcohol. The report showed young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have a different opinion with only 40% surveyed in support of minimum pricing.

Doherty said the price of alcohol is a difficult subject because “students say, ‘oh we have no money, we need stuff cheap’ but then alcohol is such a big factor and it affects so many students. Should it be that little bit more expensive? I really don’t know, it’s a difficult one”.

Former Junior Minister for Primary Care and Substance Abuse, Róisín Shortall had planned to tackle the issue of cheap alcohol when in office. She was preparing a public health bill that would have set minimum prices on certain alcoholic products effectively banning the sale of cheap alcohol.

The average amount spent by DCU students on alcohol on a night out is between €10 and €20. 14% said they regularly spend more than €35.

36% of DCU students surveyed have been drunk or had alcohol in their system during a lecture.

When asked if they had ever missed a lecture because they had been drinking at the time, 20% of students said yes. 52% of students who took part in the survey have missed a lecture because they were too hungover to attend.
Responding to these results, Doherty told The College View “It’s a culture that’s always been there”.

When asked if he thinks it’s something that goes with the student culture or something he thinks relates to a wider problem in our society because of our drinking habits, Paul said “I think it’s more with the student culture. I think it’s to do with that transition and independence from your family”. Doherty thinks there is a tendency for students to think ‘I can do what I want’ when they come to college. Doherty thinks there is a tendency for students to think ‘I can do what I want’ when they come to college.

When asked how often they consume alcohol, 36% answered two to three times a week while 35% do so once a week. 24 students said they drink alcohol every day.

A survey by the ISPCC charity in 2010 which examined the behaviour and attitudes of young people towards alcohol found 30% had drunk alcohol once a month in the last year. 20% said it was acceptable to drink more than five drinks in one sitting. Roughly 30% surveyed believed it is ok for young people to drink alcohol to get drunk.

Spirits are the most popular form of alcoholic drink among DCU students on a night out. Shots were the second most popular at 49% with beer a close third at 47%.

The Department of Health and Children recommend up to 14 standard drinks a week for women and up to 21 standard drinks a week for men. This is considered low risk but the drinks need to be spread out over the week not consumed in one night. The department recommends a daily limit of two or three standard drinks for women and three or four standard drinks for men.

One standard drink is equal to 10 grams of pure alcohol. Your liver can only process roughly one standard drink per hour. has recently teamed up with MSN Ireland to create the mini-site ‘Reclaim Your Weekend’ which provides deals for non-alcohol related activities to encourage people to cut out drinking at the weekend.

986 students from all years and faculties took part in The College View survey. Hopefully, the students who were shown in the survey to have drinking issues will be taking a step towards getting clean from alcohol before it’s too late.

Aisling Kett is our Deputy News Editor

Image Credit: jonny2love