[oxygen.ie] Drinking habits national survey results. (09 Jul 2012)
Nationwide survey reveals serious risks to health of students due to over indulgence in alcohol
• Almost 90% of Students admit to underage drinking.
• More than 60% of students admit to being more likely to engage in sexual activity with a stranger while drunk.
• One fifth of respondents admit to having sex and being unable to remember it afterwards.
Over 74% of college students were served underage alcohol in off licenses and supermarkets across the country, according to a recent survey carried out by the Student Marketing Network through their website oxygen.ie.
The survey also found that almost 50% of young people had their first drink before the age of 15 and 55% got drunk before the age of 16. Only 11% of young people waited until they were legal before having their first drink.
The survey of over 1,450 students nationwide, carried out over the last seven days found that advertising does not play a major role in influencing what young people drink. Over 73% of those surveyed said family and friends influenced their first choice of drink, while 18% were influenced by special offers and only 3% by advertising. Over 67% say that advertising does not affect their drinking preference on an on-going basis.
83% said they feel there is a strong relationship between the drink industry and sporting events, while over 74% of students do not think alcohol companies sponsoring sporting events encourages underage drinking.
Almost 50% of respondents admitted they have had a one night stand due to alcohol and over 60% admit to being more likely to engage in sexual activity with a stranger while drunk.
Some 37% of students admit to having unprotected sex when drunk and 50% admit to unprotected oral sex. This is a worrying trend when the increase in STI’s, reported by the HSE, is taken into account.
Most worrying in regards to sexual health and alcohol is that fact that one fifth of respondents admit to having sex and being unable to remember it afterwards. Over 16% have resorted to the morning after pill due to drunken, unprotected sex.
The Irish Pharmacy Union say that 85 per cent of pharmacists have been asked for the morning after pill since it became an over-the-counter drug in mid-February 2011.
Students seem to be unaware of the long-term ill effects of binge drinking with more than 50% admitting to vomiting more than 6 times due to overindulging in alcohol. A further 37% of students said they been injured, or hospitalised due to alcohol related injuries. Some 36% admit to having found themselves in danger due to excessive alcohol.
Over 83% of those who took part said factors influencing their drinking included socialising with friends. 83% of students said they fund their drinking habits with money earned from jobs. 50% of students buy their alcohol from supermarkets, with off licences falling close behind with 41%. The cultural change and demise of the Irish pub which has been talked about over recent years is also very obvious with over 43% drinking in their accommodation, 22% in nightclubs and only 35% listing bars as where they drink most often.
Colman Byrne, managing director of Student Marketing Network and oxygen.ie and former two-term president of Union of Students Ireland, said “The survey shows that students are not getting enough information on the effect that binge drinking and unprotected sex has on their long-term health. If more information was readily available, and if students were educated from an earlier age on these effects we could see a dramatic difference in results. The government desperately need to overhaul their outdated and inefective strategy in these critically important areas.”
51% of students who took part in the survey were male, 49% female.
51% are from a city or large town, 49% from a small town or rural area.
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