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Alcohol and licensing policy could be changing the habits of young drinkers
Date:12/15/2008

In a new report published online today in the January issue of Addiction, researchers question whether current licensing policies have contributed to a rise in the phenomenon of "pre-drinking" amongst young people.

"Pre-drinking" or "pre-gaming" involves planned heavy drinking, usually at someone's home, before going to a social event, typically a bar or nightclub. As defined by young people themselves (see online dictionary of slang at www.urbandictionary.com) pre-drinking is "[the] act of drinking alcohol before you go out to the club to maximise your fun at the club while spending the least amount on extremely overpriced alcoholic beverages".

The authors see pre-drinking as symptomatic of a "new culture of intoxication" whereby young people are drinking with the primary motive of getting drunk. Recent research suggests that a large proportion of young people pre-drink and that pre-drinkers are more likely to drink heavily and to experience negative consequences as compared to non-pre-drinkers. Pre-drinking often involves the rapid consumption of large quantities of alcohol which may increase the risk of blackouts, hangovers and even alcohol poisoning. It may also encourage the use of other recreational drugs such as cannabis and cocaine as drinkers are socialising in unsupervised environments.

The authors argue that the policy of banning drink promotions or specials such as "happy hour" in bars and clubs may have the unintended consequence of encouraging young people to drink cheaper alcohol in private settings before going out, especially when heavily discounted alcohol is offered in shops and supermarkets. The authors also point out that while later closing times have been justified as a way of reducing problems associated with large numbers of young people being on the street after bars and clubs close, they may encourage private drinking to precede rather than follow public dri
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Contact: Molly Jarvis
molly@addictionjournal.org
44-020-784-80014
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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