University is a time where many students may consume and experiment with alcohol. Statistics show that four out of five adults drink, and a quarter of those admit that they’ve engaged in hazardous drinking behaviours in the past year. It’s no secret that New Zealand has its own unique drinking culture, but to what extent might this be harming us, and how can we address this? Craccum talked to four students to find out what they thought about binge drinking.
“I think it’s bad that people have the mentality that we just need to drink until we black out. That’s what all students have in their mind. Every event that we have at university, people think “Is it an open bar? How pissed can we get?”. The mentality is, as a student, you just want free alcohol because it’s fucking expensive. Also, it’s often about the cheapest option and how much alcohol you can get, and how drunk you can get the fastest. It gets to the point where people do things like Tac-Yacking [vomiting on purpose].”
“It hasn’t really affected me much but I probably do it more than I should. It’s expensive, you don’t feel great in the mornings sometimes, and the culture is encouraging stuff like drunk driving and abuse. I’ve never experienced that side of it personally but I’ve heard about it. But people can’t talk about it because of “kiwi culture” and how it’s become a part of our cultural identity.”
“I personally do not drink, so I haven’t been affected by many of the implications of binge drinking. However, growing up not drinking has meant I’ve witnessed the effect this has had on friends and family. If you are already suffering from issues around wellbeing, and particularly mental health, I think drinking can really exacerbate these, and there is not enough education around these effects. I don’t think it is easy to create cultural change, but awareness and education are two major factors that can really be improved upon in New Zealand around alcohol and drug education.”
“I think binge drinking in New Zealand has become normalised through social media. Things like funnels, beer pong, rhinos and shotguns are all ways to get fucked up fast that I’ve seen promoted on social media. It’s kind of hard because it’s not easy just to stop binge drinking. I don’t know if there’s a quick, easy solution to reducing excessive drinking culture in New Zealand.”
*Names have been changed to protect students’ identities