Drunken stupidity: students don't know how to count beers
By Eric Johanssen
NOW THAT’S HOW MUCH I THOUGHT
I HAD LAST NIGHT... A new study about alcohol studies
suggests students aren’t reliable in reporting
how much they drink.
Note to frosh: be careful next time you return home from the
bar, puke behind the bike racks at Saugeen and tell your residence
advisor you only had four drinks — you’re not fooling
A report authored by Aaron White, assistant professor of psychiatry
at Duke University Medical Center, called into question a number
of major studies on student alcohol use. White’s study
found most students over-poured their shots by 26 per cent,
beer by 25 per cent and mixed drinks by 80 per cent. When compared
to government standards, the report suggested the problem of
alcohol use among students was much worse than researchers
According to White, the primary problem lies in the fact that
there is no definition for what exactly constitutes a drink;
students who think they are consuming five or six drinks may
actually be consuming as many as nine or 10. “Students
haven’t been taught what the government means by a drink,” he
said. “Their definition is different.”
A number of students spending yesterday afternoon at The Spoke
had different ideas of what represented a drink. Nick D’Andrea,
a third-year geography student, said he consumes about four
to five pints of beer a week, noting that he considers one
pint to be one drink.
Fifth-year administrative and commercial studies student and
Spoke bartender, Joel Mernick, also said he believes that one
pint constitutes one drink, noting he enjoys “about eight” frosty
beverages a week. Third-year philosophy student Jeremy Douglas
disagreed: “One beer equals one bottle,” he said.
White said part of the problem is that many people free-pour
drinks; the bigger the glass is, the more alcohol students
are likely to pour, adding females are more likely to free-pour
drinks than males, as well as not eat before drinking.
“Our program should focus on responsible drinking, rather
than opposing drinking [completely],” said Adrienne Kennedy,
VP-campus issues for the University Students’ Council.
Kennedy said a program as simple as a presentation in the University
Community Centre showing accurate proportions for an acceptable
drink could be a good solution.
“We need to agree on a serving size [for] alcohol; if
we don’t, we’re sort of wasting our time [with
the studies],” White said, comparing alcohol to other
drugs. “You don’t just take [a bunch of] Valium
without knowing the dosage.”
White said he believes bottles of alcohol should include the
number of “servings” they contain on their labelling,
adding such a process is in place and working well in Australia.