EDITORIAL | Student drinking cause for concern

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Students and alcohol – it’s not exactly an unfamiliar juxtaposition.
Anyone who has had any kind of association with university life outside of lecture halls will know that liquor consumption – while certainly not sweepingly prevalent – is a recreational pasttime of choice among a significant proportion of young people on and off campus.
It’s nothing new and it’s not difficult to understand why.
Many first-year students experiencing newfound freedom after years of school discipline are now no longer under the watchful eye of parents at home and can make their own choices.
The problem comes in with the precarious mix of youthful exuberance, peer pressure, need for social interaction and the obvious feel-good effects of alcohol which can lead to excessive indulgence.
We have to accept that while it may be normalised to have students drinking as they do, it has to be tempered by caution and restraint – something a lot of young adults are not particularly good at.
The pleasures of intoxication come with a price.
Impaired cognitive abilities and slow reaction times – to say nothing of loss of inhibition and poor judgment – can often have tragic repercussions, even deadly in some instances.
It may, to students, appear to be just good fun but it has raised so much concern that Bhisho is partnering with the provincial liquor board to address the issue.
Nelson Mandela University, which says it is enhancing existing programmes aimed at raising awareness, has introduced safety mechanisms such as a “green route” for the security of students who may fall victim to drunken behaviour.
However, these measures need to be extended beyond campus gates.
Students will be students – but safety is paramount and this must be repeatedly driven home.
Excessive and irresponsible drinking is just not worth the risk.

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