Health Experts Blast ‘Selective’ Alcohol Advice Given to College Students

Public health advocates are criticizing academic programs in the United Kingdom that receive funding from the alcohol industry. They argue that these programs may normalize drinking and downplay the potential health risks associated with alcohol consumption for students in the long term. They say materials that promote drinking and minimize the associated health risks, which are backed by the alcohol industry, should not be utilized in educational institutions.

There is a growing demand within the public health community to discontinue the “selective” recommendations made by organizations such as Drinkaware in classrooms.

It has come to their attention that educational materials aimed at preventing underage drinking are being introduced to students as young as nine years old, inadvertently exposing them to the drinking culture they might not necessarily pay attention to.

‘Freshers’ week survival guidelines’ are being distributed to college students. Diageo, a leading company in the alcoholic beverage industry, sponsors these guidelines.

Drinkaware also provides helpful suggestions, such as staying hydrated by drinking ample water and consuming carbohydrates or protein before going to town.

As per the findings published in the British Medical Journal, the guidelines were provided at no cost, along with an alcohol measurement cup and a calorie and unit wheel for commonly consumed beverages.

According to Mark Petticrew of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 

food does not have a significant impact on the long-term effects of alcohol, such as cardiovascular disease, malignancies, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

He criticized the authors of the Welsh “toolkit” for omitting essential data about the long-term health risks and potential fatality associated with alcohol. According to him, their focus is not on protecting college students from harm, but rather on maintaining the reputation of the industry.

Due to a successful initiative in Ireland, schools have ended teaching programs sponsored by alcohol.

Drinkaware defended the cup and wheel, stating that their goal was to help people understand how much they were drinking.

Karen Tyrell, Chief executive of Drinkaware, said the charity’s efforts are a noble contribution to the reduction of alcohol-related harm nationwide.