Alcohol Epidemic hits Irish Students

By Sarah O’Brien

Given the recent spate of alcohol related deaths amongst Irish youths, I decided to go out on the street and interview students to hear their thoughts and opinions about what’s really going on with their peers…..

Alcohol related deaths such as the tragic passing of 16 year-old Irish teen,Chloe Kinsella, have become common place over the last year. Chloe was found to have toxic levels of alcohol in her bloodstream.

This years latest craze the infamous ‘Neck Nominations’ involving a deadly cocktail of alcohol has resulted in several young deaths and it’s clear alcohol abuse is on the up and up amongst Ireland’s youth.

Syed Makachrka, an A&E doctor working in the University Hospital Limerick said that young people come in with,”cracked cranial-hematomas and are confused, it just shocks me, young people you know 16-17, who have their full lives ahead of them so just think in 10 years time, where will they be?”

Mr. Makachrka also commented on the lack of drink aware campaigns aimed at waking students up to the realties of alcohol abuse.

Melissa Brand, a U.L exchange student commented on the difference between the atmosphere in U.L as opposed to her home university in Illinois.

Ms. Brand spoke about the peculiarity of having several bars on campus and how that fails to serve an academic learning environment.

She mentioned how frequently students go out during the college week and how their alcohol intake seems just to be a joke to them.

”I mean it’s really just part of their daily routine and lifestyle,” Melissa added.

Patrick Ehiz, a University of Limerick engineering student, commented on how he had seen classmates affected badly by alcohol but overall felt the it varied person to person and that it was up to every student to discipline themselves.

Mary-Louise Hogan felt that students needed to focus more on their studies and spend less time partying, saying that in the future those students will look back and regret their slipping grades and ill health.
Ms. Hogan also commented on what she had witnessed in the student villages, describing it as one big party, a never ending drinking session.

She also said that having, ”bars on campus and stuff like that. It is promoting drink..it’s ridiculous.”

Overall the general consensus has been that a healthier attitude to both physical and mental health must be promoted and that young people need to be supported in their choices, whether it be by offering then alcohol free on campus student accommodation or by starting a peer support group for people feeling pressurized to drink to excess.

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