How parents should be modelling responsible alcohol use

A memorial service is set to be held on Saturday for an 18-year-old student who died after allegedly taking part a drinking game at a Stellenbosch University residence.

On Weekend Breakfast, Africa Melane addresses South Africa's binge drinking problem with Professor Charles Young, a counselling psychologist with an interest in student wellness.

RELATED: Expert calls for better strategies to curb learners' alcohol abuse

Professor Young explains the parameters of what is considered binge drinking.

It's defined as eight or more drinks in one session for men and six or more for women.

Professor Charles Young, Counselling psychologist

He notes that drinking in South Africa is on a par with high-income countries like Belgium and Australia, although South African drinkers generally don't have the same financial resources.

This contributes to the problem, as people save their money to go overboard during their weekend binge.

Typically what happens, people who don't drink much during the week - they concentrate all their drinking over the weekend.

Professor Charles Young, Counselling psychologist

The danger is this concentrated, rapid drinking over relatively short periods of time which really intensifies the effects of alcohol and is associated with all sorts of social and health and other types of problems.

Professor Charles Young, Counselling psychologist

Professor Young says how parents drink in front of their children is an important source of modelling and specifically regarding college or university students, it is more dangerous for them to have no experience at all with alcohol.

A lot of good research on countries like France and Italy that have far lower binge drinking rates than, say, the UK - one of the explanations for that is that young people witness adults drinking in a way that's very moderate, they appreciate enjoying a good bottle of wine...

Professor Charles Young, Counselling psychologist

That experience (should be) about appreciation of the alcohol rather than an appreciation of being intoxicated.

Professor Charles Young, Counselling psychologist

For more from Professor Young, listen here:


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