3 pints a binge session?


I’ve just re-read an article in the Winter 2009 issue of  MerseyAle – Liverpool CAMRA‘s newsletter – which reports:

…the Government now defines a binge drinker as someone who drinks on one day a week  more than twice the recommended safe limit, which is 3 to 4 units for a man and 2 to 3 units for a woman. in other word (sic) if a man drinks three pints of beer on one day then he is a binge drinker, whilst a woman would be similarly classed as a binge drinker for drinking just two small 125mm (sic) glasses of wine.

This is plainly ludicrous! That means I’ve been a binge drinker since I started going in pubs when I was, erm, 15 (it was a long time ago, long before the term ‘Binge Drinking’ was coined!). I have always considered myself as a responsible drinker and must say I do feel insulted being tarred with the same brush as the meat heads who undoubtedly do go out to get hammered on Carling Extra Cold, Stella, WKD or (insert choice here).

Now, I’ve no reason to not believe the newsletter article, but in the interests of responsible journalism I’ve just spent half an hour on google trying to find some sensible definition of binge drinking. And guess what? Yep, I couldn’t find one. The nearest I could find was on SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre) web site here which says:

Definitions of binge-drinking were broadly consistent across the sample of Police, bar managers, bar staff and patrons. The most frequently cited were:

  • Drinking with the intention of getting drunk, often mixing drinks
  • Drinking to the point at which you lose control
  • Drinking as much as possible in a short space of time
  • Occasional, heavy drinking

These ‘definitions’ seem a bit more like it. I’d say that ‘Binge Drinking’ is a concept based more on behaviour rather than actual quantities consumed. I’d be interested to hear what our other members think about this. Comments invited.

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