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It is not just the young who are pre-drinking – older people do that too

Posted May 14, 2019

Pre-drinking, which is nothing more than just drinking before going drinking, is not a good behaviour. It operates on a premise that you have to get as drunk as possible to have fun. This leads to all kinds of health issues as well as problems on the streets. Now scientists from the University of Queensland found that pre-drinking is not just for the young – people do that after 30 too.

Pre-drinking is a dangerous behaviour, which is more common in some countries than in others. Image credit: Gordon Flood via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Researchers wanted to see what is the role of sex and age on the pre-drinking behaviour.  It is typically assumed that pre-drinking is only for the young and as people mature they stop doing that. Scientists expected pre-drinking peak at the age of 21 and then decline, but in some of the 27 countries included in the study this wasn’t true at all. New Zealand is one of them – pre-drinking after 30 actually increases. Other countries where this can be observed include Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland, and the United States.

In Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy, the relationship with alcohol is inherently different. People drink all the time with dinner, which sometimes turns out to be pre-drinking before parties. Meanwhile in some other countries, like Ireland and Australia, people don’t typically drink during the week, but will pre-drink before a party on the weekend. Scientists also expected to see substantially more males engage in the behaviour than females, but it wasn’t the case in all the countries – in Canada and Denmark women were more likely to pre-drink than their counterparts. Scientists suspect that women are trying to match the intoxication levels of males.

We tend to think that people pre-drink in order to save money – drinking at home is probably cheaper than drinking in a bar or in a nightclub. However, this idea is pretty much out the window having n mind that people over 30 are pre-drinking too. Pre-drinking is linked with increased risk of assaults, injuries and arrest.

Scientists say that some interventions could stop people from pre-drinking so much, but policy makers should be careful. Dr Cheneal Puljevic, one of the authors of the study, said: “These policies have some unintended consequences. Instead of consuming alcohol over the course of a night and intoxication levels rising at a steady rate, many pre-drinkers are arriving at venues already intoxicated and drinking more”.

You don’t need to be intoxicated in order to have fun. Maintaining your personal integrity, playing safe and responsible does not take away from the party spirit. Pre-drinking may lead to alcohol abuse, violence and all kinds of problems. It is better to simply not do it.


Source: University of Queensland

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