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Sport and binge drinking

A group of 180 young students from Brisbane popped into Haymarket Hotel on George Street during their all-night pub-crawl. En route from the Abercrombie Hotel in Chippendale, these eager football supporters filled an already full house of blue with shades of maroon.

On a night such as this, it is easy to forget how many drinks you’ve had, as you get caught up in the moment. Lilly, a 23-year-old student from Queensland, states that it is during events such as the State of Origin that most of youth binge drinking occurs. “That’s definitely when binge drinking occurs, especially with such a large group of boys. I think in our age group, I don’t see how you can change that.”

A new campaign from the Australian National Preventative Health Agency, in partnership with the Australian Government, is working on creating a change to the culture of binge drinking among young adults. The campaign will provide funding to 12 of Australia’s sporting organisations to limit the amount of alcohol sponsorships.

The campaign aims to offer an alternative sponsorship program that has more of a positive influence, while also promoting responsible drinking. But do the youths of Australia think this will have an effect on their sports-loving and heavy-drinking habits?

Edward, an 18-year-old student, isn’t so optimistic. He states: “People are going to drink whether it’s sponsored or not in sport. I don’t ever watch sport and I drink, people drink socially, so it wouldn’t help binge drinking.”

However, Andrew, a 25-year-old bartender, thinks the campaign is a good start, but needs work: “That’s good, but how does it target youths? They’re targeting the audience, but the audience isn’t always young people.”

As the game neared its end, the bar remained full, while shots of various spirits, mixed drinks and beers were consumed heavily. Queensland overcame NSW’s lead, and the final minutes of the game saw NSW unable to hit back, losing by just one point.

It seemed all doom and gloom for NSW as many punters referred to the need to drink during sport as part of our culture. A final word from Alan, a 26-year-old barista: “They’re just taking one element out; the advertising. Bars will still be open.” And that night, bars were full to bursting.

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