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Critique of University College Dublin's Alcohol and Drug Policy

By kearney1990 Apr 15, 2014 724 Words
Write a critique of University College Dublin’s Alcohol Policy.

Alcohol policies are sets of measures aimed at minimizing health and social harm from the use of alcohol (WHO). For the purpose of this essay I am going to critique University College Dublin’s (UCD) alcohol policy. I will be mainly focusing on why a college alcohol policy was developed, what elements of UCD’s policy need improving and whether the current policy is working at all in the college. Students in third level education have been identified as a population at risk of heavy drinking. Therefore in line with the national alcohol policy strategy, Irish colleges were invited to develop their own alcohol policies. According to the College Lifestyle and Attitudinal National Survey (CLAN), as a result of their alcohol use, students experienced harms such as regretting things said and done after drinking (62%), felt effects of alcohol while at class/work (50%), missed school/work days (44%) and harmed studies/work. In my opinion this is clear evidence in favour of why UCD has its own alcohol policy. In addition to this, college students are more likely to binge drink (having more than four pints of beer or a bottle of wine or equivalent in one session), which is strongly linked to them being less likely to use positive coping strategies when dealing with anxiety or depression (CLAN). This fortifies the need for a college alcohol policy as young men dealing with these serious mental health issues are more likely to commit suicide than their older and more mature counterparts. Overall UCD has a very good alcohol policy with a few very well thought out regulations. For example, regulation number 8 sets out that “clubs, societies and other groups organising events on- or off- campus may not advertise free or cheap drinks as the main attraction of the event”. I think this is an important part of the policy as it prevents societies pushing alcohol on students attending the events. Also it helps prevent alcohol being presented as a desirable lifestyle and image, a problem highlighted by research into the impact of alcohol advertising on teenagers in Ireland commissioned by the Department of Health and Children. Another vital part of the policy I identified was regulation number 4. It states that “Those wishing to serve alcoholic drinks at a party or reception should make application to the local Duty Manager... a permit will be issued to allow specified volumes of wine and/or beer proportionate to the number of guests attending the function”. I commend this section of the alcohol policy as it prohibits spirits being served at said events. Spirits are far more damaging to the liver and other organs than wine and beer. This shows UCD are considerate of their student’s health, at least to some degree. On top of this the policy clearly outlines the consequences for breach of the alcohol policy, which usually ends in appearing before the disciplinary committee. However there is one regulation which i have a problem with. “Sponsorship is permitted only where the event or activity has an evident cultural or sporting component” (UCD Alcohol Policy). Evidence shows that the binge drinking patterns adopted by young male students has been reinforced bu alcohol advertising and sponsorship connecting alcohol with the achievement of optimum performance in elite sport (CLAN survey). This kind of advertisement exploits students, especially young males, and in my opinion it is a section of the UCD alcohol policy which must be addressed. I do believe the policy to be working in the college despite this. It is a rare occasion to see or hear of a student’s health being affected due to the consumption of alcohol on campus and it is even a rarer occasion to hear of social harm coming to anyone on campus due to alcohol use. Even at the UCD ball incidents were kept at a minimum despite the majority of the student body gathering in one place under the influence of alcohol. I believe this to be down to the fact that only a certain amount of wine and beer was available. To conclude, UCD’s alcohol policy has been put in place to protect its students from social harm and health hazards. Despite a few glitches the policy is working but with a few adjustments it could be perfect.

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