Binge drinking

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Binge drinking (or 'heavy episodic drinking') is, colloquially, drinking a lot of alcohol in a short space of time, with the purpose of getting drunk.

In the UK, this has a stricter definition:

Researchers define binge drinking as consuming eight or more Alcohol Units in a single session for men and six or more for women.[1]

Graciously, they do point out that "... this definition does not apply to everyone because the tolerance and the speed of drinking in a session varies from person to person| but the implication is that you shouldn't be drinking anywhere near this amount.

For men this equates to 2.8 pints of 5% lager, or 2.1 pints for women,

Children's Commissioner for England - 11 Sep 2012

Margaret Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, implied that any parent who drinks more than 3 pints of larger (or equivalent) at a sitting, is a danger to their children, and that 33% of children have parents who drink more than 3 pints of lager at a sitting:

Nearly one in three children lives with a parent who is a binge drinker, research shows.

Around 93,500 babies aged under 12 months in the UK are living with a parent who is classified as a "hazardous" drinker (increasing the risk of harm to oneself or others), according to studies by the Community Research Company and used by the Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC).

Approximately 31,000 babies under a year live with a parent who would be classified as a "dependent" drinker.

The OCC today published a report - Silent Voices: supporting children and young people affected by parental alcohol misuse - highlighting the extent of the problem.

Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England, said: "The effects of parents' alcohol misuse on children may be hidden for years, while children try both to cope with the impact on them, and manage the consequences for their families.[2]

Nice round numbers, and they appear to be lumping together those who drink 3 pints of lager in a sitting, the alcoholics who can't function without half a botle of vodka before breakfast, and everyone in between, and treating them all the same.

Except, from the summary of the report we have this nugget:

The review is primarily led by what we know from children’s direct input to research and policy development. The report focuses on publications covering England but also draws on work from elsewhere where it adds to our knowledge and is particularly pertinent to this review. Similarly, the emphasis is very much on parental alcohol misuse, but some studies and information from the wider field of substance misuse is also included. A number of key messages emerge for each of the six research questions:

1. Children’s Experiences

1. The size of the problem - the number of children who are affected by/living with parental alcohol misuse - is largely unknown. However, estimates suggest parental alcohol misuse is far more prevalent than parental drug misuse and there is a need for greater emphasis on parental alcohol misuse as distinct from other substance misuse. There are no England/UK data on how many children are affected by FASD (foetal alcohol spectrum disorder).

They are attempting to base a change on government policy based on nothing but guesswork.

References