Ten year study shows that university students are drinking more safely

Ten year study shows that university students are drinking more safely
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A decade long study has revealed the drinking habits of New Zealand's university students.

The study commenced in 2004 and surveyed the amounts and ways students at Otago University were drinking. It also surveyed three control universities.

Ten years later, the student population was surveyed again - and the results are surprising. 

The study, published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown "overall, there has been a shift among Otago students to drinking less than weekly and across fewer locations."

"Intoxication was less prevalent over time among university students overall in New Zealand. The reduction [around a third] was large among Otago students."

The study says that research suggests "with concerted effort, it is possible to change a drinking culture".

This effort refers to the measures implemented by Otago University between 2006 and 2009 to try and prevent students getting drunk and disorderly.

Within those four years, the University amended their Code of Student Conduct, allowing them to expel students for disorderly behaviour on and off campus, banned alcohol advertising and sponsorship at University events and finally in 2010, bought half of the pubs closest to campus and converted them to study spaces and offices.

Researchers are proposing that the pub closures, as well as the reduction of the blood alcohol limit in 2014 have contributed to the decline in hazardous drinking at Otago.

"It seems likely that the actions of the university along with the reductions in pubs surrounding campus have helped to reduce hazardous drinking in the Otago student population."