Students in tears after binge drinking
University students have been phoning a drug and alcohol helpline in tears following their binge drinking experiences.
The Alcohol Drug Association (ADA) said it recently ran a nationwide survey of student drinking and discovered some concerning habits.
It found a third of students had blacked out during binge drinking, and 37 per cent reported binge drinking at least once in the past week.
ADA chief executive Cate Kearney said calls received by the Alcohol Drug Helpline included a 19-year-old woman at a South Island university.
"I just can't do this any more," she said.
"I can't recall what I've done or who I've done it with. I'm feeling sick with embarrassment and shame. You should see all the bruises I've got.
"I don't know how I got them. You've no idea what it's like. Everyone does it. There's no such thing as having a few drinks."
A 22-year-old male North Island university student was in tears during his call and said he had seriously injured himself without knowing how and was worried about it happening again.
"Man, it's so hard because weekends are drinking time," he said.
"But I'm going to have to stop drinking if I don't want to stuff this up too. Look how can I possibly get out of this? It's lonely enough being away from my family."
Ms Kearney said the results of the survey came as no surprise given the calls that came in on a regular basis.
"What is particularly concerning is that a third of students surveyed reported blacking out during their binge drinking, and that 37 per cent reported one or more binge drinking episodes in the past week," she said.
Ms Kearney said young people were reflecting New Zealand's culture of binge drinking.
Alcohol regulation and misuse needed to be an important issue for the new government.
The Helpline calls suggested it was alcohol rather than methamphetamine that was the scourge of New Zealand, Ms Kearney said.
The web-based survey covered the drinking habits over a four-week period of 2548 students from five universities.