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Social Problem: Binge drinking & Symbolic Interactionism
With alcohol established as the number one drug consumed in Australia (AIC, 2015), a prevailing social problem arising from this condition is binge drinking. This essay aims to delve into the social and cultural aspects associated with alcohol consumption in Australia and the subsequent escalating social problems surrounding binge drinking has on society from a symbolic interactionalism view. Firstly, this essay will analyse binge drinking as a social problem and provide an overview of symbolic interactionism. Secondly, this essay will investigate Australia’s culture towards alcohol and those who are deemed most likely to binge drink. Thirdly, this essay will review alcohol use amongst teenagers in Australia, the influence of parental attitude towards alcohol and how these experiences provide a predictive indication of binge drinking in adulthood.
While the definition of a social problem is subjective dependent on individual interpretation of what constitutes a ‘social problem’, it is generally referred to as an aspect of society which people believe is undesirable and in need of correction (Your Dictionary, 2017). The term ‘being drinking’ is used to describe heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages over a short period of time with the intention of becoming intoxicated (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,1995). According to the Australian Drug Foundation (2014) alcohol is the most widely abused drug in Australia with 37.3% of Australians aged 14 years and above consuming alcohol on a weekly basis and binge drinking is considered the most common form of alcohol abuse. It has been suggested that the consumption of alcohol is so common in Australia that majority fail recognise alcohol as a form of drug or consider the harmful effects thus end up consuming alcohol at levels viewed as binge drinking (Matthews et al, 2013). While many believe that binge drinking is not an established social problem amongst society in Australia as the average consumption rate per capita has remained steady for the past decade, this perception is contradictory to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) most recent finding which indicate that alcohol consumption rates have increased for the first time in nine years. A consequence of Australia’s overall alcohol consumption could imply a further increase to the current the negative social impacts precipitated by binge drinking which are already substantial causing significant economic loss as well as having detrimental social and health repercussions (Roza, 2001).
It is estimated that the social economic loss associated with alcohol misuse in Australia is in excess of $15 billion dollars per year, with $10.8b associated with tangible economic losses, such as labor and health costs, and $4.5b attributed to intangible costs such as alcohol related fatalities (Collins & Lapsley, 2002). While...