College students, if they choose to drink, pre-game at higher rates than other populations. But is pre-gaming a good idea, or does it lead to more negative consequences than good?
College students tell us they pre-game for a variety of reasons: to avoid underage drinking tickets at a bar or dance club, to spend less money on alcohol, or because they attend a party ahead of time where drinking occurs.
While avoiding legal trouble and spending less on alcohol are admirable goals, does pre-gaming help? According to the research, pre-gaming actually results in a higher likelihood of heavy drinking, spending more money, hangovers, blackouts, and risky behaviors like vandalism.
This is because pre-gaming lowers your inhibitions and impairs your ability to make good decisions later in the night, like alternating alcoholic drinks with water, or knowing to stop drinking when you’ve reached your limit. The research, by author Florian Labhart of the Addiction Switzerland Institute in Lausanne, indicates that on nights that don’t involve pre-gaming people drink less on average, and are less likely to experience the negative effects associated with having too much alcohol.
Here at Campus Health we have harm-reduction approach, which means that we are not making any judgments with regards to alcohol or drugs. We focus on helping students identify ways they can reduce their risks for alcohol and other drug related harm, and we help students put in place strategies that they find useful to avoid the negative consequences that they identify.
So if you choose to drink, make sure that you are aware of the risks involved, and make sure you know that pre-gaming is not always as good of an idea as it sounds.
As always, stay safe, and stay healthy!
Inspired by this post in Men’s Health