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By Rebecca Potter on 22.10.2023

Going too far for a good time?

We are the ‘Skins’ generation. We are the partiers, the yobs, and the drunkards, and we will do pretty much anything for a good time. Students, and anyone else within that age bracket, have shown that they are capable of doing numerous things to warrant a night out, whether that be living on pot-noodles for two weeks waiting for the next student loan instalment, or mixing cheap vodka with orange squash. And when they’re out, they don’t stop at the usual level of alcohol misuse. They like to mix it up, and be different, and what better way to do that than to pour a shot of neat vodka down your throat, or down numerous dirty pints. I do it, you do it, that makes it okay right?

The thing is, whilst we’re busy pouring as much alcohol down our throats as we can, there are other people out there, who are learning the hard way that alcohol and nights out, are not our friend. No one knows this better at the moment then eighteen-year-old Gaby Scanlon. You probably haven’t heard of her, and why would you? Two weeks ago, Gaby turned 18, and did what every 18 year old does, she celebrated by drinking hard. She ended her birthday celebrations at eleven that evening, when she was taken from a bar to the hospital, to have her stomach removed. Gaby Scanlon had accidentally ingested liquid nitrogen. Whilst this incident is in no way Gaby Scanlon’s fault (the way liquid nitrogen is handled in clubs is out of her hands) could the fact she was drinking excessively when she ingested the liquid, have distracted her from the realisation that the drink was ice cold (a sign of liquid nitrogen) in her mouth? And what does this incident say about drinking in clubs these days? Is anywhere safe?

The same week that this story came out, another emerged concerning seventeen-year-old Joseph Benett who fell into a coma, and died four weeks later, the cause of death being a hypoxic brain injury, arising from the inhalation of nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas.) Laughing gas, like alcohol, is easily obtained in a club or night-life environment. I can’t count on both hands the amount of people I know who have either tried it, or been offered it in the last two years of their life, and most of these people happily think of the ‘recreational drug’ as harmless.

What is happening to this generation? We have reached a point in our culture where anything is taken without a thought to the consequences. I know what most of you are thinking, that these incidents are rare, and luckily they are, that’s why they are still considered news. But what about the other incidents? The ones that don’t get reported on. The amount of falls, vomiting, and accidents that happen whilst people are too ‘off-their-face’ to notice, is getting higher and higher. It is laughed off as harmless fun, it doesn’t matter, as thank-god everyone is fine in the end, but what about that tiny portion that isn’t? What about Gaby Scanlon who after her gastrectomy will have to spend the rest of her life eating tiny portions and taking vitamin supplements? What about the family of Joseph Benett, who due to one ‘harmless’ session can never see him again?

I’d like to point out here that I’m by no means innocent. I drink; I enjoy going out to clubs, and two new years ago I saw the New Year in face down in a bathtub, passing out, after vomiting copiously into a toilet. And what did I learn from this episode? Never again. And true to my word, I never have been that bad again. When so much can happen from not that much alcohol misuse, is the loss of control worth it? Does the necessity for a good night outweigh the possible accidents that come with it? In short, how far will you go for a good time?


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