‘The Sailor’s Lament:’ Royal Navy’s ‘Binge Drink’ Culture
Binge drinking has long been identified as a social problem. Vast amounts of column inches, as well as government and independent agency policy documents have been produced, in an effort to tackle the problem. Until recently the spotlight has been firmly focused on civilian life, but recent research findings may change that view. Research carried out by King’s Centre for Military Health Research has concluded that binge drinking is “significantly more prevalent” in the Royal Navy, than within the general population.
Although, the Royal Navy may have had a historic relationship with alcohol, (particularly rum – the last ration of which was issued to sailors in 1970), this research suggests such a connection may be under threat. Whilst, the Navy may have some reservations, relating to the gender make and size of sample, the results are likely to cause unease, particularly as the group identified most at risk are ‘young single males often from relatively deprived backgrounds.’
Once again, we are faced with a link between young people and alcohol abuse. It remains to be seen how the media are able to incorporate these potential heroes into their vision of ‘drunken’ Britain.