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Nightclubs and the seven deadly sins

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 01 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:0605214
  1. Philip Hendy, final year medical student1
  1. 1Imperial College Medical School, London

Philip Hendy discusses the immediate and long term medical hazards of clubbing

Two thirds of 18-30 year olds go clubbing at least once a month, and this rises to 82% in those aged 18-24.1 Night clubs act as a venue for socialising adults to drink alcohol, dance, and start new or cement existing relationships. Having large numbers of young adults in a confined, largely unregulated space has potential medical repercussions. These may be due to the targeting of them by individuals or organised groups (for the purposes of illicit drug selling, prostitution, date rape, or premeditated affray); a permissive culture of excess (alcohol), experimentation (drugs), and exposure to environmental pollutants (including noise, strobe lighting, and tobacco smoke).

The situation is akin to a modern seven deadly sins. A cocktail of gluttony, lust, anger, envy, sloth, pride, and greed are intertwined in the nightclub environment.


(The adverse affects of binge drinking and drug use)

Binge drinking

The peculiarly British phenomenon of binge drinking may be defined as taking over half the maximum recommended weekly number of units (10 for men and seven for women) at one session. 2 The Office for National Statistics showed that in 1998, 37% of men and 23% of women in the age group 16-24 had drunk more than 8 units and 6 units, respectively, on at least one day in the previous week compared with a national average of 21% and 8%, respectively. 3

The immediate effects of excess alcohol include loss of normal self restraint, leading to poor social behaviour, accidents, assault, promiscuity, and loss of working days. In 1999 the Home Office reported that nearly 20 000 people were guilty of offences due to drunkenness.4 Among the 16-24 year olds, poor social behaviour revealed itself, with 42% of men and 25% of women admitting …

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