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Ben - Interview 23

Age at interview: 20
Brief Outline: Ben travelled during his Gap Year and started drinking more because it was cheap. He thinks that students drink a lot because they are away from home and their parents. Ben has very occasionally used drugs, always when he has been drinking, and usually at parties. He says that if he had been sober, he wouldn't have taken any, and that it was silly.
Background: Ben is a first year university student who started drinking heavily in his gap year. He has occasionally taken drugs when he has been drinking.

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When Ben was at school he would drink alcohol on weekends. He had a gap year before going to university, working full-time during the first half and travelling afterwards with a friend. When working, he didn’t go out much and drink, but once he started travelling in South East Asia he drank a lot because it was so cheap. He thinks that he has always been under control, but he knows some people who've had a serious drink problem.
 
Ben thinks that lots of students tend to drink a lot because being away from home means that their parents aren't keeping an eye on them. He knows students who drink every night, even if they don’t go out. He says that drinking that frequently is expensive. Ben thinks that living in a shared house with friends makes people more likely to stay in and drink. He knows of people who have been mugged while under the influence of alcohol. He has cycled while under the influence and has always been alright, though he knows of others who haven’t. He also has friends who drive after drinking and is surprised that people don't seem to worried about it.

Ben has very occasionally used drugs, always when he has been drinking, and usually at parties. He says he wouldn’t have taken any if he'd been sober and that it was silly. He remembers losing his phone once at a club when he had taken drugs. He says that you can't always be sure of the effect a drug might have and he doesn't want to lose control.
 

Ben was influenced by his older brother and his friends who didn’t do drugs.

Ben was influenced by his older brother and his friends who didn’t do drugs.

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And what do you think has influenced your kind of attitude to it?
 
A number of things. One certainly I think for a lot of people like their older siblings I think is quite important, like the fact that my brother never did like. I mean I’m not saying if he had of done drugs I would have done too but the fact that he didn’t I reckon does have quite an impact because like if you’re older sibling does and they can like. They’ll probably say to you like, ‘Yeah it’s alright’ and kind of ‘It’s fun’ and whatever and yeah. And if I look at my friends the ones’ whose older like brothers or whatever did means much more likely. I mean it’s not always the way but that’s certainly one thing. Also yeah and then like my [noise] close friendship group I never really, don’t really, didn’t really get. I mean I have like lots of friends that like did get into drugs but kind of not my sort of closest friends and that is quite a big influence. 
 
 

Ben’s used illegal substances only a handful of times, mostly at music festivals after a few drinks.

Ben’s used illegal substances only a handful of times, mostly at music festivals after a few drinks.

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Have you used any illegal substances or?
 
Yeah only, I mean, only kind of never regularly only like very occasionally and pretty much always, nearly always when I’ve been like drinking and then someone’s just like, ‘Do you want this?’ And I mean it’s very, it’s a handful of times I’m talking about.
 
A handful?
 
Yeah and
 
In which context at parties or?
 
Yeah, yeah pretty much at like if we’re out somewhere or
 
Or concerts or?
 
Not, not at no festivals I went to I sucked alcohol. Yeah not just like on a night out or something and it was normally when if I’m just like not really thinking. Like if I was sober I definitely would like no but I’m just like yeah you’re just kind of less, you don’t really thinking straight. But yeah I mean it is only like a handful of times and I’d say the, the times I have, I mean I’ve looked back and just thought, ‘Right that was silly. I didn’t need to do that.  
 

Ben and a friend tried magic mushrooms once while in Amsterdam.

Ben and a friend tried magic mushrooms once while in Amsterdam.

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And once with [name] don’t know if he told you like mushrooms.
 
Ok.
It’s yeah. I don’t know if he told you.
 
He told me about that.
 
Yeah [laugh] That was. Yeah that was just being in Amsterdam and not having much to do so yeah. Yeah that was kind of a bit of an anomaly really.
 
Anomaly ok?
 
Yeah I mean, yeah I don’t really know where that came from but... I mean it was quite fun that day but I don’t really have any desire to do them again really.
 
Just kind of like yeah I just worry, like suddenly kind of not aware of where I am maybe and yeah just kind of. I’ve always been worried about kind of losing stuff like losing my wallet or whatever, phone or whatever.
 
Will this be something you will do again? I mean sort of...
 
I mean...
 
Try?
 
I can’t say I’ll never do it again but I have certainly no like desire I mean maybe yeah if I was like, been drinking quite a lot and maybe like if but I mean I have like, I have like no desire really. I mean I can’t say I’ll never do it again but I, yeah I mean if I, probably only be like very, like occasionally but I mean I could easily like never do it again because I didn’t really. I mean I didn’t really get anything out of it and yeah. 
 

Ben only went out at weekends when he was at school but started drinking more on his gap year;...

Ben only went out at weekends when he was at school but started drinking more on his gap year;...

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I remember when I was at school pretty it much, I mean I never went out on week nights really, only on weekends. And even then I wouldn’t like necessarily drink both nights of the weekend. Then once it came to like having a gap year that was probably when I started like drinking more than just on the weekends and certainly when you like travel well for a lot of people like me and [name] I don’t know if he mentioned we went to like South East Asia and like it’s a big kind of. Yeah it just one, like everything is sort of drink everywhere really cheap and sort of yeah special places like Thailand it’s kind of like everyone just like it’s some sort of a big party really. So that sort of like, yeah I guess the first time really kind of drinking like more than just the weekends I suppose. And then you sort of, yeah I guess maybe you’re in that kind of mindset once you sort of come back home and then go off to uni and sort of.
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