Although most of us could guess the outcome of this research before reading it — a Swiss study found that young adults who get wasted, before they go out to get wasted end up experiencing more frequent blackouts, unprotected sex, unplanned drug use or even injury.
Pre-drinking, (pre-funking, pre-gaming, pre-loading, frontloading) involves chugging cheap alcoholic beverages before hitting the bars and night clubs. According to an LA Times article pre-funking is common among 65%-75% of college age youth.
The study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, shows that pre-funking leads people to drink twice as much alcohol and subjects them to risky behavior.
This comes with “adverse consequences” since pre-drinkers are more likely to have blackouts, hangovers or alcohol poisoning. On average, students who drank only at a bar or an event consumed just over four drinks while pre-drinking students consumed seven drinks, according to the study.
Florian Labhart, a researcher at Addiction Switzerland shared some of the results of the study which followed 183 young adults. Those who pre-funked experienced a hangover (40.7 percent men, 36.1 percent women), unplanned substance use (20.9 percent and 12.4 percent), blackouts (11.6 percent and 7.2 percent), unintended or unprotected sexual intercourse (8.1 percent and 5.2 percent), injured self or someone else (5.8 percent and 3.1 percent), and property damage or vandalism (3.5 percent and 0.0 percent).
Labhart also adds that since “pre-drinking leads people to consume nearly twice the normal amount of alcohol on a given night, its prevalence should not be underestimated from a public-health perspective.”
“Reasons given for pre-drinking include saving money, getting in the mood for partying, becoming intoxicated and socializing with friends or facilitating contacts with potential sexual partners,” the authors wrote.
So the next time you decide to go out after frontloading, researchers suggest that you count the number of drinks you’ve had, pace yourself and avoid drinking games and the dreaded beer funnel.