Researchers develop an app to curb the prevalence of binge-drinking

We've all been there; you've a big day ahead and yet word is quickly spreading in your favourite WhatsApp group that a session is on the agenda.

After telling yourself you'll take it easy, you head out for drinks certain that you'll manage to tear yourself away from the banter at a reasonable hour while still steady on your pins.

Then the craic really gets going.

And with next to no effort you manage to massively reduce the importance of the following day, and opt instead to launch yourself into the session with all the enthusiasm of Frank the Tank.

This apparent inability to limit alcohol intake has been recognised by VicHealth, which has spent $300,000 on a trial project which seeks to guide university students and ultimately reduce the number of individuals binge-drinking on a  regular basis.

The medical research organisation at the Burnet Institute have created an app which essentially acts as a 'cyber parent' and requires the individual to consider the implications of their drinking habits.

The idea of the app is that it is interactive," said designer and developer Dr Megan Lim. "You register with the app and then [set it] saying which night you might be going out."

"On that particular night, at 6:00pm, you will get a message asking you to take a survey," she continued. "The survey will ask students questions like: "Do you have work tomorrow?", or "What time do you intend on going home?"

After recording the answers to these questions, the app will send helpful suggestions and reminders throughout the evening including "You have spent more than you wanted to tonight" or "Don't forget you have an exam at 8:00am tomorrow."

"Reducing the social acceptability of risky drinking is key to changing young people's behaviour – we want uni students to understand you don't have to get drunk to have a good time," opined Jerril Rechter, VicHealth's CEO,.

The app is not yet available to the public, and while we applaud the initiative we wonder how many people will properly engage with the process.