It's not a word used very often, and when it is, the relevance is rarely on point. But, when you are in a group of mates, out for the night and getting loaded on alcohol (because that's the way its done nowadays), and you dump one of your friends because he or she is too drunk - that's abandonment.
I don't mean dropping them somewhere safe and warm to sleep it off; I'm talking about so-called friends who simply leave their drunken mate on a bus, in a taxi... or even worse, on the street. Shockingly, the vast majority of those I've attended in this situation are female. I'd always considered girls to be more protective about their friends, but suddenly at some point in the night, all of the close-knit, protective posturing goes out of the window because one of the group is too drunk to manage any longer. She can't walk to the next club or bar. She is vomiting too much, or she is practically unconscious and a dead weight on the night's proceedings.
A few years ago I was called to a young teenager who was found by a male passer-by in a doorway in the early hours of the morning during a weekend. She was curled up, half dressed and with vomit in her hair on the step of an office building entrance. When I got her awake and she was able to speak to me, she told me that her friends her left her and she'd tried to get a cab home alone. She'd thrown up in the back of the taxi and the driver had thrown her out. She'd staggered over to the step and curled up to sleep.
This young girl's temperature was hypothermic as I recall. She wouldn't have died but she was extremely vulnerable and at risk. You just have to watch what goes on in Leicester Square every weekend night to realise what a dangerous situation lone young girls are in. Men prey on them openly, pawing at them and trying to get them to go with them to God knows where. This young girl was far enough away from the hub of things to be invisible to those vultures but not necessarily safe from harm.
As it happened a young man called 999 when he saw her lying there. He didn't touch her, and he didn't try to wake her - he didn't want to frighten her.
The most recent call (and there have been dozens prior to this) was for a young woman who'd been left on a bus by her friends. They'd gone off to enjoy themselves without the responsibility she'd burdened them with when she got too drunk to be capable of anything any longer.
She was seen asleep on the bus and taken off by a complete stranger. This man sat her on the bench of a bus shelter and called an ambulance for her. She didn't really need to go to hospital but his reasoning was simple; she was alone and vulnerable.
So, I'm appealing to you if you are someone who'd drop a friend on a night out just because you want to continue and he or she is not fit to do so. Stop and consider what you are risking. Leaving your mate behind, alone and exposed, is not clever. Parts of London are not safe for lone young females (or males for that matter). Please think about the possible consequences of abandoning someone to their fate.
If you prefer to complete your night out and don't want your friend to drag you down, then consider monitoring how much and how quickly they drink. Warn them before they get too far into it that everyone's night will be ruined if they get so drunk that they cannot function.
A lot of our workload is taken up with this, because alcohol is consumed like water and I'm seeing more and more young females 'unconscious' in the street, or in the toilets, or on the floor of a club.
Please look after yourselves. Don't be stupid and stay well away from the drink-fast-drink-lots fad that seems to be sweeping the country. Be sensible with your drinking and keep it paced and measured.