Archive for September, 2008

Highest Binge Drinking in 21-25 year-olds

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, which took place from 1993-2001, found that twenty-one to 25 year-olds have the highest rates of binge drinking. Eighteen to 20 year-olds have the second highest rates. . . further evidence that the 21 year-old drinking age exacerbates abusive drinking, if nominally reducing overall consumption.

Repeal Day in Vermont and Colorado

Friday, September 26th, 2008

On this day in 1933, the Vermont and Colorado legislatures both ratified the repeal of prohibition. [CR]’s repeal section details the history of prohibition in both states – Vermont’s status as a border state saddled it with unique enforcement challenges, and Colorado often dealt with violence while upholding the law. The Rutland Herald published a commentary about Vermont’s repeal anniversary in yesterday’s edition. If you’re a resident of Colorado or Vermont, raise a glass today to the repeal of prohibition in your home state!

Campus Crackdowns and the Amethyst Initiative

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

In today’s edition of BC Heights, the independent student newspaper of Boston College, columnist Adam Feeney made note of the cool reception that BC’s new campus alcohol policy has received from students. Feeney addressed the mixed messages that our culture sends to young adults, and argued that drinking is punished in some cases and sanctioned in others. He asked, “Enforcement of laws is natural in order to provide a safer environment, but at what point does stricter enforcement backfire and cause a dangerous rerouting of behavior so as to continue the status quo without being caught?” The Amethyst Initiative is designed to address exactly that question, and to provide a forum for unique solutions to a dangerous and growing problem. Contrary to what many detractors allege, the Amethyst signatories are not trying to shirk their responsibilities – the University of Maryland is an Amethyst signatory, and the school’s recent series of successful late-night, alcohol-free events is evidence that these presidents want to address the issue in different ways. “My main goal for this event was to provide alternative late-night activities for students who are looking for something to do on a Friday night with friends that doesn’t involve alcohol,” said Katie Marzocca, an Assistant Director in Maryland’s Campus Recreation Services office. Maryland is just one of a number of Amethyst schools that are getting creative with programming in order to combat binge drinking and dangerous behavior. As Feeney said, crackdowns on alcohol consumption are band-aids that don’t address the root of the problem, and the Amethyst Initiative offers an outlet for more creative solutions.

Parents Required at HS Football Game

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Yesterday, reported that Lincoln-Sudbury (MA) High School administrators responded to an underage drinking incident at last week’s football game by instituting a new policy – for tonight’s game, students who want to attend the game must be accompanied by a parent. The policy increases parental involvement in their students’ exposure to alcohol, and perhaps more importantly illustrates the limits that law enforcement officials face in trying to crack down on underage drinking. Boston-area radio station WBUR spoke with Lincoln-Sudbury Superintendent and Principal Jon Ritchie today, and the audio of that interview is available here. MADD Massachusetts spokesman David Diolis reacted to the story by saying, “I think that the important thing that’s happening here is that they’re raising a dialogue, and they’re also raising awareness among the teen’s parents that perhaps there’s a problem. Often times parents are the last ones to know that their teens are drinking or that they perhaps they even have a problem with alcohol.” As Diolis suggested, parents are often in the dark about their young adults’ drinking habits – and the current alcohol laws prohibit these parents from taking proactive steps to help their students learn responsible habits. Why not involve parents earlier, before students drink in dangerous situations and away from supervision?

Young Adults, Iraq, and the Drinking Age

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

On Monday, Chuck Goudie of the Chicago-area Daily Herald noted that 1/3 of the soldiers who have been killed in Iraq are members of the 18-21 age group. To date, approximately 4,200 US soldiers have died, meaning about 1,400 of them were 21 or younger. Additionally, according to a 2005 report on US Army demographics, over 16% of active-duty service members are under the age of 21. Young adults serve the country in large numbers every day, and some of them sacrifice their lives in doing so – why does prohibition make sense for them?

Read the rest of Goudie’s column here.

An Award For The Amethyst Initiative

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

The Amethyst Initiative has received a lot of press in the past few weeks, and now the awards are rolling in. On September 5th, [CR] Director John McCardell accepted the 2008 WCTU Millstone Award on behalf of the Amethyst Initiative. Three representatives from the WCTU were nice enough to stop by the [CR] offices to present the award. Read more about it here.

Testimonial #4

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

“As the father of 11- and 13-year old girls, I am trying to educate my daughters about the distinction between enjoying and abusing alcohol, and the dangers of drinking and driving. I applaud your approach. (Of course, I don’t have my girls drinking yet, save for the sip of the ceremonial Kiddish wine at our Shabbas table on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.)”Similarly, we should educate youth as to the distinction between the use and abuse of at least some of the drugs that are now illegal despite their low potential for harm, e.g., marijuana in particular, and arguably the psychedelics. Used properly and in moderation, such drugs can be valuable aids to relaxation, increased self-awareness, and sensual enjoyment. By teaching kids about the proper use of the relatively benign drugs, we may be able to keep them away from the clearly dangerous ones (e.g., crystal meth., crack cocaine, heroin.).

“It is my understanding that Britain has far more lenient laws than the U.S. regarding teen drinking. I’d be curious how the teen drunk-driving rate compares.

“Keep up the good work. It’s time for American to move away from its Puritanical approach to booze, drugs, and sex, and to view these subjects realistically, i.e., as legitimate adult activities. We teach our teens how to do advanced math, drive cars, and fill out college applications. It’s time we teach them practical adult skills like how to enjoy alcohol, drugs, and sex safely and responsibly.”

Mark, Attorney at Law