Archive for April, 2009

E.R. Series Finale Addresses Binge Drinking

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The producers of the long-running NBC show “E.R.” decided to base last week’s series finale on the story of Shelby Allen, a young adult who died of alcohol poisoning last December. In the final episode, “And in the End, Part 1 & 2,” doctors treated a teenager who had been playing drinking games for alcohol overdose. More and more people are becoming aware that binge drinking is a growing problem, and this episode showed that it needs to be treated as a serious issue with wide-ranging consequences.

You can visit Join Together for more details, and be sure to checkout Shelby’s Rules, the non-profit organization founded by Shelby’s parents that aims to educate young adults about the dangers of binge drinking and the signs of alcohol poisoning.

MSU Health Educator: Lower The Drinking Age

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Dennis Martel, Health Education Services Coordinator at Michigan State University’s Olin Health Center, talked about his views on the legal drinking age with reporter Robin Erb in the weekend edition of the Detroit Free Press. Martel said that Legal Age 21 encourages underground drinking and “creates a dangerous situation for young people who do decide to drink.” He believes that a lower drinking age could be part of the solution to the growing problem of binge drinking by young adults. What do you think of his comments?

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and if you’re interested in learning more about the problems associated with binge drinking, you can visit the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Alcohol Awareness Month site, and the Department of Defense’s new Military Health System site on alcohol abuse aimed at members of the armed forces. To kick off Alcohol Awareness Month, you can check out the latest stories on binge and underage drinking from around the country:

Stories this week:

Steven Liga, Executive Director of the Middlesex County, New Jersey chapter of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, commented on the legal drinking age a few weeks ago, saying, “The discussion needs to be held openly and with respect for both sides of the issue.”  NCADD Middlesex followed up on those comments by hosting an open forum on the legal drinking age at Rutgers University last night, with [CR] board member Barrett Seaman there to offer his thoughts on the advantages of a change in the legal drinking age.

WHAM-TV in Rochester, NY reported that three men at will be charged with criminally negligent homicide in connection with the alcohol poisoning death of 19-year old student Arman Partamian on March 1. Two of them are current students at the University, and one was visiting the campus at the time of Pantarian’s death. The charges are an unusual step in these types of cases, but Livingston County District Attorney Tom Moran told WHAM he is determined to stop binge drinking: “I am tired and saddened each and every time I have to call a student’s parent and tell them they’re either sick or they’re dead,” he said.

In a related story, the editors of The Lamron, the student newspaper at Geneseo State, reacted to the news of Pantarian’s death and Moran’s comments by noting that a crackdown on underage drinking is unlikely to work: “Students binge drink now because they can’t legally drink in moderation; by reducing access to alcohol, how will we learn to drink responsibly, socially and carefully? We won’t. It would be wiser to promote safe drinking habits instead of making alcohol the forbidden fruit.”

[CR] President John McCardell was asked to weigh in on the issue of binge drinking at Geneseo State by WBEN-AM Buffalo’s Steve Cichon. Listen to Dr. McCardell’s comments here.

Butler University President Bobby Fong participated in a forum on the Amethyst Initiative hosted by the University’s Alpha Chi Lambda fraternity earlier this week. “In the long run, we must take a more coherent approach to alcohol,” Fong said.

In other news…

Read about some new statistics on binge drinking released by the Centers for Disease Control in Thursday’s edition of HealthDay News at the U.S. News and World Report.

University of Iowa Professor Emeritus Peter Nathan has been selected to head the University’s 23-member Alcohol Steering Committee, and The Daily Iowan reported that Nathan believes “focusing on curbing excessive drinking without concentrating on prohibition or underage drinking is a more important and realistic problem.” Nathan has spent 40 years studying the effects of alcohol, including two years as the Senior Health Program Officer at the MacArthur Foundation -what do you think of his approach?

Medical amnesty laws which are intended to prevent harm to underage drinkers continue to grow in popularity – earlier in the week, we took note of a new medical amnesty bill up for consideration in Michigan, while Maine Campus columnist Madeline Glover called on the Maine state legislature to consider similar policies. Glover wrote, “We need to come together as a university, town and student body to take a renewed look at underage alcohol consumption and more importantly, how to encourage safety.”

Did you see another story on binge drinking this week that you think we should know about? Send us the link in the comments.