Archive for May, 2009

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, May 29th, 2009

[CR] President John McCardell is on the west coast this week, as he’s preparing to participate in a debate about the legal drinking age at the American College Health Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco. If you’re a [CR] volunteer in the San Francisco area and you see coverage of the event in the local media, send us a news tip on Twitter @CResponsibility. Here’s the latest rundown of this week’s headlines:

Stories this week:

Alex Koroknay-Palicz, the Executive Director of the National Youth Rights Association, will appear on VoiceAmerica’s “One Hour at a Time with Mary Woods” on Monday, June 1 at 3:00 PM EST. He’ll be discussing the issue of lowering the legal drinking age. You can listen to the show and download an .mp3 of the segment after it airs here.

In Thursday’s issue of North By Northwestern, Jason Plautz looked back on the alcohol-related death of Northwestern student Matthew Sunshine and asked, “Drinking was the biggest factor in Sunshine’s death, but did Northwestern’s drinking policy play a role? Would it have happened if, like Yale, Northwestern had a medical amnesty policy?”

On a related note, we blogged about the Red Watch Band program that was launched at SUNY Stony Brook in response to Sunshine’s death a few weeks ago, and the group has now launched its own website. Visit them for more information about how to bring the program to your campus.

New Jersey has considered many different legislative solutions to the issue of binge drinking recently, and the editors of the Press of Atlantic City weighed in with their take earlier in the week. They believe “lowering the drinking age should be part of any legitimate review of the problem of underage drinking.”

In other news…

NPR offered its listeners some advice on keeping young adults safe during prom and graduation season with a segment called “Keeping Teens Sober at Prom with Science” on the Monday edition of Talk of the Nation.

Marlon Mundt of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Family Medicine has published a new study on collegiate binge drinking in the upcoming September issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Mundt’s group of researchers found that college-age binge drinkers who scored high on a thrill-seeking disposition test were five times more likely to be injured in an alcohol-related accident than their peers.

If you missed it, check out the Missoulian‘s four part series on binge drinking, drunk driving, and the problems caused by the drinking culture in Montana (1, 2, 3, 4).

Have we missed something in this week’s update? Let us know in the comments.

Missoulian: Changing the Drinking Culture in Montana

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

This week, Michael Jamison of The Missoulian wrote a four-part series about the drinking culture in Montana and new local efforts to combat binge drinking and drunk driving. In his introductory piece, Jamison outlined some of the recent problems the state has experienced relating to alcohol. In Part Two, he dealt with the issue of reckless alcohol consumption by underage drinkers (Brenda Simmons of the Montana Community Change Project summed up the issue by saying, “Kids don’t sit down and have a beer and watch the game. They drink to get drunk – they binge drinkā€). Part Three featured interviews with local bar owners who have collaborated with government officials to end the practice of underage drinkers using fake IDs to buy alcohol. Jamison’s final installment makes a compelling case for the use of ignition interlock devices to keep drunk drivers off the highways.

Read through all four parts if you’re interested in getting a local perspective on the issue. Does your community face similar problems? Would you like to see some new approaches to alcohol policy and alcohol education? Let us know in the comments.

Press of Atlantic City: MLDA Debate Needed

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Following the long holiday weekend, the editors of the Press of Atlantic City offered their advice for the New Jersey Task Force on Underage Drinking in Higher Education and expressed support for a debate about the minimum legal drinking age. They urged the Task Force to throw its support behind New Jersey Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini’s medical amnesty bill, and also wrote, “lowering the drinking age should be part of any legitimate review of the problem of underage drinking.” Read the rest of the editorial here.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

If you plan on traveling for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, please remember that this weekend kicks off one of the more dangerous periods of the year for drunk driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes. NHTSA’s “100 Days of Summer” campaign focuses on the season beginning with Memorial Day, continuing through the 4th of July, and ending with Labor Day, and is intended to make travelers aware of the dangers of impaired driving. Check out NHTSA’s fact sheet on the “100 Days of Summer” campaign to learn more, and please remember that if you do choose to celebrate these holidays with alcohol, do so responsibly and use a designated driver. To kick off the holiday weekend, here are the latest headlines about [CR] from around the country:

Stories this week:

The Roanoke Times featured a number of different articles to kick off their “Under 21” series this week. Check out Editor Carole Tarrant’s preview, Greg Esposito’s first installment in the series, and the Timeseditorial to get caught up.

Mary Bassett wrote about the drinking age and the issue of personal responsibility in the Orange County Register’s “Orange Grove” section. She believes the drinking age should be lowered to 18, but also that students need to “take responsibility for knowing our personal limitations and accepting consequences.”

Check out Lewis Prest’s letter to the editor in a recent edition of the Erie Times-News, in which he points out one of the major hurdles to open debate about Legal Age 21: the federally-imposed highway funding penalty that’s attached to the minimum legal drinking age.

Can you guess which country’s cabinet recently voted to make the legal drinking age 18? Click here for the answer. Licensing and alcohol education are important, and though we’d prefer that this change included those provisions, we certainly agree with the arguments that this nation’s Attorney General made about the age of majority. (Hat tip to [CR] Twitter follower @dleising for sending us the link. Got a news story we need to hear about? Tweet it to us @CResponsibility!)

In other news…

Jami Brinton of KCRG-TV reported on the continued conversations about binge drinking in Iowa City, and noted that University administrators and local officials are having difficulty finding new solutions to the area’s binge drinking problem.

PolitickerNJ reported Thursday that the New Jersey State Senate has unanimously approved legislation to create a task force examining best practices for curbing underage and binge drinking. The task force will examine a wide range of policies, and it aims to create consistency among New Jersey’s colleges and universities. Check out the details and let us know what you think.

Also from New Jersey: Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini’s medical amnesty bill for underage drinkers who require medical assistance received unanimous support in the General Assembly, and the bill now awaits action in the Senate.

Did we miss something this week? Leave us a link in the comments, and enjoy the weekend.

Roanoke Times Editorial: Prohibition Isn’t Working

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Following up on some earlier articles on the drinking age debate this week, the Roanoke Times editorial board weighed in with its opinion in Wednesday’s paper. The editors were blunt in saying that this debate is needed: “prohibition isn’t working.” In order to combat binge drinking successfully, they believe “society needs to take a sober look at the problem and be open to ways to minimize the abuse, even if that means lowering the drinking age.” Check out the rest of the editorial and let us know what you think.

NIH: Prevention programs curb effects of genetic risks

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

A recent study conducted at the University of Georgia and supported by the National Institutes of Health found that family-based education and prevention programs for early adolescents could help curb the effects of a genetic risk factor known to be associated with binge drinking. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Child Development, but you can read about the details of the study here.

Roanoke Times Series on Legal Age 21

Monday, May 18th, 2009

This week, the Roanoke Times will publish a series of articles on the legal drinking age, with a specific focus on binge drinking among the college population in Virginia. Times editor Carole Tarrant previewed the series today – she wrote, “We are neither for nor against a lowered drinking age. However, we feel the issue extends beyond campus boundaries and into the Southwest Virginia communities where college students reside and socialize.” To kick things off, you can read Greg Esposito’s first installment, called “A Debate for the Ages.”

UPDATE: Post edited to correct Carole Tarrant’s title – thanks to our commenters for pointing out the error.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Thanks to all of our volunteers and supporters who have followed us on Twitter since we launched our account last week. In the coming months, we hope to continue expanding our Twitter community so that we can hear from you. Do you have questions about [CR]? Do you need more volunteer materials to give to your friends and colleagues? Are you interested in bringing a [CR] representative to a college campus for a presentation? Let us know @CResponsibility. Here are the latest headlines on binge drinking and the legal drinking age from across the country:

Stories this week:

Joe Carr wrote an Op-Ed in Sunday’s edition of the Colorado Daily about Legal Age 21 – he thinks the law is unfair and dangerous.

The debate over the legal drinking age received front-page attention in this week’s issue of the City on a Hill Press, a student publication at the University of California Santa Cruz.

If you’re interested in learning more about recent developments in the study of alcoholism, check out the New York Times interview with NIAAA Treatment and Recovery Research Director Mark Willenbring on the Times‘ “Consults” blog.

In other news…

Organizers at the Pimlico Race Course in Maryland have instituted some new policies that are intended to curb the violence associated with binge drinking that occurs on the infield at the Preakness Stakes each year. Last year, there were 6 arrests and 126 ejections from the event. Excessive drinking has also led to “bloody fights,” “full beers being smashed on foreheads,” and “people sliding headfirst into coolers.”

Researchers in the U.K. will publish a new study in the journal Alcohol & Alcoholism that binge drinking could be partially responsible for as many as 1 in 4 cases of dementia, and that heavy drinkers may begin to suffer serious memory problems as early as their 40s. Check out the research summary at MSN’s Daily Dose.

Did you read Rachel Durfee’s article on “Cyber Millenials” and binge drinking earlier this week? It’s available here if you missed it.

As always, send us a link in the comments if you have a news tip.

Cyber Millenials and Binge Drinking

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

A new study using data from the CDC and surveys from the NIAA indicates that “Cyber Millennials” (young, affluent college graduates living in urban areas) are likely to engage in dangerous levels of binge drinking despite being otherwise health-conscious. According to Rachel Durfee of Popular Science, “authors of the study suggest that the high drinking rates are carrying over from the late teen and college years, where drinking rates are known to be out of control.” Without a proper alcohol education program in place, Legal Age 21 drives drinking underground, and those behaviors can cause problems well after graduation.

“Red Watch Band” Program at Stony Brook University

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Earlier this week, Newsday‘s Karla Schuster spoke with several students and administrators at Stony Brook University about a new alcohol education program called “Red Watch Band.” The program teaches students about the signs of alcohol poisoning, covers basic CPR techniques, and creates role-playing exercises that prepare students to call for medical assistance. When asked about the problems associated with alcohol abuse on college campuses, Stony Brook president Shirley Strum Kenny said, “it really doesn’t help to only tell young people they shouldn’t drink. This is a very different thing. It’s ‘Here’s how to keep your friend from dying.’ Optimally, it will have the effect of helping students understand what a toxic level of drink is.”