Archive for April, 2010

Jamie Lee Curtis in the Huffington Post: “Blindsided by a Bottle”

Monday, April 5th, 2010

This morning, in an op-ed for the Huffington Post, actress and children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis reacted to the story of Matt James, a Notre Dame University football recruit who passed away last weekend after drinking heavily and falling from a fifth-floor hotel balcony while on Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida. She called her piece “Blindsided by a Bottle,” and asked, “is this truly what it means to be an educated young man or woman in today’s culture?” She then discussed some of the challenges posed by Legal Age 21, which prevents parents from taking an active role in educating their young adults about responsible consumption:

“I am a proud recovering alcoholic but I am not a proselytizer or prohibitionist. I am an alarmed member of the tribe. Here’s the conundrum. High school and colleges can’t really talk about drinking and counsel about it because it is illegal and it puts them subject to lawsuits if they discuss the safe and moderate consumption of alcohol. That means it is hidden, done in closed rooms, behind doors, to avoid being caught out in the social world with a bottle or cup of beer or liquor. They call it pre-gaming, consuming massive amounts of hard liquor in quick succession before heading out. It saves them money when they can buy liquor at clubs (where they give you little booze for mucho bucks ) when they get older and it saves them from being written up at school. Binge drinking is now a nationwide epidemic (PDFs). Student groups end up being the counselors because if adults talk about it they are liable.”

Check out the rest of her column and leave your feedback in the comments.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

As we mentioned earlier this week, a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that nearly 28% of 12-20 year-olds have consumed alcohol in the past month, which is a number that has not changed much in the past 10 years. Our current approach to alcohol education doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact, so it may be time to consider new alternatives. For more on what those alternatives could look like, check out this week’s headlines:

Stories this week:

Upper Arlington, Ohio attorney Brad Koffel has represented hundreds of underage students who have been prosecuted for a minor in possession violation, and he has concluded that our approach to alcohol education is broken: “We have become a nation so obsessed with ‘zero tolerance’ that we are failing to adopt simple precautions that can prevent dangerous decisions that might harm our kids forever.” What do you think?

The editors of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis criticized the state legislature for trying to micromanage the University of Minnesota’s alcohol sales policy at TCF Stadium. They believe the University should be allowed to determine its own policies. What’s your take on this debate?

If you missed Karin Kasdin’s great column in The Faster Times about the challenges posed by Legal Age 21, check it out here.

In other news…

The AlcoholEdu program for incoming first-years at Kansas University is having a positive effect on student binge drinking, according to Jesse Fray’s report in the Lawrence Journal-World. The program indicated that after taking the course, students were more likely to set limits on their consumption, play fewer drinking games, and closely monitor how much alcohol is in their system.

In other news from KU, a class of 34 journalism students will tour college campuses nationwide in search of the most effective anti-binge drinking campaigns and campus alcohol policies. Bob Basow, the course’s instructor, told the Journal-World, “We’re delighted to be working on something that’s going to so directly benefit KU. A culture of responsible drinking will enable students to have a good time and enjoy the vibrant social atmosphere (but) there won’t be negative consequences.”

Until recently, those stationed on the Guam naval base between the ages of 18 and 20 were allowed to consume alcohol, but Naval Base Guam policy has now been changed so that on-base consumption is prohibited for this age group. Navy personnel age 18-20 can still purchase and consume alcohol while not on base, since the drinking age in Guam is 18. Navy officials said the change was made to bring the Guam base’s policy in line with the policies in all other states and territories. What do you think will be the consequences of this change?

If we missed something in this week’s update, send us a link in the comments.