Archive for June, 2010

Experts Debate Binge Drinking at ACHA Meeting

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Last week, the American College Health Association held its annual meeting, and student alcohol use was a major topic of discussion according to Jennifer Epstein of Inside Higher Ed. Problems such as binge drinking and other negative alcohol-related behaviors were heavily debated among attendees at the meeting. Edward P. Ehlinger, chief health officer at the University of Minnesota’s Boynton Health Center, made the bold claim that college administrators cannot significantly reduce underage and binge drinking alone. He suggested that businesses and government should join colleges in a collaborative effort to improve what he called a societal problem that goes above and beyond minimum age laws:

“We have a whole bunch of efforts going on over the last 10 to 15 years. What have been the results? The numbers have stayed about the same. We need to be humble about the fact we don’t know what the heck we’re doing and we need to do something different.”

While Ehlinger was critical of the Amethyst Initiative, he did acknowledge that college presidents  face serious challenges that prevent them from solving this problem on their own. . He advocated sweeping changes to off-campus alcohol policies, including increased taxes and restrictions on advertising.

Will the punitive measures that Ehlinger promotes change the way students think about alcohol, or are other solutions, such as education and licensing, more viable?

TJ Maxx Pulls Drinking Games From Store Shelves

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Via Join Together, we learned today that the retail chain TJ Maxx has pulled a variety of controversial drinking games from its stores in response to concerns from prevention officials. Beverly Beckham, a Boston Globe reporter, noticed drinking game versions of Bingo, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Checkers on the shelves of a store in Concord, NH, and contacted the company to warn them that the games were placed on shelves next to graduation and Father’s Day gifts.

The retailer immediately pledged to remove the games from its stores, and Beckham commended the company in her follow-up article:

“The company certainly could have delayed pulling them off the shelves, hemming and hawing for a month or two until most were sold and the company had made a nice profit.

But this corporation, which also owns Marshalls, Home Goods, and A.J. Wright, and operates 2,600 stores worldwide, immediately took the high road, and within 24 hours pledged to remove these products from its stores.”

In 2007, other retailers such as Target and Kohl’s removed similar games from their shelves, but only after a series of public protests and negative letter-writing campaigns.

Are these types of drinking games being sold in your community? Let us know in the comments.

San Diego News Network Columnist: “The Failure of Legal Age 21”

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Just before the long weekend, Marsha Sutton, the Education Editor for the San Diego News Network, described what she called the failures of Legal Age 21 for parents, educators, and young adults. In her latest column, she wrote, “It’s time we took a fresh look at the youth culture that embraces binge drinking, which can lead to alcoholism, serious medical conditions, date rape, drunk driving and death.”

She concluded by noting that the federal funding penalties attached to the drinking age inhibit meaningful debate about this public health problem and also prevent parents from educating their young adults about responsible drinking:

“It’s not the government’s place to be inserting itself into our kitchens and dining rooms, telling parents how we can or cannot educate our children about the acceptable role of moderate alcohol consumption, when the government itself refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem and continues with laws that make no sense.

We have utterly failed to protect our children from this insidiously cavalier attitude toward alcohol in our society, and it’s well past time we stopped pretending we are addressing the issue with any effectiveness.”

Check out the rest of her column and let us know what you think.