Archive for the 'Week in Review' Category

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, September 10th, 2010

The [CR] Week in Review is back this week – we have some events coming up on the calendar in early October, but we still have room in September if you’re organizing back-to-school alcohol awareness events. E-mail us if you’d like to bring a Choose Responsibility representative to your campus, and then check out the week’s headlines.

Stories this week:

Iowa City officials are watching the fallout from the new 21-only bar ordinance closely, and here are some of the early returns: last weekend, police citations for disorderly house reached double digits between Saturday morning and Sunday evening, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.

Speaking of Iowa City, Zach Wahls, a University of Iowa student, penned a passionate op-ed about the drinking age in the Daily Iowan. Here’s a sample: “we want to be treated like what we think we are and what the law tells us we are — responsible adults.”

More evidence from Annapolis, MD, that off-campus drinking is a source of headaches for university administrators and law enforcement: Frostburg State officials are enlisting landlords and real estate agents in the battle against toxic drinking, asking them to pass out brochures and literature to new tenants.

In other news…

The editors of the Gainesville Sun applauded the town-gown cooperation efforts between University of Florida administrators and local law enforcement, which have cut underage drinking arrests in half since 2007.

A group of 26 community coalitions in South Dakota has received a $1.4 million federal grant for alcohol prevention services, according to the Rapid City Journal. Check out the Journal report for the amounts that the groups in your area will receive.

In case you missed it, check out the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s story on the large gap that has emerged between parents’ expectations about their teens’ behavior and the actual drinking behaviors of that group.

Leave us a link in the comments if we missed something in this week’s round-up.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, August 20th, 2010

In case you missed it earlier this week, check out Mark Kleiman’s commentary and follow-up post about alcohol policy reform posted at The Atlantic. Some of his ideas about the drinking age are provocative, and we’d like to hear what you think in the comments. Once you’ve weighed in, check out the rest of these headlines.

Stories this week

As September approaches, many colleges and universities are making changes to their on-campus alcohol policies to try and stop the flood of early-semester binge drinking by incoming students before it begins: the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Winston-Salem Journal reported on changes to parental notification policy for alcohol violations at James Madison University and Wake Forest University, and the Des Moines Register outlined changes to tailgating rules at the University of Iowa. Meanwhile, Colby College announced that it will ban all liquor from campus dorms and parties.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed bill AB2486 into law this week. The new law will create civil liability for adults 21 and older who provide alcohol to underage drinkers killed or injured as a result of intoxication. Previous California law “protected adults 21 and up from civil suit if they knowingly provided alcohol that resulted in the injury or death of a young person.”

Speaking of social host legislation, Stephanie Raposo of The Patriot-News crafted a guide for parents that spells out the laws against serving underage drinkers in Pennsylvania. Does her portrait of a typical underage drinking party sound familiar? “Teens jumping out of windows, climbing over fences and running as fast as they can in a panic…”

In other news…

At, Amanda Gardner outlined a new study that explores the increased risk of stroke and heart attack for older binge drinkers who have high blood pressure.

Police officials and school administrators are gearing up for what some are calling the “first true test” of Iowa City’s recently-passed 21-only bar ordinance – the first weekend students have returned to campus.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Social host laws are becoming more popular as legislators search for ways to cut down on underage drinking, and this week, California took a step toward instituting a statewide social host law of its own. On Monday, the California Assembly voted 67-1 to send bill AB 2486, which imposes liability on adults who knowingly serve alcohol to underage drinkers, to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Leave your feedback on social host laws in the comments, and then check out the rest of these recent headlines.

Stories this week:

In case you missed it: Tom Keane made the provocative case for changing alcohol regulations, including the drinking age, in his Sunday essay for the Boston Globe magazine.

Charles Couger’s op-ed in the Lansing State Journal explores the unintended consequences of alcohol prohibition aimed at 18-20 year-olds, which he says lead to dangerous situations for underage drinkers who attempt to evade law enforcement.

Eric Hafner of Red Bank, NJ believes that New Jersey should extend alcohol purchase and consumption privileges to 18-20 year-olds who are non-drivers. What do you think?

In other news…

Rheyanne Weaver, an EmpowHER contributor, compiled a guide for female college students and their parents called “Alcohol Safety for Women in College.” Check it out for up-to-date statistics on binge drinking by female college students and descriptions of some collegiate alcohol education programs.

In Ontario Canada, where the drinking age is 19, local officials have instituted a new policy that intends to cut down on drunk driving by younger drivers. From now on, drivers under the age of 22 with “any measurable blood alcohol concentration above zero will be breaking the law and will have their licenses immediately suspended at the roadside for 24 hours. A $110 fine also will be imposed, under the new provisions, and drivers will be subject to a further license suspension of 30 days, if convicted in court.”

Send us a tip in the comments if we missed something with this week’s news round-up.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, July 30th, 2010

A new study by Toben Nelson of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health made some splashy headlines this week – he believes colleges and universities aren’t doing enough to combat alcohol abuse among students. His findings are based on colleges’ implementation rates of a 2002 set of NIAAA recommendations to reduce underage drinking. According to Inside Higher Ed, some experts are skeptical of Nelson’s findings, including Jim Turner of the National Social Norms Institute at the University of Virginia. Turner noted that the NIAAA recommendations, written 8 years ago, were based on older data that does not take into account the tremendous success of the social norms approach to alcohol education, which can affect “70- to 80-percent reductions of drunk driving and binge drinking” on campuses that use the social norms approach. Let us know what you think in the comments, and then check out the rest of this week’s headlines.

Stories this week:

After one month on the books, community leaders believe the early returns on Iowa City’s 21-only bar ordinance “look promising,” according to Lee Hermiston’s report for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Simple assault arrests, drunk driving charges, and cases of disorderly conduct are all down, but Police Sgt. Denise Brotherton cautioned residents not to put too much stock in these early numbers: “Just a month of stats is often too early to make a permanent decision about the effectiveness (of the ordinance).”

On Monday, the editors of the Washington Post criticized the Maryland state government for so far refusing to implement a dime-a-drink tax on alcohol to prevent looming deficits in the state’s budget. Some Post readers, including industry representatives, responded by making a case against such tax hikes. Maryland residents: where do you stand on this issue?

Sticking with DC-area items, WUSA-TV warned viewers about the binge drinking crisis among teens and college students by interviewing Ryan Smith of Virginia Tech’s Center for Applied Behavior Systems. Smith, who studies alcohol consumption among young adults, told WUSA about the hundreds of breathalyzer tests, instances of property damage, and cases of public intoxication that occur in Blacksburg every weekend. The Fairfax County Police Department will soon host their second community forum on binge drinking.

In other news…

Stephen Dubner of the New York Times “Freaknonomics” blog flagged a National Bureau of Economic Research study on rates of binge drinking and sexual activity among high school students. The study’s author, Jeffrey DeSimone, wrote, “binge drinking significantly increases participation in sex, promiscuity, and the failure to use birth control, albeit by amounts considerably smaller than implied by merely conditioning on exogenous factors.”

After hearing about New York’s tough new ignition interlock law that takes effect August 15, Jerry DeMarco of the Cliffview Pilot asked readers, “Should N.J. have ignition locks for DWI convicts?

Send us a news tip if we overlooked something in this week’s update.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

This week has been another scorcher here in Washington, and we’re looking forward to some cooler weather in the fall when [CR] representatives will be hitting the road to give presentations and participate in debates on college campuses. If you have an idea for an event you’d like to plan, please e-mail us, then catch up on the latest headlines.

Stories this week:

Make sure you read Michael Waxman’s “Maine Voices” commentary for the Portland Press Herald on the challenges posed by Legal Age 21, which was published on Monday.

Guam raised its drinking age to 21 this month, and we’ve already started to see some familiar headlines, including this one from the Pacific Daily News: “Enforcing New Law a Challenge.”

Toben Nelson of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health surveyed 351 colleges across the country and concluded that these schools are not doing enough to prevent binge drinking among students. Check out Tim Post’s report for Minnesota Public Radio to find out why.

In other news…

A new study on alcohol consumption trends across all age groups from 1992-2002 reveals that the percentage of people who drink is trending upward. Although the average number of drinks consumed per month remained steady over that period, the study did highlight a jump in the number of people who engaged in binge drinking at least once per month. Check out Denise Mann’s breakdown of the statistics for here. The study will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The Board of Trustees at Clemson University has asked the school to develop a more comprehensive plan to reduce toxic drinking among students, including the possibility of moving the Greek rush period to the spring term. Trustee Bill Amick told the Anderson Independent Mail, “The status quo will not be accepted. We can’t get a life back.”

Anita Kumar penned an in-depth report on Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s effort to privatize liquor sales in his state. McDonnell plans to roll out his plan for privatization in early August. Get the full story in last Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Are you looking for a way to beat the heat this summer while showing your support for the drinking age debate? We have some great summertime apparel choices in our [CR] Store, including hats and lightweight t-shirts, as well as water bottles. Check out what’s in stock and then catch up on these headlines:

Stories this week:

Philip Cook, ITT/Sanford Professor of Public Policy at Duke University, recently gave a presentation on the pros and cons of Legal Age 21 at the University’s College Student Drinking and Drug Use conference. Watch it here.

KTVB-TV and the University of Idaho Argonaut both have follow-up stories on the alcohol poisoning death of UI Senior Benjamin Harris earlier this week. When asked if the University could be doing more to prevent these types of incidents, Bruce Pitman, UI’s Dean of Students, said, “Certainly there may be another thing or two that we might be able to do, but I think we need to step back from this a bit and try to understand how we might be able to impact behavior that takes place off campus.”

Law enforcement officials are often forced to stretch their thin resources to contain the consequences of toxic drinking by young adults, and this week, one police official implored local residents to stop engaging in such behavior. After five separate incidents involving dangerously intoxicated young men who required medical attention, La Crosse, Wisconsin Police Chief Ed Kondracki said, “I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that serious injuries and death can result when binge drinking reaches the irresponsible and dangerous levels reached this past weekend. The police department does not have the resources to find and rescue drunks in such large numbers as was experienced this weekend.”

In other news…

Researchers at Loyola University Health System in Chicago have found that young adults who engage in binge drinking could be at much greater risk for developing osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life. Lead researcher John Callaci wrote, “Lifestyle-related damage done to the skeleton during young adulthood may have repercussions lasting decades.” The new study is published in the July-August issue of the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Penn State University President Graham Spanier has recommended to the school’s Board of Trustees that senior week, the typical celebration period between the conclusion of final exams and commencement ceremonies, be eliminated starting in 2012. Spanier made the recommendation in an attempt to cut down on the dangerous drinking that occurs when students have “nothing productive to do except frequent bars.” Megan Rogers, a staff writer for the PSU Collegian, noted that students don’t think the elimination of senior week will have an impact on heavy drinking and celebrations.

David DeWitte of KCRG-TV in Iowa filed a report on the economic impact of Iowa City’s 21-only bar ordinance, which some residents say is hurting local businesses. What do you think?

Send us a news tip in the comments if we missed something in this week’s update.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Thoughts of school may be far from your mind in the middle of July, but we’re busy making plans for campus presentations in late August and into the rest of the fall semester. If you’re interested in bringing a [CR] representative to your area to speak about the drinking age debate, please e-mail us. Then check out the rest of these headlines.

Stories this week:

The Gordie Foundation announced today that it will partner with the Center for Alcohol and Substance Education at the University of Virginia to create the Gordie Center for Alcohol and Substance Education (Gordie CASE).  UVA will become the new home of the foundation’s education programs. Check out the full announcement for more details.

Every five years, the USDA and the Health and Human Services Administration review their dietary guidelines for Americans, and this year’s Advisory Committee report contains a section on revising the guidelines for alcohol consumption, including new weekly rather than daily consumption guidelines. Join Together has more details on these proposed changes. You can submit comments to the USDA to send them your feedback – the deadline for public comment is July 15.

Administrators at Stanford University are so pleased with the results of the school’s implementation of AlcoholEdu that they will continue funding the program for another four years. Survey results showed that “49 percent of respondents said the material better prepared them to deal with alcohol at Stanford.” However, binge drinking is still a major concern on campus – Ralph Castro, the manager of the University’s substance abuse prevention program, said that 56% of students choose hard liquor when drinking. Castro suggested that these numbers indicate that pre-gaming is a common problem, and he also noted that “all of Stanford’s emergency room trips for alcohol poisoning involve hard liquor.”

In other news…

After a unanimous vote last week, acting Gov. Mike Cruz signed Bill 389 into law, which raises Guam’s drinking age to 21.  In response to the new law, Andersen Air Force base followed suit and raised its drinking age to 21 as well. The change comes without any additional licensing or education provisions, so we’ll be watching closely to see if problems of secretive binge drinking develop as they have among 18-20 year-olds here.

Earlier this week, Adam Marszal and Russell Taylor were sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading no contest to hazing charges related to the alcohol poisoning death of Cal Poly first-year Carson Starkey in December 2008. The San Luis Obispo Tribune profiled the incident and noted that after Starkey’s death, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the Carson Starkey Alcohol Awareness and Education Act into law, which added curricula on alcohol poisoning and binge drinking to Texas public schools.

Leave us a tip in the comments if we missed something in this week’s update.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

With the travel-heavy Independence Day holiday just around the corner, Choose Responsibility would like to remind our readers to drive safely on the roads this weekend and to use a designated driver if you choose to consume alcohol. Enjoy the long weekend, and check out these headlines before you kick off your barbecues and fireworks celebrations.

Stories this week:

Check out the reader contributions to the New York Times “Room for Debate” panel, “Teenage Drinking Diaries,” if you missed them on Monday.

Speaking of the New York Times, check out this post on the site’s “Wheels” blog which details a proposed spending increase for a government program to develop non-invasive ignition interlock technology that would be optional on new cars.

Residents of Iowa City may have an opportunity for a second city-wide vote on the recently-passed 21-only bar ordinance. According to Radio Iowa, the city council has two options: “It may decide to dump the ordinance which seeks to keep 18, 19 and 20 year olds out of bars or the city council may, again, place the matter before Iowa City voters and let residents decide whether bars in Iowa City should be accessible to 18, 19 and 20 year olds.” The Iowa City Press-Citizen has more on the 2 groups (Yes to Entertaining Students Safely and 21 Makes Sense) organizing on both sides of this debate.

In other news…

Chris Grygiel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer filed a detailed report on the debate over the privatization of liquor sales in Washington, including reactions from a Costco executive, the President of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and local union leaders.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel profiled Impact, Inc., a Wisconsin-based non-profit organization that provides “prevention, intervention and assessment services to help people pinpoint their underlying problem, get connected to immediate assistance and develop a plan of action to change their lives.”

Leave us a link in the comments if we missed something in this week’s update.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, June 25th, 2010

As summer heats up here in Washington, we’re busy making plans for next fall, and we need your help. In the coming months, we hope to build on the momentum that we gained as a result of S.R. 17’s passage in Vermont, but we won’t be able to do so without contributions from our dedicated volunteers. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to [CR] today to help support our mission as we continue spreading the word about the drinking age debate while navigating these difficult financial times. Once you’ve made your contribution, check out these headlines for the latest news from around the country.

Stories this week:

On Wednesday morning, Friends of Recovery Vermont hosted a gubernatorial debate about substance abuse issues at the Turning Point Center in Chittenden County. During the debate, candidates were asked to state their position on the issue of lowering the drinking age. Dennis Steele, an independent candidate, said that he supported lowering the drinking age. Some of the other candidates were split on the issue – read the full Rutland Herald report to find out what they said.

Stephanie Miller, a contributor to the Lansing State Journal, asked her readers to support S.B. 408, a bill in the Michigan Senate that would create amnesty provisions for underage drinkers who sought medical help for other drinkers who needed it. She wrote, “64 percent of Michigan State University students indicated they would hesitate before contacting 911 for an underage friend who has passed out from drinking. Evidence supports that some students are resistant to seeking help because of potential legal ramifications…Although each family in this community may not have a child, as members of this community, it is our responsibility to take action on the problems the state is facing and to keep our children safe. It is essential that our young ones can contact emergency services if needed without fear of having an MIP on their criminal record.”

On Tuesday, we alerted you to a debate about privatizing liquor sales in Washington, and the debate recently popped up in Virginia when Sen. Mark Warner told the editors of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “I don’t think the state should be in the liquor business.” Check out today’s issue of the Times-Dispatch to see what some of the paper’s contributors think about this idea.

In other news…

A new study from researchers at Brigham Young University found that certain parenting styles can have a positive impact on the likelihood that a young adult will engage in binge drinking. “The study’s key finding was that supervised, supported teens are less likely to engage in the more dangerous drinking behaviors, which have become a growing concern,” wrote Deseret News reporter Sara Israelsen-Hartley. The authors of the study, which is published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, said that those parenting styles most likely won’t influence the likelihood that young adults will experiment with alcohol, but those parenting styles will affect rates of extreme drinking.

This morning, the Associated Press reported that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a state law which strips convicted underage drinkers of their driver’s licenses, even when those offenses are not related to driving. The Supreme Court ruling overturns the ruling of a Clinton County trial court, which found that the law violated a driver’s due process rights. What do you think?

Leave us a news tip in the comments if we missed something in this week’s roundup.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, June 18th, 2010

This morning, the editors of the New York Times posted a new “Room for Debate” roundtable on social host legislation, and asked their group of panelists, “Should Parents Be Jailed When Kids Drink?” David Hanson, a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York – Potsdam, argued that social host laws can have dangerous unintended consequences: “Parents can prohibit drinking in their home and unintentionally drive their high schoolers to drink unsupervised in the woods, fields, older friends’ apartments, and who-knows-where-else. The results are sometimes driving while intoxicated and tragic alcohol-related crashes.” Marsha Rosenbaum of the Drug Policy Alliance expressed similar concerns: “When I ask young people about social host laws that eliminate the availability of parentally supervised homes where they can party, none say they’ll simply stop drinking. Instead, they say they’ll move the party to the street, the local park, the beach or some other public place. And they’ll get there by car.” What do you think? Check out the rest of the contributions from the panel of experts and then catch up on these headlines.

Stories this week:

Law enforcement officials occasionally recruit underage buyers to help them conduct compliance checks at bars and liquor stores. Last week, the New York Post conducted its own investigation of a group of local bars by sending a 20 year-old intern to buy drinks at establishments that had already been cited for serving underage drinkers in the last year. Check out the story to see what happened.

Ella Quittner of Time wrote about the rapid rise and recent fall of the “icing” trend that has spread across the country, and discussed the power that social media sites have to make these trends even more popular. She also linked to [CR] Board Member Barrett Seaman’s 2005 Time article called “How Binge Drinking Became the New College Sport” – read it if you haven’t had a chance.

Brittany Anas of the Boulder Daily Camera warned students to avoid the temptations of college summer orientation programs – last year, 15 incoming first-years violated the University of Colorado’s alcohol policy before they arrived on campus. In some cases, if a student is cited for underage drinking, he or she can be suspended for the fall semester before classes begin.

In other news…

Prevention officials in Missouri are concerned that state budget cuts which slashed funding for the state’s Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will leave law enforcement officials with too few tools to enforce Legal Age 21. After the cuts, 17 liquor control agents lost their jobs, leaving just five to monitor 12,000 license holders.

Administrators at the University of Arizona are teaming up with the Tuscon Police Department and local liquor store owners to develop a comprehensive approach to reduce underage drinking, including a keg tagging program, according to the Arizona Daily Wildcat. One UA student isn’t convinced that this measure will do much to reduce drinking except drive underage drinkers away from beer and toward liquor: “The person who is responsible for buying could not buy a keg, but something else. It might reduce keg sales, but I don’t think overall it will have the impact they want. It will just force kids to be creative and party somewhere else,” said Taylor Simmons. What do you think?

As always, leave us a link in the comments if we missed something in this week’s roundup.