[CR] Week in Review

As many college students prepare for Spring Break in the coming days, it’s important to be mindful of the dangers of binge drinking. Scott Walters, Ph.D., associate professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus, told Newswise that “the average student drinks three times as much during spring break as he or she would during a normal weekend.” [CR] would like to remind everyone to drink responsibly if you choose to do so, and to always make use of a designated driver.  Here’s the latest edition of the [CR] Week in Review to keep you up to date on the news from around the country:

Stories this week:

Reason Senior Editor Radley Balko posted some comments on our recent 60 Minutes appearance on his blog. Check them out here.

Add Madison Eagle “Eyes Left” columnist George Stafford to the list of people who are calling for a national debate about the legal drinking age. He pulled no punches in discussing our current alcohol education strategies: “We practice neglect when it comes to alcohol…it’s time to put the ideological scripts and talking points aside and have each side contribute to a constructive national debate. ”

Cassandra Keyse of Cal Poly’s Mustang Daily wrote a column this week about some lessons she learned when she turned 21. She wrote, “I have accepted my right to buy and consume alcohol, but haven’t exercised it since that night because simply, the mystique and excitement are gone.”

Law enforcement officials in Providence, Rhode Island are considering a fresh approach to the problem of alcohol-related violence that occurs after bar closing times. Gregory Smith of the Providence Journal wrote this week, “thousands of people from Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts surge into the area every weekend, and at 2 a.m. closing time they pour back onto the streets. Fights, a traffic jam and other trouble erupt.” A new proposal would extend bar hours to 3 AM, but prohibit the serving of alcohol during that extra hour. The concept, according to area officials, would allow bar patrons extra time to leave so that the likelihood of violence decreases. What do you think about this idea?

In other news…

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) launched a new website this week called “Rethinking Drinking,” which, according to NIAAA Division of Treatment and Recovery Research Director Mark Willenbring, “isn’t meant to promote abstinence.  It doesn’t demonize alcohol. In fact, it even points out that light to moderate drinking on a regular basis can lower the risk for heart disease for some.”

Mary Beth Marklein of USA Today wrote about a new survey that compares college students’ study habits to their drinking habits. The numbers don’t look good – first-years spend 10.2 hours per week drinking alcohol, compared to 8.4 hours per week studying.

The New York Times covered a developing trend in alcohol advertising that focuses on moderation and safe behavior. What do you think – can this new trend help cut down on alcohol abuse?

Speaking of the New York Times, the editors of the “Economix” blog wrote a posted an informative map of drinking ages around the world.

The D.C. government is considering a change to their drivers’ licenses for residents under the age of 21. Critics say the proposed changes could unintentionally boost underage alcohol sales. What do you think?

Did we miss anything this week? Leave us a note in the comments.

3 Responses to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Edwin Says:

    To change the drinking age to 18, which is required to recognize the age of majority, it’s time to close away ideological views. In addition, although alcohol abuse is very prevelant for those 18-20, alcohol advertisers are doing the correct thing by focusing on moderation. Although D.C. is considering changing driver’s license for those under 21 to make them vertical, they won’t boost underage drinking. Finally, the drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with the alcohol education program.

  2. Michael Says:

    Three things I’d like to mention.

    First, is the proposal to make closing for bars at 3am. I can’t necessarily agree with this unless it’s completely voluntary on part of the bar. Bars mainly profit from liquor sales, and by 2am the kitchens are usually closed. If bars are kept open for another hour without being able to sell anything, they will simply be losing money to all the overhead required to keep the bar running. Although it has good intentions, we can’t simply implement it at the expense of bar owners and their employees.

    Second, although the NIAAA’s site has some interesting information, I wouldn’t necessarily agree 100% with Mark Willenbring’s words that the website isn’t “demonizing” alcohol or pro abstinence. The title alone “rethink drinking” has negative connotations. Also, a majority of the side links have either indirect or direct references to quitting drinking altogether. I understand there are several “cutting down” tips as well, but with moderate drinkers having overall lower mortality rates then abstainers, why would they be pushing so hard in the direction of quitting altogether?

    It bears repeating however that the website does do a good job in several other ways, but it still does seem fairly opposed to consumption of some degree.

    In terms of moderate consumption marketing, I can only give two thumbs up. I’ve seen some very effective and witty marketing which doesn’t only have making the right decision look more normal, but it can even make it appear popular.

    The D.C. license link didn’t work for me.

  3. Mcfarland Says:

    I just thought I would say I’m really enjoying your posts here. Thank you.