[CR] Week in Review

A few weeks ago, the Cato Institute interviewed Harvard University Economics Professor Jeffrey Miron about his take on the issue of Legal Age 21 and highway fatalities for one of its daily podcasts. Miron’s follow-up article, “Did The Federal Drinking Age Law Save Lives?” is posted online and can also be found in the Spring 2009 issue of Cato’s magazine, Regulation.  For more stories on binge and underage drinking around the country, here’s the latest [CR] Week in Review:

Stories this week:

Dennis Martel, the health education services coordinator at Michigan State University’s Olin Health Center, thinks the drinking age should be lowered to help promote responsible consumption.

More news from Michigan: some Oakland County district judges are being targeted with lawsuits because they’ve taken an unusually harsh stance on underage drinking. What’s causing the controversy? The judges are jailing first-time offenders who are charged with a minor in possession violation. The judges are defending the practice, saying that it promotes safety and teaches a necessary lesson, while the ACLU of Michigan has expressed concerns that the judges are going too far. The article in the Detroit Free Press states that “so many people are ticketed on charges of minor in possession of alcohol that judges sometimes sentence dozens of students at once.” Is this what proponents of Legal Age 21 mean when they offer more enforcement as a solution to underage drinking, and is enforcement alone the only solution?

Check out Crystal Moran’s letter to the editor of the El Paso Times: she believes that the development of on-campus, public drinking establishments could work wonders to prevent drunk driving because students won’t have to drive off campus to find social life. What do you think?

Some colleges are getting creative with their alcohol education programs – at Chico State University, some students used last week’s E.R. series finale, which dealt with the issue of binge drinking, as a launching pad for conversations about alcohol use.

In other news…

Georgia’s Valdosta Daily Times published their latest “Letters from Iraq” feature this week, and the new letter tells the story of Airman First Class William Logsdon, who is responsible for operating heavy weaponry as a Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) turrent gunner. According to Lt. Col. Gregory Lafitte’s letter, Logsdon, who had not yet reached the legal drinking age when he was deployed, “spends hours ‘prepping’ his weapon system before a mission. In fact, he proudly explains that he can disassemble and reassemble his respective weapon in just under 60 seconds, providing the confidence that if necessary, he could solve any malfunction in a stressful situation.” Logsdon had been entrusted by his fellow soldiers to protect them in a dangerous situation, but he still had to wait to turn 21 before he could have a beer to unwind with the rest of his unit. Does this fact make sense to you?

Join Together has the results of a recent poll asking people about restrictions on alcopops – according to the survey, performed as part of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, Fifty-two percent of respondents said that alcopops definitely or probably encourage underage drinking, with 92 percent strongly supporting the use of warning labels on alcopops. The rest of the survey results deal with alcopop advertising and can be found here. What do you think?

Researchers at Boston University will publish the results of a new study in the upcoming issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors that deals with some potentially overlooked causes of binge drinking. The researchers found that multiple types of child maltreatment are “robust risk factors” for underage binge drinking later in life.

A reminder: the [CR] offices will be closed this Friday, April 10th. Did we miss something this week? Let us know in the comments section.

One Response to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The judges who are handing out the tough sentences are tyrants for heavily enforcing the ageist and incorrect drinking age of 21. In addition, the judges must lose the lawsuit so that freedom will come to show that the tough sentences that the judges have thrown are stupid. The brave and talented soldiers of Iraq are clearly capable of great skill and courage. Finally, the drinking age must be lowered to 18 and the alcohol education program implemented for the necessary freedom that those 18-20 deserve.