[CR] Week in Review

This week, a major player in the drinking age debate back in the 1980s weighed in with his take on the issue. Dr. Morris Chafetz, the founder of the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and a member of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving that recommended raising the drinking age to 21, told The Huffington Post that he’s come to realize the failures of Legal Age 21. In his op-ed titled “The 21-Year-Old Drinking Age: I Voted for It; It Doesn’t Work,” Dr. Chafetz wrote,

“I do not believe that any state should be forced to adjust its drinking age. But I do believe that the genius of federalism should be allowed to work its will unimpeded, and from that genius, not only better practices, but also safer environments and more responsible consumption, are likely to emerge.”

Check out the rest of this week’s headlines to stay current on the latest news.

Stories this week:

If you subscribe to the print version of The Economist, you’ll see an article about [CR] and the drinking age debate in an upcoming issue. If you’d like to read the piece online before you receive a hard copy, Alexandra Suich’s profile of the latest developments in the debate is available here.

Wisconsin is one state that has instituted specific exceptions to Legal Age 21: namely, state law currently allows anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol in a bar under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian or with a spouse of legal drinking age. On Wednesday, Stacy Forster of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that local lawmakers are now trying to adjust the law so that the exception applies only to people over the age of 18. The change is significant because the legislators seem to recognize that 18-20 year-olds are still adults in the eyes of the law. What are your thoughts on this proposed change? You can read more coverage of the proposed changes in Wednesday’s edition of the Racine News.

This fall, the University of Kansas will implement changes to its parental notification policy for students who have committed alcohol and drug violations. Christine Metz of the Lawrence Journal-World noted that campus administrators felt the need to implement a new policy after two students, Jason Wren and Dalton Hawkins, passed away in accidents related to heavy drinking this past spring. KU will also require students under 21 to take an alcohol education course, according to Mará Rose Williams of the Kansas City Star.

In other news…

A new advertising campaign by Anheuser-Busch has ignited a controversy on college campuses as students prepare to go back to school in the coming weeks. John Hechinger of the Wall Street Journal reported that the company is now selling “Fan Cans” of Bud Light, which are emblazoned with school colors and are being sold to coincide with the start of the college sports season. A number of universities have threatened legal action against the company, while others have filed formal complaints to prevent Anheuser-Busch from selling cans with school colors near college campuses. Given the fact that new research released this summer showed that alcohol-related deaths among college students rose from 1998 to 2005, college administrators are rightfully concerned about the effects of this new marketing campaign. What’s your take on this campaign? Have you seen any of these new cans near your campus, and do you think they’ll increase instances of dangerous drinking? Let us know in the comments.

Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reported early this week on a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry that examines rates of binge drinking in older populations. The numbers from the study aren’t encouraging: 1 in 4 men and 1 in 10 women in the 50-64 age group admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days. The Times headline, “Binge drinking: It’s not just for kids anymore” illustrates how toxic consumption has become a broad cultural problem that cuts across age groups.

Did we miss something this week? Leave a link in the comments section.

One Response to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Edwin Says:

    It’s not a bad idea that Wisconsin might implement a law which would only allow those aged 18-20 or older to drink in a bar with parental supervision. The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with an alcohol education program. I condemn the University of Kansas for toughening their “parental notification policy” and for forcing those aged 18-20 to attend an alcohol education course. Anheuser-Bush’s creation of beer cans with university colors is not a bad idea but universities may also reject it.