[CR] Week in Review

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.

4 Responses to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Lew Bryson Says:

    Since you asked…I’ve been following “keg tagging” stories and studies since it started in western Massachusetts in the early 1990s. Short answer: it doesn’t stop underage drinking, or even slow it down. The quoted UA student put their finger right on it: they just buy something else. Even PIRE has admitted that “We didn’t find that laws mandating that beer kegs be registered to the purchaser made any difference in reducing underage drinking and driving fatal crashes. In fact with this particular law, we saw 12 percent more drinking-related traffic fatalities amongst those under 21.” When an anti-alcohol group like PIRE admits it, you have to wonder why it’s still being touted. I’m all for safer drinking, but keg registration goes in the wrong direction. Keep up the good work!

  2. Marshall Says:

    That something else being hard alcohol usually. I’ve seen many a garbage can packed to the brim with empty handle of vodka and orange juice concentrate containers, usually more of the former than the later.

  3. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with its important components. Parents must never be arrested because their daughters or sons did something that didn’t involve their parents. I call the 20-year old who helped police against “underage” drinking a traitor and everyone who does the same. Universities should never suspend students because of “underage” drinking. It’s good that Missouri has less money to enforce the ageist drinking age. Tucson police and UA are increasing oppression against youth.

  4. Marshall Guthrie Says:

    A “traitor”? A traitor to what? Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see the drinking age lowered, but this was exposing irresponsible bar owners and enforcing a law, that like it or not, is still a law.

    But let’s put all that aside. Let’s say that this individual has one purpose in life: to make sure that the drinking age never dips lower than 21. Are we then justified in branding him a traitor, heretic, witch, starless-sneetch or any other thinly veiled pejorative? No, because doing so squashes discourse which is what is necessary if progress is to continue in any area, especially one that revolves around a life or death issue like binge drinking.

    I think that we need to have both quantity AND quality of discussion around this and other articles related to alcohol use and abuse. Are you with me?