Experts Debate Binge Drinking at ACHA Meeting

Last week, the American College Health Association held its annual meeting, and student alcohol use was a major topic of discussion according to Jennifer Epstein of Inside Higher Ed. Problems such as binge drinking and other negative alcohol-related behaviors were heavily debated among attendees at the meeting. Edward P. Ehlinger, chief health officer at the University of Minnesota’s Boynton Health Center, made the bold claim that college administrators cannot significantly reduce underage and binge drinking alone. He suggested that businesses and government should join colleges in a collaborative effort to improve what he called a societal problem that goes above and beyond minimum age laws:

“We have a whole bunch of efforts going on over the last 10 to 15 years. What have been the results? The numbers have stayed about the same. We need to be humble about the fact we don’t know what the heck we’re doing and we need to do something different.”

While Ehlinger was critical of the Amethyst Initiative, he did acknowledge that college presidents  face serious challenges that prevent them from solving this problem on their own. . He advocated sweeping changes to off-campus alcohol policies, including increased taxes and restrictions on advertising.

Will the punitive measures that Ehlinger promotes change the way students think about alcohol, or are other solutions, such as education and licensing, more viable?

One Response to “Experts Debate Binge Drinking at ACHA Meeting”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with its necessary components. It’s true that the ageist drinking of 21 encourages binge drinking by those aged 18-20. I support the Amethyst Initiative and I know that restrictions on advertising, as Ehlinger supports, is oppression because those efforts perserve the ageist drinking age. It’s unfortunate that so many universities have a culture which encourage binge drinking and what is horrible is that it isn’t decreasing moderately; at most little by year.