Archive for January, 2009

John McCardell on Pajamas TV

Friday, January 30th, 2009

John McCardell had a chance to stop by the PajamasTV studios in LA today and appeared live online in an interview with University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds.  You can watch their discussion here.

Check it out, and let us know what you think.  It’s hard to disagree with the argument that the 21 year-old drinking age is both an abridgment of the 18 year-old age of majority and an intrusion on states’ rights–a major point of the interview.

Also check out Glenn Reynolds’s recent advice to President Obama regarding the drinking age.

[CR] in California at Cal Poly Tonight!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

[CR] President and Founder John McCardell is in California, and tonight (Thursday) in San Luis Obispo, he will debate James Fell of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation at 8:00 in Cal Poly’s Chumash Auditorium. Cal Poly’s Mustang Daily has the details on the event, as well as a pro/con feature on lowering the drinking age by 2 student reporters. Both presenters are experts on the issues of binge and underage drinking, so if you’re in the area, be sure to join us for what should be a great event!

Connecticut volunteers – [CR] in Wilton Thursday Night!

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

[CR] board member Barrett Seaman will join a panel of educators and health professionals for a forum on the drinking age Thursday night in Wilton, CT. The event is at 7:30 in the Brubeck Room of the Wilton Library, and it is sponsored by the Wilton League of Women Voters. The program is free and open to the public, so make sure to join [CR] for this great event! See here for more details.

Sexual Assaults and Binge Drinking

Monday, January 26th, 2009

The Harvard School of Public Health 1999 College Alcohol Study surveyed students on 119 college campuses throughout the country and found that 23% of students at colleges with high binge drinking rates had experienced an unwanted sexual advance.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

In case you missed it, Glenn Reynolds’ proposal to President Obama about lowering the drinking age got a lot of attention on some prominent blogs: Megan McArdle of The Atlantic picked up the story, as did Peter Suderman at Culture11 and Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft. Check out those links for some lively discussion of the drinking age – they come from all corners of the political spectrum. For other news that flew under the radar, here’s the latest edition of the [CR] Week in Review:

Stories this week:

Mark your calendars, Connecticut [CR] supporters: The Wilton Library and the Wilton League of Women Voters are hosting an event called “Re-Thinking the Drinking Age: Is 21 Working? Is 18 the Answer?” on January 29 from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Wilton Library Brubeck Room. The Wilton Villager has all the details on the event.

On Wednesday, Federico Martinez of the Muskegon Chronicle wrote an article about the drinking age debate in his community and on college campuses in Western Michigan.

David Hottinger’s latest piece in the University of Wisconin’s Daily Cardinal talks about the mixed messages that college students sometimes receive from their parents about alcohol.

Wiktoria Parysek, an exchange student from Berlin at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed some of the differences between Germany and the U.S. in regard to attitudes about alcohol in her latest “Wiki-Pedia” column.

In other news…

Early this week, The New York Times had the details of a recent study done by Alexandar Wagenaar and researchers at the University of Florida on alcohol taxes as a deterrent to problem drinking. Higher taxes on alcohol might be controversial policy solutions, but Philip Cook considers them to be “less of an imposition on personal freedom than many other types of alcohol regulations that are intended to limit abuse, including the high minimum age.” What do you think?

On Tuesday, Join Together posted a research summary from UCLA about the potential health benefits of moderate consumption for older drinkers, noting that responsible drinkers “were less likely to suffer debilitating health problems than those who abstained from drinking and those who drank heavily.”

As always, send us a note in the comments if we missed anything.

Glenn Reynolds to Obama: Don’t Mandate Legal Age 21

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

After President Obama officially took office, the editors of the Wall Street Journal published a series of commentaries by leading pundits and political figures on their hopes for the new administration. Glenn Reynolds, University of Tennesse law professor and editor of the libertarian blog Instapundit, made one policy proposal: “eliminating the federally mandated drinking age of 21.” Reynolds wants take “a step toward honoring the Constitution” by returning control of alcohol policy to the states.

UPDATE: J.D. Tuccille of the DC Examiner joined Reynolds in calling on President Obama to re-think Legal Age 21.

44% Binge

Monday, January 19th, 2009

The Harvard School of Public Health 1999 College Alcohol Study surveyed students on 119 college campuses throughout the country and found that 44% of U.S. college students engaged in binge drinking during the two weeks before the survey. While we often think of binge drinking as something more serious than 5 drinks consumed by males or 4 drinks consumed by females, it remains true that drinking beyond this threshold is correlated to a host of negative outcomes.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Here in Washington, everyone is busy preparing for the upcoming Inauguration ceremonies (and record crowds) early next week. The Washington Post‘s Marc Fisher expressed some concerns about the potential chaos, particularly for D.C. restaurant and bar owners as they deal with the throngs of revelers. We’d like to remind everyone that if you’re traveling to D.C. for the Inauguration and want to celebrate, please do so responsibly. Here’s the latest edition of the [CR] Week in Review:

[CR] News:

State Senator Kent Rogert wants to make some changes to the age of majority in Nebraska: currently, state law sets the age of majority at 19, but if Rogert’s bill passes, the age of majority will be lowered to 18. However, Rogert has no plans to push for a change in the legal drinking age, meaning that Nebraskans age 18-20 would be adults in every way but one.

We already know that Legal Age 21 is rarely enforced – one study estimates that just two out of every 1,000 cases of underage drinking result in citation or arrest. While many prevention programs focus on strict rules for in-store sales, these laws miss a popular source of alcohol for underage drinkers.  According to the Fayetteville Reporter, a national study in 2006 estimated that over half a million underage drinkers bought alcohol online, where the buyer’s age is rarely verified. Researchers at the University of North Carolina are conducting a study intended to address the discrepancies in these laws.

In other news…

To change the culture of binge drinking among young adults, we’ll need to stop glamorizing alcohol so that we can educate people properly. Rick Reilly’s latest ESPN the Magazine column on the “next great American pastime” of beer pong isn’t helping the cause.

The U.S. Army is teaming up with researchers at the University of Calgary to help combat the problem of drunk driving by soldiers returning home from combat areas. The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that the Army is funding the development of a drunk driving simulator intended to show soldiers the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Jim Yonts, public information officer of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center in Alabama, said that many young soldiers turn 21 while they are overseas, and return home without much of an education on the dangers of drunk driving. MADD Canada doesn’t like the program – what do you think?

Recent budget problems have forced some states to consider changes to their judicial systems that could affect drinking behaviors. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported this week that Governor Tim Pawlenty mandated 10% spending cuts at all state agencies. A group of law enforcement officials and judges, including state Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, noted that budget cuts in the justice system could prevent courts from prosecuting minor crimes, including those involving underage drinking. Legal Age 21 is unenforceable for many reasons, and it appears that economic concerns might make the situation worse.

Check out these headlines, and leave us a comment if we missed anything.

20% Consumes 90%

Monday, January 12th, 2009

A 1999 study found that 20% of the United States population consumed 90% of the alcohol. This is strong evidence of an un-integrated drinking culture where consumption varies widely by sub-population.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Happy Friday, everyone. Here’s the latest round-up of stories and commentaries on binge and underage drinking from around the country:

Stories this week:

In recent months, there have been a number of community and campus events in Connecticut about [CR], binge drinking, and the legal drinking age. The Bristol Press posted word of an upcoming forum on January 28 at Farmington High School called “Is 21 the Answer? A Discussion about Lowering the Drinking Age.”

Mike Males of the San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice published a recent study in the California Journal of Health Promotion indicating that California could benefit from graduated purchasing laws for alcohol that allow young adults to consume beer and wine at 18. The OC Weekly’s “Navel Gazing” blog was on the case this week – Males used to write for them, and he had “legions of fans” while he did so, according to the editors. They have a summary of his findings and MADD California’s response here.

Boston-area radio host Michael Graham isn’t afraid of polemics. He wrote a provocative op-ed in the Boston Herald this week, and drifted off the issue of the drinking age, but nonetheless his piece raises some timely questions about the nature of the alcohol laws in Massachusetts.

In other news…

In case you missed it, Duke University Economics Professor Philip Cook posted a thoughtful piece on the Amethyst Initiative during a week-long series on alcohol control policy at Volokh Conspiracy.

A new study called “The Behavioral Impact of Drinking and Driving Laws” was published by researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Georgia in a recent edition of the Policy Studies Journal. The results indicate that high-visibility campaigns which illustrate the consequences of drunk driving can have a deterrent effect on instances of impaired driving. Join Together has more details.

Another research summary from Join Together indicates that high concentrations of alcohol outlets in a community can affect binge drinking rates among those who are underage. The LA Times posted a story about the research in late December, and Join Together’s summary is available here.

Did you catch something that we missed? Check out these stories and let us know in the comments.