Archive for March, 2009

New Medical Amnesty Bill In Michigan

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Michigan Daily reported this week that State Senator Liz Brater has introduced a new bill that’s intended to “protect minors who seek help for individuals in need of medical attention as a result of excessive alcohol consumption — regardless of age.”

“The bill is not designed to encourage minors to drink, but rather to protect those who make the mistake of consuming too much and putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation,” according to staff reporter Benjamin Chase, who spoke to Brater about the new bill.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

More anti-binge drinking efforts in Iowa

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported on a new effort to curb binge drinking at the University of Iowa and in Iowa City. According to the story, local officials will “focus on binge drinking instead of underage consumption because they say binge drinking poses a greater public health risk. ”

One area bar owner commented on the new approach, saying, “You’re not going to stop 19- and 20-year-old adults from drinking. The problem is overconsumption.”

What do you think of this approach? Check out the story and leave your feedback in the comments.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, March 27th, 2009

It’s been a busy week here in the [CR] office – we’ve received a tremendous amount of support in the days after the recent Colbert Report interview. Our [CR] merchandise has been flying off the shelves – check it out here if you’d like to show off your support with an official [CR] t-shirt or hat. For the latest news about [CR] and the issues of binge and underage drinking, here’s this week’s edition of the Week in Review:

Stories this week:

On Thursday, Andy Dworkin of picked up on the recent comments made by [CR] President John McCardell in reaction to the increase in alcohol-related hospital visited in Pennsylvania.

More evidence that the buzz about the Amethyst Initiative continues to grow: listen to U-Talk 107.1 FM North Carolina’s latest “After-Action Report: Amethyst Initiative at Duke and UNC,” and read an article about the growing support for a debate about legal age 21 at Capital University in Ohio.

Abel Delgado, a contributor at, has a bold idea for the Republican Party: he thinks GOP leaders should “legalize the college reality” by respecting the rights of adults age 18-20 and lowering the drinking age to 18. What do you think – how much could the Republicans gain from adhering to their traditional philosophy of individual freedom and states’ rights?

In other news…

Lynda Grant Killingworth’s recent letter to the editor in the Panama City News Herald puts our problems with alcohol bluntly: “Binge drinking is bad and getting worse.” Recent events prove her point: Justin Delval, a sophomore at the University of Texas A&M, was found dead in a drainage ditch after a night of heavy drinking while he was vacationing on Spring Break with his friends in Panama City.

Read about the Remember Last Night campaign, a student-led initiative to curb reckless drinking at the University of Connecticut, in the Monday edition of this week’s Hartford Courant.

In a series this week called “Stressed Out? How the Economy Wears You Down,” Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Times wrote about the possible relationship between economic downturns, heavy drinking, and addiction.

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.

[CR] Comments on Penn State Statistics

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

[CR] President John McCardell recently commented some alarming statistics from the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania that indicate how binge drinking appears to be getting worse. Click here to read his take on the issue.

UPDATE:’s Health and Fitness News section has picked up the story. Check out the details here.

Alcohol Education at UConn: Remember Last Night

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Grace Merritt of The Hartford Courant wrote an article this week detailing a new student-run alcohol education program at the University of Connecticut called “Remember Last Night.” The program is being run by UConn professor Carolyn Lin, and it “doesn’t try to stop students from drinking, but rather attempts to get them to consume alcohol safely.” The campaign uses student-produced videos, PSAs, t-shirts, and campus events to spread the word about the dangers of reckless drinking. Read Merritt’s article for all the details, and check out the official Remember Last Night site here.

[CR] Week in Review

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

We hope you enjoyed John McCardell’s appearance on The Colbert Report last week – in case you missed it, here it is:

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The Report is a tough act to follow, but Stephen Colbert wasn’t the only person interested in the drinking age issue.  Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News and World Report posted some thoughts on the segment at his “Thomas Jefferson Street” Blog over the weekend. Michael Laskoff, a guest blogger at The Huffington Post, also wrote about the Colbert segment – he began by taking up some issues that are separate from the drinking age, but he closed with his take on Legal Age 21: “it’s perhaps time to admit that changing the law didn’t eradicate the problem; it made it just made it harder to see. Perhaps there is a better way. Maybe we should discuss it.” For more, here’s the latest roundup of stories from around the country:

Stories this week:

Jeffrey Miron, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Harvard University, joined the Cato Institute for one of their Daily Podcasts a few days ago. The podcast is called “Drinking Ages and Highway Fatalities,” and during the segment, Miron talks about some of the work he has done re-examining the conventional wisdom on Legal Age 21’s relationship to drunk driving deaths. Listen here:
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Taylor Atkins of Kansas’ Topeka Capital-Journal examined some of the recent alcohol-related deaths on college campuses and asked, is a lower drinking age part of the solution?

Ball State University students Maricris Julie Taeza and Yang Zhang wrote an article about the Amethyst Initiative and the drinking age debate on campus in a recent edition of Indiana’s Muncie Star Press.

Elsewhere in Indiana, members of the Louisville Courier-Journal High School Round Table debated the drinking age this week. Check out the conversation in Sunday’s paper here.

In other news…

Mark Wellenbring, Director of the Treatment and Recovery Research Division at the NIAAA, participated in a “Science Club” interview with local metro blog DCist this past weekend. Check out the interview to read about Wellenbring’s work with the NIAAA’s new website and other topics, including his thoughts on the legal drinking age.

According to KAXN-TV, the city of Austin, Texas is looking to create some tough rules that are intended to cut down on dangerous drinking. The new ordinance is being protested by UT students and administrators – they believe “restrictions could encourage students to drive away from the campus neighborhood to party.” Read about the proposed changes here, and share your thoughts with us.

Did you catch a story that we missed? Post the link in the comments.

Get Ready For The Colbert Report Thursday Night!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The buzz about John McCardell’s appearance on The Colbert Report Thursday night at 11:30 is starting to build. Read the coverage of his upcoming appearance at Daily Kos, Seven Days, and the National Youth Rights Association. You can also check out our Facebook event to interact with other [CR] supporters. Remember to tune in tomorrow night!

Video: Drinking Age Debate at Clarkson University

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

If you’re interested in learning more about what a student-led debate on the drinking age actually looks like, check out this video of a recent event at Clarkson University in New York. The video of the second half of the event – a community panel discussion – is available here.

MPR: Minnesota Colleges and Binge Drinking

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Minnesota Public Radio’s Tim Post reported late last week on the drinking culture at Minnesota colleges, which have now gone a full year without an alcohol-related death. It’s clear from Post’s article that excessive drinking is still a problem, however, and it might be “luck, and not changes in campus policy, that has kept Minnesota college campuses free from binge drinking deaths this school year.” Check out the rest of the story here.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, March 13th, 2009

As many college students prepare for Spring Break in the coming days, it’s important to be mindful of the dangers of binge drinking. Scott Walters, Ph.D., associate professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus, told Newswise that “the average student drinks three times as much during spring break as he or she would during a normal weekend.” [CR] would like to remind everyone to drink responsibly if you choose to do so, and to always make use of a designated driver.  Here’s the latest edition of the [CR] Week in Review to keep you up to date on the news from around the country:

Stories this week:

Reason Senior Editor Radley Balko posted some comments on our recent 60 Minutes appearance on his blog. Check them out here.

Add Madison Eagle “Eyes Left” columnist George Stafford to the list of people who are calling for a national debate about the legal drinking age. He pulled no punches in discussing our current alcohol education strategies: “We practice neglect when it comes to alcohol…it’s time to put the ideological scripts and talking points aside and have each side contribute to a constructive national debate. ”

Cassandra Keyse of Cal Poly’s Mustang Daily wrote a column this week about some lessons she learned when she turned 21. She wrote, “I have accepted my right to buy and consume alcohol, but haven’t exercised it since that night because simply, the mystique and excitement are gone.”

Law enforcement officials in Providence, Rhode Island are considering a fresh approach to the problem of alcohol-related violence that occurs after bar closing times. Gregory Smith of the Providence Journal wrote this week, “thousands of people from Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts surge into the area every weekend, and at 2 a.m. closing time they pour back onto the streets. Fights, a traffic jam and other trouble erupt.” A new proposal would extend bar hours to 3 AM, but prohibit the serving of alcohol during that extra hour. The concept, according to area officials, would allow bar patrons extra time to leave so that the likelihood of violence decreases. What do you think about this idea?

In other news…

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) launched a new website this week called “Rethinking Drinking,” which, according to NIAAA Division of Treatment and Recovery Research Director Mark Willenbring, “isn’t meant to promote abstinence.  It doesn’t demonize alcohol. In fact, it even points out that light to moderate drinking on a regular basis can lower the risk for heart disease for some.”

Mary Beth Marklein of USA Today wrote about a new survey that compares college students’ study habits to their drinking habits. The numbers don’t look good – first-years spend 10.2 hours per week drinking alcohol, compared to 8.4 hours per week studying.

The New York Times covered a developing trend in alcohol advertising that focuses on moderation and safe behavior. What do you think – can this new trend help cut down on alcohol abuse?

Speaking of the New York Times, the editors of the “Economix” blog wrote a posted an informative map of drinking ages around the world.

The D.C. government is considering a change to their drivers’ licenses for residents under the age of 21. Critics say the proposed changes could unintentionally boost underage alcohol sales. What do you think?

Did we miss anything this week? Leave us a note in the comments.