[CR] Week in Review

A new study by Toben Nelson of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health made some splashy headlines this week – he believes colleges and universities aren’t doing enough to combat alcohol abuse among students. His findings are based on colleges’ implementation rates of a 2002 set of NIAAA recommendations to reduce underage drinking. According to Inside Higher Ed, some experts are skeptical of Nelson’s findings, including Jim Turner of the National Social Norms Institute at the University of Virginia. Turner noted that the NIAAA recommendations, written 8 years ago, were based on older data that does not take into account the tremendous success of the social norms approach to alcohol education, which can affect “70- to 80-percent reductions of drunk driving and binge drinking” on campuses that use the social norms approach. Let us know what you think in the comments, and then check out the rest of this week’s headlines.

Stories this week:

After one month on the books, community leaders believe the early returns on Iowa City’s 21-only bar ordinance “look promising,” according to Lee Hermiston’s report for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Simple assault arrests, drunk driving charges, and cases of disorderly conduct are all down, but Police Sgt. Denise Brotherton cautioned residents not to put too much stock in these early numbers: “Just a month of stats is often too early to make a permanent decision about the effectiveness (of the ordinance).”

On Monday, the editors of the Washington Post criticized the Maryland state government for so far refusing to implement a dime-a-drink tax on alcohol to prevent looming deficits in the state’s budget. Some Post readers, including industry representatives, responded by making a case against such tax hikes. Maryland residents: where do you stand on this issue?

Sticking with DC-area items, WUSA-TV warned viewers about the binge drinking crisis among teens and college students by interviewing Ryan Smith of Virginia Tech’s Center for Applied Behavior Systems. Smith, who studies alcohol consumption among young adults, told WUSA about the hundreds of breathalyzer tests, instances of property damage, and cases of public intoxication that occur in Blacksburg every weekend. The Fairfax County Police Department will soon host their second community forum on binge drinking.

In other news…

Stephen Dubner of the New York Times “Freaknonomics” blog flagged a National Bureau of Economic Research study on rates of binge drinking and sexual activity among high school students. The study’s author, Jeffrey DeSimone, wrote, “binge drinking significantly increases participation in sex, promiscuity, and the failure to use birth control, albeit by amounts considerably smaller than implied by merely conditioning on exogenous factors.”

After hearing about New York’s tough new ignition interlock law that takes effect August 15, Jerry DeMarco of the Cliffview Pilot asked readers, “Should N.J. have ignition locks for DWI convicts?

Send us a news tip if we overlooked something in this week’s update.

One Response to “[CR] Week in Review”

  1. Edwin Says:

    The drinking age must be lowered to 18 along with its important components. Toben Neilson’s findings might be incorrect because Jim Turner has said some factors which could significantly affect Toben Neilson’s findings. Maryland’s government has not done wrong by increasing the tax on alcohol because there already is a reasonable tax on alcohol in that state. Iowa City has a bad law. Police of Virginia Tech and the county where it’s in should always target behavior rather than target people because of age.