Saturday, March 12, 2005

Drunk and Stupid or Vice Versa

Saw an interesting quote in the NYTimes this AM:

"It wasn't fun for me. I was stupid. I could have died."
who downed 17 drinks on her 21st birthday in a tradition called "power hour."

End slice:

Drinking and College students are so synonymous that there is a perennial joke told by college administrators: "What makes a great College President? Plentiful parking, good football teams, and beer for the students."

The sad state of affairs is that many campuses are host (inadvertent or not) to a wide array of celebrated "party" weekends (e.g. Spring Weekend at UConn, MayFest at U Utah, Poly Royal at Cal Poly SLO, or Case Day at Gustavus Adolphus College, to name a few). Even worse are the underground and above ground abuses of alcohol by Pan-Hellenic organizations, and just students in general.

Sadly, our society is so twisted morally that drinking to the binge degree is the modus operandi for numerous pre-legal age drinkers. And when they turn the magical age of 21, they go off the deep end, and some as a result have wrapped their cars around trees or front ended some innocent drivers and are later jailed for manslaughter. About five years ago, the University of Michigan had a 19 year old first year student get herself drunk and fell to her death out of her own residence hall window.

The lessons of drinking tend to be the harder ones to learn. Every year (at least once) some "news" outlet does some "expose" on binge drinking thinking it a new phenomenon. It is not. Perhaps it is time to consider the elimination of the Reagan Era forced law that pushed the legal drinking age to 21.

I may be mistaken, but in places where there is no drinking age, it seems as though people do less binge drinking and drinking behavior is more controlled and responsible. As we learned from Prohibition, banning it doesn't work (which, by the way is the same for the argument of legalization of pot). Instead of legislating morality, perhaps we ought trust parents to help their children learn about responsible drinking (like the reichwingers suggest about abstinence) in the safety of their own homes with out it being a criminal activity. Maybe then, our children, who then will hopefully live long enough to become adults, can learn about moderation and responsible use, rather than sink into the trap that can be repetative abuse and binge drinking.

1 comment:

MoxieGrrrl said...

My parents always said if I wanted to drink I could do it under their roof where I couldn't get into trouble without backup.

At midnight on my 21st birthday I walked around the corner to the local bar, asked to be carded and ordered a white russian. I drank it and then I went home.

I think I have been horribly drunk (i.e. resulting in the need for the bathroom) about 4 times in my life, and none so bad as to require medical attention. I plan on using the same parenting technique on my daughter - it wasn't taboo, so there was no mystery and no need to go overboard.

I don't know why people don't get such an easy concept.