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Underage Drinking

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A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. What do these people all have in common? Saturday detention? Nope, they are all bonded by young people’s favorite friend, alcohol.

Whether I am hanging out with honors students, holy rollers, or greeks, alcohol tends to be one of the first topics brought up in conversation. So I began to wonder, could alcohol be the thing uniting the youth of my generation? Is this really the security blanket that most hold onto in social settings? These are depressing thoughts. So it’s about time to expose the effects and dangers of the alcohol consumption which is ever-present on our college campus.

It would be silly to say “bad things can’t happen to me.” Bad things can happen to you, and they will happen if you encourage them with alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college drinking remains an intractable problem that contributes to about 1,700 student deaths, 599,000 injuries, and 97,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape annually. These startling facts might be enough to slow down one’s drinking for a weekend or so.

Sadly, on the weekends (and during the week) no one seems to drink moderately. If people really did just have one or two drinks to loosen up, this country would not have such a problem with alcohol abuse. But instead it is like this: you get wasted, talk about how wasted you got for most of the next week, and then, most importantly, put up photos of yourself getting wasted on Facebook.

Some might say the problem of underage drinking is exaggerated and isn’t really a big deal. But according to the U.S. Surgeon General's office, According to Factsontap, one night of heavy drinking can impair your capacity to think abstractly for up to 30 days, limiting your ability to relate textbook reading to what your professor says, or to think through a football play.

With the startling statistics about alcohol use among young people today, it is no question that it is an important issue. Alcohol affects one mentally, physically, and emotionally. It can destroy relationships and take away lives. In a generation full of young people striving to be individualists, it would be devastating to look back and realize we were all just the same.

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About Emily Deck

  • You owe a lot of that alcohol on campuses to the WTCU. They are the wonderful women who pushed through Prohibition in the States – helping to grow excesive drinking in the States from a tragic problem – to an epidemic. They helped (indirectly) to spread drug use on campus by banning alcohol. When folks finally sobered up and made alcohol legal again, the criminal gangs that had sprung up to market the stuff turned to morphine, marijuana, cocaine and other wonderful stuff to sell – all over college campuses where young ” individualists” make “social statements” by toking up or using some other “recreational” drug. Well they used to. Now it’s all just “part of the culture” – a morally challenged culture at that.

    Let’s give the ladies credit where they deserve it. Full credit.

  • Unfortunately, the only thing ‘startling’ about those ‘facts’ is that they’re not true. For example, that 1,700 deaths each year: take a look here.
    This isn’t some crazy site; it’s written and researched by David J. Hanson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sociology of the State University of New York at Potsdam, who’s been researching alcohol policy for over 40 years.
    You’ll find that the 1700 college age deaths from alcohol a year is a number without any factual basis; the actual number is closer to 35. Now THAT is startling. Think about it: don’t you think you’d notice if almost 5 college kids were dying of “alcohol” EVERY DAY? Of course you would. Why aren’t you? Because it’s not really happening.
    The statistics put out by the “New Dry” anti-alcohol research groups have become notorious for their flimsy nature. Take a bold stand: don’t take their numbers for granted!

  • Excellent article about a really important issue. Teaching everyone to drink responsibily is the key. Binge drinking is a real problem in a lot of our schools.

  • I won’t argue numbers, but the problem is not limited to college kids. Kids as young as 8 or 9 are known to have taken up drinking alcohol in some form or other. Binge drinking is practiced by high school kids all over the country.

    What is even more troubling is how many parents wink at it – often having enabled and/or even encouraged kids to drink at parties – the infamous “locking up the keys” parties actually held by parents in their homes. Former Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau was arrested and charged for doing just that a couple of years ago.

    As Emily aptly states, alcohol consumption damages our minds and our bodies. Binge drinking does significantly more damage.

    Also, the figures regarding injuries, sexual assault and rape should be sobering. Even if those figures are also inflated, it does not mitigate the tragedy.

    Regardless of the actual numbers, there is no substantive argument that can be made in favor of underage drinking, nor for anyone to drink to excess.

    Getting drunk, with the resultant loss of control is just stupid. Good article Emily.


  • “Take a bold stand: don’t take their numbers for granted.

    So, Lew, what are you suggesting, that boozers should unite in protest? Hell, Let’s drink to that!


  • Emily,

    Just a suggestion. You might have been able to direct this to the Politics section rather than Culture. You’d have to be prepared for a lot more discussion – pro and con, but Politics readers are far more apt to comment than the more reticent folks here in Culture.


  • I wonder why that is. Is it because it’s against their creed to get into a slugfest?

  • Baritone, interesting idea, but of course the editor who handled the article would most certainly have sectioned it here anyway because it belongs here. We put articles where they should go, not where we think they’ll get the most comments.

    Comments, by the way, are not an entirely accurate picture of whether or not an article is being read (although they are nice to get). I daresay that a good many commenters in Politics join a conversation without even reading the article at hand.

    It would be nice if everyone who enjoyed BC realized that there’s an awful lot of engaging and interesting stuff that isn’t in the Politics section!

  • Comments, by the way, are not an entirely accurate picture of whether or not an article is being read

    That’s true, Lisa. But until the publisher and chief geek here release to us writers the reading stats for individual articles, it is the only barometer we writers really have.

    So, it makes sense to go where it is evident that someone is reading – from the comments – no matter how stupid they often are. That’s the politics section in this magazine.

  • Lisa,

    In the past, at any rate, I have been successful in steering some of my articles to the Politics section – usually by bugging Eric about it. I have also written a number of articles which I intended to be published in Culture.

    But, Ruvy is correct. Look at the disparity between the # of comments most Culture articles get as opposed to most Politics articles.

    One of the last articles I submitted here was published in Culture, and it did get a fairly healthy number of comments. However, most of the commenters were people who know me from my Politics history and dared to cross over.

    You may be correct in your assertions about readership, but, again, Ruvy is right in pointing out that the number of comments is the only means writers have to measure that readership.


  • Hell, not even Emily has come back here to comment. I suppose she’s got homework. 🙂


  • Emily

    Oh definitely.

  • Sudy hard!