Sunday, October 26, 2008

Drinking on College Campuses? This is Indeed Shocking News

The Indianapolis Star this morning published a whole host of articles dealing with the problem of drinking on college campuses.. The lead article by Robert King focuses on the practice of "tailgating" before state college football games.

Many of those people in the article pointed to more strict laws as the answer. Yeah, sure, how exactly have those prohibition laws for 18-20 year old been working thus far? The answer would be not at all. They are counterproductive and lead to more individuals driving while intoxicated, as 18-20 year olds end up consuming alcohol in secret which often involves driving. Also, because 18-20 year olds are not taught to consume alcohol responsibly, when they get a chance to drink they often binge or get involved in drinking games.

As I indicated previously in this blog, teaching people about alcohol tolerance and what it takes to be too intoxicated to drive would be helpful education. Those who push the tougher laws do not want to do that though, probably because of the mindest that quietly converted anti-drunk driving slogan from "Don't Drive Drunk" to "Don't Drink and Drive." The obvious logic of the latter slogan is that a person having one beer after work, which doesn't even register in his blood alcohol level, and driving home has committed the same wrong as someone who drank 10 beers and drove home plowed. But contrary to the slogan, the former is consuming alcohol responsibly while the latter is not.

In every other arena, government bestows adulthood on 18 year olds. The sole exception is our drinking laws. It's time to ditch the prohibitionist attitude toward 18-20 year olds drinking, a policy that is clearly not working, in favor of one that allows young adults to learn responsible consumption of alocohol and which holds those them accoutable when they fail to live up to that responsibility. The prohibitionist policy doesn't make sense, especially in light of the fact that this country is asking 18-20 year olds to risk their lives in a foreign land, but makes them a criminal if they have a sip of beer.


Anonymous said...

Amen to that. When I was an undergrad in Bloomington, there was a much higher likelihood of being picked up for public intox (or underage consumption) if you were walking home on foot rather than driving home in a car. Is that a sensible policy?

Paul K. Ogden said...


The policy is based on the misguided assumption that 18-20 year olds can be convinced not to drink at all if there are laws against under 21 drinking. You make an excellent point about walking home instead of driving. Yet there are a lot of people who would endorse arresting the college students because, hey, they were breaking the law by drinking. It's a stupid, misguided policy.