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Archive for Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Coalition of parents working to address underage drinking

Lawrence must take a stand against underage drinking: that was the message from one local group.

May 6, 2009

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As Kansas University works to curb underage drinking, there’s a group of concerned parents and community members involved in the same fight.

The New Tradition Coalition, formerly the Lawrence Parent Network, has been working for about five years to address the issue, by involving parents to prevent underage drinking tragedies.

Two recent KU student deaths involving alcohol have shed light on the extreme consequences that underage drinking can have. But members of the coalition said it has been a community problem for years, not only at KU but also among high school students in Lawrence.

“There is an acceptance, that it’s a rite of passage, for kids to drink and that it’s going to happen no matter what parents do,” said Nancy Renfro, a parent and member of the coalition. “We are foolish to think like that.”

The coalition got together Wednesday, the day after Kansas University officials announced they would begin notifying parents when students are caught violating drug or alcohol policies.

The group, which meets monthly at DCCCA Inc., works to educate parents about the reality of alcohol use among students under 21, to break the tradition of underage drinking.

“The amount of alcohol that’s consumed now and the binge drinking … is extremely dangerous,” said Elizabeth Scheib, a Free State High School parent and coalition member.

On Tuesday, KU announced several new policies in an attempt to curb underage drinking among students.

The coalition says the Lawrence community must also play a role in telling kids about the dangers of alcohol.

Those interested in joining the coalition can attend its meetings at 11:30 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at DCCCA, 3312 Clinton Parkway. More information can be found at thenewtraditioncoalition.blogspot.com.

Comments

dweezil222 5 years, 6 months ago

I love how everyone just presumes there's some magic switch that gets flipped when you turn 21 that makes you responsible with alcohol. Is it any wonder that kids drink underage, especially when they're in college? Everyone tells them they're an adult, that they have all the rights and responsibilities inherent to adulthood, and then says, "oh wait, but you can't have a beer." The conflicting message sent by society with a nonstandard age of majority plays a major role in alcohol use by that age group. It's sort of an act of civil disobedience.

Sigmund 5 years, 6 months ago

dweezil222 (Anonymous) says… ”The conflicting message sent by society with a nonstandard age of majority plays a major role in alcohol use by that age group. It's sort of an act of civil disobedience."

Yes, the under aged drinker is just like Dr. King or Ghandi, everyone would agree with that! Don't you think you are over reaching just a bit? Or is opposing racism the same as wantingto get plastered in your mind? Simply put there is no moral equivalency between the two.

Bestowing increasing rights as one incrementally gets older is a better alternative to waiting till one is 21 and then giving all right all at once. Besides violating laws you disagree with or don't think should apply to you is hardly a sign of maturity.

dweezil222 5 years, 6 months ago

First, no, I don't equate drinking with fighting racism. I was merely trying to articulate that there exists a fundamental dichotomy in treating people as adults, subject to all that entails, in every area but this one. Weigh the right to vote versus the right to drink; I don't think anyone is going to argue which is the more important. However, if we believe that someone is responsible enough to politically inform him or herself about issues or candidates and help shape the future of our country, how can it be said that they are too irresponsible to imbibe alcohol? If one is responsible enough to be conscriped into the military and sent to fight and possibly die in war? If one is responsible enough for their own actions under the criminal law as to face the full power and authority of the state in prosecuting them for a crime?

Second, isn't your argument about civil disobedience a bit self-defeating? King and Gandhi did the very thing you decry; they intentionally violated laws they didn't agree with, laws they felt shouldn't be in place. Were they immature? The point is not that drinking is somehow on an equal footing with equality. But it might be said that a demand to be treated like adults in all aspects, at a uniform age, is.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 6 months ago

Closing down bars that serve minors and jailing people who buy minors beer would go along way to stopping the problem.

labmonkey 5 years, 6 months ago

Simple solution. Lower the drinking age. I know this is an old saying, but if you can vote and die for your country, you should be able to have a beer. Many European countries have drinking ages of 16 or even lower, and guess what, much less binge drinking occurs than in the United States.

If you teach someone at a younger age that alcohol is something to be respected (as in something that you should partake of in moderation), you are less likely to have binge drinking.

DMH1983 5 years, 6 months ago

FYI labmonkey:

"Germany calls teen binge drinking "frightening" Reuters Published: Friday, November 14, 2008 BERLIN - The number of teenage binge drinkers in Germany has decreased by almost five per cent in the last year, but levels are still "frightening," according to the German government.

Germany released a study showing 20 per cent of its 12- to 17-year-olds binge drink at least once per month, a harrowing finding as German law prohibits the sale of alcohol to anyone below the age of 16."

DMH1983 5 years, 6 months ago

We have a problem that will not be solved by changing the drinking age. The U.S. has the second highest rate of alcoholism per capita. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu states that “Research shows that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life.” In 200, it was reported that nearly 7.2 million U.S. teens are considered binge drinkers (more than 5 drinks in a setting).

DMH1983 5 years, 6 months ago

We have a problem that will not be solved by changing the drinking age. The U.S. has the second highest rate of alcoholism per capita. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu states that “Research shows that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life.” In 2007, it was reported that nearly 7.2 million U.S. teens are considered binge drinkers (more than 5 drinks in a setting).

hujiko 5 years, 6 months ago

Currently it would be a nightmare to lower the drinking age, but if it were legal for parents to supply alcohol to their children under supervision, most of these "tragedies" would be averted. By allowing parents to show their teenagers the dangers of alcohol through first hand experience, the child can learn his or her limits in a controlled situation. Currently it is more common for a minor to steal the alcohol or get it through a friend of age, then through their parents, so they don't consume it under a watchful and knowing eye.

Kids will drink no matter what, humans have a basic drive to alter their experience by any means necessary, and we make this means incredibly easy to attain. If you really wish to curb the amount of deaths, you must educate through actual scenarios, not pamphlets and lectures. The real tragedy here is the lack of knowledge.

malehrman 5 years, 6 months ago

I think it should be pointed out that although you can vote and enlist at 18 but not drink, most 18 year olds do not vote or enlist. Maybe a balance would be that if you vote and join the military at 18, then you can drink too.

More to the point, I think progress will be made not when parents "warn" their kids, but when they lead by example. If liquor is a part of everyday life for parents, it will become a part of everyday for their kids as soon as possible. Same is probably true for any number of other issues that come up.

Kyle Reed 5 years, 6 months ago

Being responsible (about alchohol or in general) isn't something you start teaching in high school. If it hasn't been instilled by then you're fighting an uphill battle.

persevering_gal 5 years, 6 months ago

In regards to the high school students who were binge drinking out at Clinton Lake yesterday, what do we do about them? Maybe I should have just broken the beer bottles over their head so they wouldn't have anything to drink?!? Wow! I can't believe I used to think that getting wasted was the coolest thing one could ever do.

bender 5 years, 6 months ago

DMH1983- not sure where you're getting the "U.S. has the second highest rate of alcoholism per capita" info, I'm seeing numerous countries with higher rates per capita, most of them being other developed nations. (http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/index.php?theme=4&variable_ID=1186&action=select_countries)

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