What do Duke, Dartmouth, Ohio State, and nearly 100 other college’s have in common? They all want to make the legal drinking age 18. For nearly a year the Amethyst Initiative has been looking for backing from university presidents. The initiative is actually aimed at alleviating some of the drinking problems associated with campus life. I also think it has a great deal to do with lawsuits that might be brought when parents find out their 18 year old died of alcohol poisoning at school. It’s no secret that the schools can’t control what’s going on 24/7, and like everyone else in America, they are afraid of a lawsuit. So if you can’t beat-um’, join-um’.
Maybe the problem isn’t really that bad. Maybe we are over reacting. Who really is getting drunk on campus all the time anyway? According to the Alcohol Policies Project:
- 44% of U.S. college students engaged in binge drinking during the two weeks before the survey.
- 51% of the MEN drank 5 or more drinks in a row
- 40% of the WOMEN drank 4 or more drinks in a row
- Students more likely to binge drink are white, age 23 or younger, and are residents of a fraternity or sorority. If they were binge drinkers in high school, they were three times more likely to binge in college.
- The percentage of students who were binge drinkers was nearly uniform from freshman to senior year, even though students under 21 are prohibited from purchasing alcohol.
- Over half the binge drinkers, almost one in four students, were frequent binge drinkers, that is, they binged three or more times in a two-week period. While one in five students reported abstaining from drinking alcohol.
If you paid attention to the second to last bullet, you would have noticed that age does not matter in regard to binge drinking. So do we fight it, or give in? What is ethically right?