For many college students: First time away. First time drinking. First time for sex.

Many teens drink for the first time in college. The CDC released troubling data this week on teenage girls and binge drinking. (AP Images.)

Many teens drink for the first time in college. The CDC released troubling data this week on teenage girls and binge drinking. (AP Images.)

Over the holiday, I talked with many friends and family members about their children’s struggles in college, and almost all the problems had to deal with too much partying and too little studying.

(I am also surprised at the number of teens who are transferring after only semester but I will leave that topic to another day. When I went to college, most of us stuck it out for the full freshman year. By then, some of us had come to like our campuses and to feel more at home.)

Related to that same issue, the AJC had a story yesterday on the rise in binge drinking in girls and women.

Binge drinking continues to be a worrisome, under-recognized health problem among women and girls, according to a CDC report issued Tuesday. Nearly 14 million women binge drink about three times a month, and consume an average of six drinks per binge, the CDC report said.

“It is alarming to see that binge drinking is so common among women and girls, and that women and girls are drinking so much when they do,” said Robert Brewer, of the CDC’s Alcohol Program. Binge drinking for women is defined as consuming four or more alcohol drinks, such as beer, liquor or wine, on an occasion.

According to the report, which is based on results of a 2011 phone survey of about 278,000 women and 7,500 high school girls:

— About 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school girls report binge drinking.

— Binge drinking was most common among white and Hispanic women, and among women with household incomes of $75,000 or more.

— Half of all high school girls who drink alcohol report binge drinking. Girls are quickly catching up to boys when it comes to binge drinking.

— Binge drinking results in about 23,000 deaths in women and girls each year.

Given that backdrop, I thought it might help to share this statement from the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) at Susquehanna University:

With the first semester in the rearview mirror and a new one quickly approaching, research from the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) at Susquehanna University and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) suggests that dialogue between parents and their first-year college students may be more important than ever.

According to the national survey, approximately one-third of teens are experimenting with risky behaviors – many for the first time – during their first semester at college. Roughly one-third of current college students surveyed reported drinking alcohol (37 percent), engaging in intimate sexual behavior (37 percent), or having sexual intercourse (32 percent) during their first semester at college.

Among these teens, one-quarter to nearly half report engaging in these behaviors for the first time:

· Drinking alcohol = 26 percent

· Using other drugs = 46 percent

· Driving impaired = 35 percent

· Having sex = 27 percent

“Clearly these numbers are cause for continuing concern about the health and safety of young people on college campuses,” said Stephen Gray Wallace, director of CARE and an associate research professor at Susquehanna University. “This reinforces the need for sustained education and prevention efforts both before and during the early stages of the college experience, when behavioral patterns are likely being formed.”

Research from the Pennsylvania State University also points to the early stages of college as a critical time in preventing students from becoming heavy drinkers, as well as the positive impact of parent-based interventions.

“While our research shows that first-semester college students do sometimes put themselves at risk, not all students are doing so,” said Penny Wells, SADD’s president and CEO, citing the 2011 Monitoring the Future study finding that alcohol consumption among college students has declined 12 percent since 1991. “Even those students who are [drinking or using other drugs] can still learn to reduce undesirable risk behaviors. Parent expectations and communication play an important role in helping their children through this transition period.”

Parents can help by:

· Reflecting with their students on the first-semester experience and what role, if any, alcohol use played in their academic, athletic or social performance;

• Pointing out that research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) links college alcohol use with injury, assault, sexual abuse and depression;

• Emphasizing that many college students build a rewarding social environment without drinking or other risk behaviors;

• Clearly communicating expectations for responsible behavior and sound achievement;

• Encouraging on-campus connections with caring adults, such as a faculty member, coach, counselor, or member of the student affairs or chaplaincy staff.

The study, conducted for CARE and SADD by ORC International Inc., surveyed 1,070 U.S. teens from ages 16 to 19 on their behaviors during college admissions visits and in their first semester at college. Participants included current college students reflecting on previous visits and their first college year. Data was collected online in April 2012.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

66 comments Add your comment

mystery poster

January 9th, 2013
12:16 pm

It’s OK, just make sure you have taught your daughters Abstinence Only. They will never have sex if you pound that idea home. Get them the largest purity ring you can find.
/sarcasm

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
12:18 pm

“For many college students: First time away. First time drinking. First time for sex.”

Hopefully they don’t have to move out and go to college to have their first time of making informed decisions.

I also hope SADD has not become SAD. I have withdrawn my support for MADD over their support for the age 21 drinking age. MADD: being against drinking and driving is not being against drinking. Mad has become MAD: Mothers Against Drinking.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
12:21 pm

Mystery Poster – sure am glad you put that “sarcasm” in there.

I wonder if “binge” drinking is on the rise BECAUSE of the drinking age?

indigo

January 9th, 2013
12:38 pm

Alcohol, drugs and sex don’t hurt young people.

Young people hurt young people.

Georgia Dad

January 9th, 2013
12:41 pm

Many students are unprepared for college work. They realize it once they get on campus and then party till their time is up. Many highschools don’t even offer a basic physics class. How can a student attend a school like Ga Tech without a basic physics class? As long as schools focus on football programs rather than academics our graduation rates are going to be sad.

Astropig

January 9th, 2013
12:44 pm

I’ll probably get flamed,but since this is a blog read by teachers and educrats…Here goes.

The public schools don’t help matters one bit. Kids are pushed like sausage through the system and are told just about everything to do from Kindergarten. The last thing they have to learn in the public school environment is good decision making. This makes it harder for them to make good decisions when they go off to college.The system is operated like North Korea,where everything that isn’t mandatory is forbidden and lots of kids don’t fully develop any sense of consequences or risks. This means that the lessons learned in that Freshman year are gonna be painful ones.

Parents are also largely to blame for trying to gentle away the rough edges of life for their little snowflake and thus they are ill prepared for the sink or swim environment of campus life.We adults don’t let them make any meaningful decisions until they leave home and then we’re shocked,SHOCKED, when they make bad ones.

(Zipping up asbestos suit)

Okay, heat ‘em up.

intown parent

January 9th, 2013
12:44 pm

I think there is some truth to MtnMan’s wondering if the higher drinking age is part of the reason for binge drinking – parents are not teaching their children how to drink, setting examples of moderation, etc. Left to their own devices, listening to other kids, sets them up for having bad examples reinforced positively.
My skinny little child has asked me to teach her how to drink. So we sample, i explain about flavors, high alcohol contents, masking flavors, why folks like vodka, caloric content (booze gets you fat, little girl), genetic propensities for addiction, the benefit of finding one drink you like that satiates you so you only want/need one, date rape drugs/protect your drink (thank you Ohio), checking for spiked punch, drinking with strangers, the problems of being small and female regarding processing alchohol and so much greater risks for getting drunk quickly, staying drunk, issues w/driving impared, etc etc etc. Then pepper in a few family stories about drunks in the family beating the wife and kids, blowing paychecks, etc etc – morality tales mean more when you can dispassionately hold up horror stories that had a direct impact on why you’re in the position you’re in.

I doubt she’d get any of this at a frat or sorority house during rush week or in a regular dorm.

On the flip side, pretty funny there’s no mention of first time pot use…

intown parent

January 9th, 2013
12:51 pm

Re: Astropig’s comments that schools should be teaching good decision making: I went to a high end private school back in the day, and good decision making was *not* part of the curriculum (speling was, but hey). Some teachers took time to dole out such advice, and have such conversations. And i find that my dear darling daughter in a public high school is in a slightly different situation – the curriculum does have a few efforts to teach good decisions/consequences for bad decisions, and still some teachers take the time to impart good wisdom. So same as it ever was (if not a smidge improved), basically. It’s still the parents’ responsibility first and foremost, for schools’ a distant second.

Atlanta Mom

January 9th, 2013
12:55 pm

“booze gets you fat, little girl”
True story here. At the dining halls at UGA two years ago they had placards on the tables for watching calories–one for those “eat this, not that” campaigns.
My daughter was aghast when the suggestion was “drink a martini, not a margarita.”

Atlanta Mom

January 9th, 2013
1:02 pm

Personally, I have a problem with defining binge drinking as four drinks for an occasion. If it’s four drinks in an hour or two , that I understand. But if you’re at an event for four hours, I don’t know that I would define four drinks as binge drinking.

Atlanta Mom

January 9th, 2013
1:10 pm

Just to make sure we all understand the numbers. The percentage of college students drinking for the first time, and having sex for the first time is less than 10% of the student body (if the statistics above are accurate), one third of one third. Frankly I’m surprised it’s that low.

bootney farnsworth

January 9th, 2013
1:12 pm

well, duh. same as when I was in college decades ago.

get a bunch of freshly legal adults out on their own for the first time….

bootney farnsworth

January 9th, 2013
1:16 pm

astropig illustrates the major dilemma in primary education.
everybody wants us to do everything.

teaching values and citizenship is the parents job – not ours.

williebkind

January 9th, 2013
1:18 pm

I was under the impression the progressive liberals were all about sex. Everything they do or live for is dominated by sex or some type of sex. Maureen you better remove that from your story or you could be ostracized.

Tom

January 9th, 2013
1:18 pm

My daughter was aghast when the suggestion was “drink a martini, not a margarita.”

Why……was it ‘Tex-Mex’ night?

williebkind

January 9th, 2013
1:19 pm

Parents should teach their kids safe sex–be homosexual.

Dr. Proud Black Man

January 9th, 2013
1:20 pm

Same same for a lot of young people who leave home and join the military. To this day I have very fond memories of Hunter Army Airfield and Savannah!

Astropig

January 9th, 2013
1:23 pm

“everybody wants us to do everything.”

No,just want you to read the whole comment,not just the part that feeds your preconceived biases. I also took parents to task for not fostering good decision making skills.

That’s why parents and teachers talk past one another- Lots of teachers think that they’re doing holy work and lots of parents think that they can outsource values development to a system as dysfunctional as public schools.Both sides are wrong.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
1:27 pm

“The system is operated like North Korea,where everything that isn’t mandatory is forbidden and lots of kids don’t fully develop any sense of consequences or risks”

Astropig, I’ll flame you…for insulting the government of North Korea by implying it’s less suffocating than the public school system.

Prof

January 9th, 2013
1:30 pm

I just want to note this for those arguing that binge drinking, etc., is due to our new low morals, no decision-making in the high school years, higher legal drinking age, etc. I had freshmen and sophomore females come to my office for private counsel on their excessive drinking back in the early ’80s (”I’m trying to stop but my parents keep these open wine bottles in the refrigerator and I can’t resist”), and also just a few years ago (”every Friday I start binge-drinking with my friends until I pass out…I got pregnant but still kept drinking…yes, I’m getting professional help….”)

It’s the age, silly. 18, 19 year olds very often do this. They also feel they’re going to live forever.

Eddie G

January 9th, 2013
1:34 pm

I’m amazed that 18-19 year old kids away from home for the first time have the audacity to drink some beer and get laid. What has the world come to? Does the sarcasm filter work on here?

Tanisha Green

January 9th, 2013
1:36 pm

Yeah, the best thing men ever did…for themselves…was to convince women that if we were not spreading it out all over the place, then we were not “exploring our sexuality”. Hard to believe we actually fell for that, but we sure did.

Georgia Dad

January 9th, 2013
1:42 pm

Yes college students have been drinking and partying forever. Open keg parties were the norm in the early 80’s. The difference is that college costs are now incredibly high. The parents feel it when their kids lose their HOPE scholarship. Also in todays job market you don’t want to ruin your GPA in your first semester.

bu2

January 9th, 2013
1:42 pm

Right. I enjoyed the 18 year old rules in college, but there are a lot less dead 18, 19 and 20 year olds and people getting hit by those with the older drinking age. 18, 19 and 20 year olds make a lot of bad decisions. And the 21 year old drinking age protects everyone against some of them. The higher insurance rates for drivers under 21 isn’t some conspiracy against younger people. Its based on statistics.

Parents can introduce their older children to alcohol and demonstrate responsible drinking (or abstinence if that’s your choice) so its not all some new and forbidden topic. That will help reduce excessive drinking. But lowering the drinking age won’t do anything but increase it.

You have to teach them about drugs and sex too. Start early on drugs. My Mother has no smoking drilled into them. They’ll comment how nasty it is and bad for you it is to us after we pass a smoker. I doubt they ever smoke.

dc

January 9th, 2013
1:46 pm

life is good for young men!

Maureen Downey

January 9th, 2013
1:51 pm

The best monitoring of drinking remains the ongoing Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study. I found this interesting:

The transition from high school to college is a significant milestone in a young person’s life that is marked by entirely new social environments and the adoption of adult roles as students become independent of their parents. Although about half of all college binge drinkers engage in binge drinking before their arrival on campus, an equal number pick up binge drinking behavior in college (Weitzman et al., 2003b). Student affiliations and their surrounding environments were important determinants of initiating drinking behavior in college (Weitzman et al., 2003b). Membership in a fraternity or sorority, belief that most friends binge drink, drinking to “fit in,” easy access to alcohol through social affiliation, low-cost alcohol, and attending a college with a high rate of binge drinking were all independently associated with first-year students taking up binge drinking.

Where a student lives during college is an important factor in how much alcohol she or he consumes. Rates of binge drinking vary according to the level of supervision in the living environment and to the presence of heavy drinkers
(Harford et al., 2002a; Wechsler et al., 2002c). Underage students living at home with their parents had the lowest rates of binge drinking of all college students. Among those living on campus, residents in housing designated as substance-free, where alcohol and tobacco use are prohibited, had the lowest rates of binge drinking. Students living off campus away from their parents and students living in fraternity or sorority houses had the highest rates of binge drinking.

The amount of alcohol consumed per occasion appears to vary by setting (Harford et al., 2002b). Fraternity/sorority parties, off-campus bars, and off-campus parties were the sites of heaviest drinking. Although off-campus parties and bars were most heavily attended, a higher percentage of drinkers engaged in heavy drinking at fraternity/sorority parties.

Older students were more likely to frequent off-campus bars, whereas younger students, particularly those younger than the minimum legal drinking age (21 years) were more likely to attend off-campus parties. Heavy consumption of alcohol at both off-campus parties and off-campus bars was associated with disruptive behavior and with becoming a victim of an altercation (Harford et al., 2003).

Students who lived off campus with their parents and attended these drinking venues remained less likely to engage in disruptive behaviors or to become a victim of an altercation as a result of their drinking

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/What-We-Learned-08.pdf

catlady

January 9th, 2013
1:58 pm

I am betting for very few is it all three “firsts”.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
2:18 pm

Well if we are going to talk about binge drinking in college, this might be as good as time an any to sneak in a sophomoric humor. Thus, in reference to mystery poster and “pounding it home”…

Studies have shown that girls who have been subjected to “abstinence only” programs engage in anal intercourse at three times higher rates that normal (ostensibly to maintain their “virgin” status)

Not sure that’s what Pat Robertson and his Christian right cohorts had in mind (I’ll decline to speculate on Bishop Eddie Long’s views on the matter…)

The point being (yes there is a legitimate point) if we are going to “educate” our way to better behaviors, we need to educate not moralize and indoctrinate.

AlpharettaMike

January 9th, 2013
2:23 pm

The most immediate thing we can do here in Georgia is continue to significantly increase the standards to get into UGA and Georgia Tech and HOLD that standard once in college. The source of all these problems are sociologically implemented. We can’t easily change that, and we can’t do it alone. As many of you have said, many students are NOT college ready. We need to stop pushing for the image that everyone has to go to college. College is not right for most people. Technical school is a viable and great route for many. We should keep the college material students in school and working hard, and help our non-college ready students pursue other routes.

Only when “college isn’t for everyone” isn’t seen as a cheeky insult will we start to see a change in debt:salary ratio, market saturation and the “party school” atmosphere.

For now, continue to increase the selectivity at top research universities. That’s what we can do to here in Georgia from the USG’s standpoint. Everything else, anti-drinking campaigns, SADD groups, stricter bar rules, more police etc. is too time consuming and too costly.

I hope to see the average SAT score for GA colleges increase this year’s cycle, and I hope most of that increase is circled around UGA and Georgia Tech, our two biggest research institutions.

Sad day for higher education.

Just Sayin.....

January 9th, 2013
2:25 pm

Combine this blog with the news story out yesterday of complete-antibacterial-resistent gonorrhea making it to the U.S., and you have some dangerous times ahead…

Ann

January 9th, 2013
2:27 pm

@ Eddie G – Did you miss the part that says “Binge drinking results in about 23,000 deaths in women and girls each year”. This article is not simply talking about “letting loose” and drinking some beer. Binge drinking is excessive amounts that can lead to the death of many women and girls. For many, it is not just a harmless rite of passage for college freshman. Women, generally, absorb alcohol at a much higher rate than men, due to the difference in percentage of body fat and other factors. Women’s bodies are also more easily damaged by alcohol than men. Young girls “catching up” to young men in binge drinking does not bode well for their health and future.

Just Sayin.....

January 9th, 2013
2:34 pm

“Binge drinking results in about 23,000 deaths in women and girls each year”.

.. and rifles result in about 500 deaths (total) a year. So we will put all our efforts and emotional energy into a bogus Assault weapons ban (AWB) , while binge drinking and the deaths that follow it go on unabated

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
2:41 pm

“Binge drinking results in about 23,000 deaths in women and girls each year”.

Darwinism at work. Come on, these are ADULTS. If they decide to kill themselves with alcohol, I am sure it is not because they were unaware of the dangers. They CHOSE to kill themselves. I taught my daughters that the motto among guys is “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Don’t be stupid.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
2:49 pm

I also taught my kids – two girls and two boys – if you drink, drink responsibly, don’t get sh*t-faced, ALWAYS have a DD, if you have sex, there should be a condom used (demonstrated proper condom application, NEVER smoke because of the damage it does to your lungs, don’t do drugs because of the legal and physical repercussions. Then they took it from there. Thank goodness all four are out of college now. The girls have not presented us with a baby. As far as I know, there are no babies from the boys. No state patrol has called us to say they were dead in a drunk driving accident (driver or passenger). We never had to bail them out of jail. I am glad that our children were adult enough to make good decisions (they did NOT obey the stupid 18 year old drinking age).

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
2:51 pm

“Combine this blog with the news story out yesterday of complete-antibacterial-resistent gonorrhea making it to the U.S., and you have some dangerous times ahead…”

Not as much of a problem if a kid having sex insists on two forms of birth control, one being a religiously used (and properly used) condom.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
2:54 pm

I might hazard a guess that most of those who do the “dangerous” choices as soon as they get to college came from families where alcohol and any talk of sex or drugs was forbidden. Where the only watchword is “just say no”.

AlreadySheared

January 9th, 2013
3:32 pm

@Georgia Dad
“How can a student attend a school like Ga Tech without a basic physics class?”

A little off-topic, but my physics prof at Tech said “it doesn’t matter if you didn’t have physics in high school, because until you know calculus, you can’t really do physics anyway.” He was, of course, correct.

So I don’t know about the rest of it, but no hs physics, no problem.

My Freshmen

January 9th, 2013
3:37 pm

She just completed her first semester. She told me there’s a lot of drinking and partying on campus. She herself went to many parties. Thank goodness her grades reflected she concentrated more on her studies than partying, yet they could have been better.

I let her enjoy being a teenager and trusting her way before she left home for college. She didn’t need to go “buck wild” being away from home the first time. She said those kids who tasted “freedom” for the first time were obvious and wild and preyed upon. I sat my child down for many years explaining about the pitfalls of life, college, alcohol, guys, catty girlfriends. She didn’t leave home unaware!

mark

January 9th, 2013
4:04 pm

I drank a 12 pack of the “the beast” every day for 4 and 1/2 years as an undergraduate. I then move on to micro brews through graduate school. I had several long term girl friends, some one night stands and some lovers while in college. (up north they taught us about comdoms) I turned out fine. no arrest record, pregancies or STDS. Everything in moderation.

bootney farnsworth

January 9th, 2013
4:05 pm

@ astropig

used your words. think before posting if you don’t want them used against your point.

Ann

January 9th, 2013
4:11 pm

@ Mountain Man, I agree with all of your comments. My siblings and I, who were teens in the 70’s, grew up knowing how to make good decisions. We did not get in any significant trouble. Our parents made sure we understood what was expected of us regarding decisions; although, conversations were probably not as frank back then about some topics. However, we knew how to avoid stupid decisions. Basically, the part that helped the most was that they instilled in us a strong, independent streak, which kept us from being swayed by the “crowd” that may be doing other things and from “going along with the crowd” in order to “fit in”.

When my nephew got into some trouble a few years back, my husband also wondered why some kids don’t make good decisions, when it was fairly easy for him to understand “right from wrong” as a teen. Nowadays, it is sometimes excused by saying the decision making part of the brain isn’t fully developed until 25 or so. (Maybe that theory contributes to the ongoing helicopter parenting through college). So, then how did those of us who knew what to do and what “not to do” at 16 or 17 manage to figure that out?

The other question I have, though, is why hasn’t Darwinism weeded out all the dumb decision makers and their offspring by now, if it is as “simple” as that?

bootney farnsworth

January 9th, 2013
4:12 pm

at the end of the day, all we can reasonably do is try to raise well grounded children with a strong sense of self and personal values. college is a high pressure situation for most kids, and usually comes without mom and dad there to help moderate decision making.

kids will drink and do drugs, they always have/will.
kids will have sex. always have/will.
unless we chain them to the basement wall, very little we can do about it.

one of the first young ladies who introduced me to “sin” was a BYU co-ed. it happens everywhere, even at the “best places”

what I’ve always done with mine is to try to raise them with good heads on shoulders, with an understanding of adult behavior coming with adult risks/consequences.

one things I have noticed over the years, the more strict the parents the more likely the child to run amok.

bootney farnsworth

January 9th, 2013
4:16 pm

I’m much more focused on girls not putting themselves in harms way by overindulging and thinking they are safe when very often they are not.

a high or hangover is survivalable -not fun, but survivable. rape, STDS, pregnancy are life changers.

Ann

January 9th, 2013
4:18 pm

@ mark – You’re fine, except for the potentially hidden impact on your health that may show up down the line in cancer, heart disease or other health issues.

Ann

January 9th, 2013
4:24 pm

My son is young, but if I had a teenage boy or girl, I would show him or her the videotape of the Ohio teenager in the Steubenville rape case (the drunk boy discussing whether the attack is rape or not). While I haven’t watched the full video, I saw enough to see that it could be a good example, for girls (in terms of what they could face while intoxicated) and for boys (to see how stupid other boys can be and to teach them how to step up and intervene in these situations).

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
4:29 pm

“But lowering the drinking age won’t do anything but increase it.”

I can believe that if you lower the drinking age back down to 18, that a few more people will drink. But will poor choices resulting from drinking increase? I am not so sure. The additional ones who will drink will be the ones who now don’t drink because it is against the law – these people would probably exercize good sense about drinking and not drink to excess or drink and drive. Also, by bringing 18-21 year old drinking “out of the closet”, there is more chance to supervise it and less chance it is underground. An 18-year old may go to a private party rather than risk going to a public bar – I believe the risk of bad things happening are much greater at the private party.

Also, if we lower that drinking age back to 18, we demonstrate that our sense of morality is reasonable and consistent. It is a little inconsistent to say, ” You are clearly adult enough to decide to join the Army, where you may be called upon to end another human’s life, adult enough to decide to star in a porno film, to sign a contract, to buy and smoke cigarettes, but you do not have the maturity to decide to have a beer or not.” I remember the days when you could be drafted to go kill the enemy, but could not vote for those making you go.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
4:32 pm

“Nowadays, it is sometimes excused by saying the decision making part of the brain isn’t fully developed until 25 or so.”

If that were the case, then we should not allow kids to join the Army until 25 (or sign a contract, or get married, or vote, ets. , etc. etc.)

AlreadySheared

January 9th, 2013
4:59 pm

@Mountain Man,
You, sir, are correct about lowering the drinking age BACK to 18.

Long ago, nothing irritated me more than to be going to work with loaded guns, in charge of 5 other guys with loaded guns, and yet still “too young” to drink legally.
What a bunch of twaddle.

skipper

January 9th, 2013
5:08 pm

Kudos, Mountain Man! Eighteen should definitely be the age. I was at UGA back in the ’70’s, and even then the Pandora, our annual, started off with: “The number one sport at Georgia is not football” and then showed how to mix different drinks. (Some of you out there may have a copy….it was the ‘78 or’79 one. The parties (Greek-Week and all) were pictured all over…..as were the down-town night-life highlights! Now, these kids are supposed to act like they are going to choir-practice? The lower death rate on the roads has to do with better safety-equipment in cars, and a crack-down on drunk driving. College kids have gone from being invited to happy-hour to being ticketed for under-age drinking. It is a crock, folks. There were not nearly the # of alcohol poisionings, etc. back then.

3schoolkids

January 9th, 2013
5:43 pm

The drinking age is irrelevant. Those that want alcohol or other illegal substances will find a way. I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve met who really think their high school kids spend all night “just” playing video games in the basement. It’s amazing what you hear (from parents AND kids) when chaperoning. Talk to any college freshman (female) and they will tell you how easy it is to visit the local restaurant/bar within walking distance of campus and not even need money or id to get drinks. Binge drinking is a culture problem not an age problem and I don’t believe it is related to prevention of use before 21. As long as the drinking/party culture is glorified on tv and in social media (so that the beverage companies and restaurant industry can sell more alcohol) we will have a problem with binge drinking. I do laugh at Mountain Man’s assumption that alcohol is not detrimental to your health. I lost 3 friends my freshman year of college in 2 drunk driving accidents that would argue differently if they could (sober victims of drunk drivers who were over 21 back when the drinking age was 18).