College is a time of great pride and happiness for most kids and parents. Parents are excited that their children have gotten into a university and the teens are excited to embark on their first adventure away from the nest. College gives teens the freedom they have been craving and gives parents that sense of self satisfaction that they raised a child on the path to success. The four glorious years of college are supposed to mold our children to become the future of our country. But not one cocktail at a time!
Nationally, college has come to symbolize frat parties and underage drinking. After many recent deaths from alcohol poisoning at several universities, Minnesota is the first state to ban limitless drinking at college bars. The state may be the pioneer we need to prevent our children from drinking themselves into destruction.
Move over “land of 10,000 lakes,” because Minnesota’s new nickname is going to be a lot dryer than that! A new law, which went into effect January 1 of this year, has effectively eliminated all “bottomless drinking” specials at bars, as well as all drinking specials after 11 p.m. That means that no longer can bars offer $20 all you can drink for the entire night, encouraging kids to drink. After the deaths of three college students linked to alcohol in the past four months, Minnesota has put its collective foot down. Minnesota Congressman Lanning said, “All kinds of bad things happen to students as a result of binge drinking.” Duh!
Bar owners disagree with this policy — not a shock-tail considering the business they have to lose. They responded by saying the ban is actually a bad thing. “You’re just going to be pushing them to the house parties, the “keggers,” to a totally unsupervised area,” stated a Minnesota bar owner. While they do have a point, this mother of two still thinks their financial interests may outweigh their true concern for our childrens’ safety.
But don’t worry folks, bar owners have found ways around the bottomless drinking ban. Bars now simply offer $1 beers or $2 mixed drinks before 11 p.m. — effectively allowing students on a short budget to still drink like fish. Many are even worried that these restrictions may even encourage MORE drinking, in part because students are going to want to drink as much as they can before the deals end. So, is there a solution to our children’s binge drinking problem? It doesn’t look like frat parties will be serving Shirley Temples anytime soon.
You may be surprised to hear about a new study showed that Minnesota is home to more binge drinkers than almost anywhere in the nation, other states are not far behind. Nationally, a Harvard School of Public Health study found that 44 percent of collegians binge drink. The study also found that college may be the catalyst in these children’s chain reaction into drinking so heavily. The college graduation age, 21, has even been found to be the peak age for binge drinking across the country. To show how startling the college binge drinking epidemic is, would you be surprised to learn that 12,000,000 undergraduates drink four billion cans of beer every year? I sure was!
The long term risks of alcohol include everything from liver damage, to pancreatitis, to certain cancers, and even literal shrinkage of the brain. Not to mention the short term effects, alcohol poisoning and immediate death! Three Minnesota college students found out the hard way. In a $115 billion industry in the United States alone, it’s not unusual for us parents to feel like its David vs. Goliath. Don’t panic though, because we can help!
Although parents cannot physically be there every time our child is offered a drink, we can help to shape their decision making process. Parents are responsible for their children’s upbringing up until they are 18, or go to college. The pressures to binge drinking can be avoided somewhat if we educate our children. Actively educating our children on the detrimental effects of alcohol could lead to a healthier, and hopefully dryer, solution.
And alcohol should not be some secret, mysterious thing that adults get to do! Something we don’t talk about. Parents, your teens (even the honor students) have probably at least had an opportunity to try alcohol. Teaching kids about sex educates them about the consequences — alcohol-Ed if you will — should eliminate the mystery of drinking, and teach them the consequences of that choice.
Explaining to our children the dangers of alcohol in an accurate, caring, and unbiased way, could alleviate at least some of our worries. So, when talking to your kids be honest, be informative, and be straightforward. After all, binge drinking and college are not a good mix.*Disclaimer
The information contained in this Web site feature entitled “LIS ON LAW,” is provided as a service to visitors of foxnews.com, and does not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney client relationship. FOX NEWS NETWORK, LLC makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site feature and its associated sites. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of your own counsel.
Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.