I’ll be honest. The only thing getting me through this past week was the reminder that spring break was only days away. I’m in need of a week of relaxation.I’m sure most of you will be flocking to destinations so famous for spring break that MTV devotes a whole week to broadcasting from the beach. Panama City alone draws more than 400,000 college students to its shore every year. No doubt there will be a lot of underage and excessive drinking.
When you put thousands of scantily-clad college students together, there is going to be partying, but why does it have to be excessive and dangerous?
According to the Journal of American College Health, during spring break, the average male reported drinking 18 drinks per day and the average woman reported 10 drinks per day. That’s every day. For a week. How can anyone so intoxicated make clear decisions?
It’s called getting wasted, because (duh) you are wasting your body, your mind, and your morals.
But this isn’t about warning you against the harmful effects of alcohol. I’m sure you’ve heard all that before. Rather, I wonder what kind of society we live in that views binge drinking as an acceptable pastime.
If someone came out to be and flat out said, “I don’t like being able to think clearly, and I am going to use my spare time to make myself black out and forget what I did.” I would think that person is stupid, immature, and probably in need of some sort of counseling.
But excessive alcohol use is not uncommon amoung young adults. In fact, it seems to be the expected norm.
About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 years in the United States is in the form of binge drinks, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. And about half of all binge drinkers are in the 18-21 age group. Is getting wasted actually enjoyable or is it just a form of rebellion to a drinking age much higher than our European counterparts?
“Gee, I’m going to drink so much, I lose all my inhibitions and reasoning skills, dehydrate my body, vomit, harm my liver, pass out, and not remember any of it only to wake up with a massive headache the next day. That’ll show everyone I’m an adult.”
No it won’t, but it will prove to lawmakers that adults 18-21, who have the rights to vote, rent, marry, serve in the military, etc., do not have the brain functions to use alcohol appropriately. To respond to these adults who can’t act like adults, lawmakers are forced to spend time and money fighting against the underage drinking and binging culture.
Even with programs trying to stop binge drinking by providing information, students are going to act irresponsibly, especially during spring break when surrounded by thousands of other high school and college kids who converge only to get plastered and have sex.
Binge drinking should be exposed as exactly what it is (a self-harming, irresponsible action) instead of a rebellious rite of passage.
Lowering the drinking age to 18 would make drinking less of an alluring taboo. Then students might drink only as much as they can handle.
The 1920s is known for its flowing liquor and speakeasies. Why? Because it was illegal.
Why is spring break known for excessive drinking? Because underage drinking illegal, and binge drinking is risqué.
I’m not saying a lowered drinking age will cure the problem of binge drinking completely, but I believe it would reduce the number of college students who chose to drink excessive amounts at a time.
Spring break can still be a fun, relaxing vacation with friends. There can even be alcohol involved. But it has to be used responsibly or more people are going to suffer the physical effects of too much alcohol and the emotional effects of poor decisions made under the influence.
So I’m asking everyone to enjoy a week away from the stresses of school. But during the week, drink only to relax and enhance your good time, not to loosen your morals or reasoning, and definately not to harm your body so much you pass out.
And if you can’t drink alcohol without going too far, then you should seriously consider not drinking a drop and staying away from influences that encourage drinking.
We can’t afford to be a generation so eager to pass out from alcohol consumption that an entire week is devoted to the activity. Just as excessive drinking begins with peer pressure, it has to end with peer pressure too.