The Way We Fathers Binged


Filed Under Latest News on Apr 1 

Thank you Britain for your cakes and ale. Or breakfast and ale. Or ale with anything, especially more ale or simply more booze. And thank you for the more recent phenomenon of binge drinking that has found fertile soil on college campuses in America. Kids die every year from alcohol related poisoning, and many more are victims of violence and rape fueled in part by alcohol. Prohibition, of course, was a disaster, and should not be on any serious list of recommendations for the problem of binge drinking in American Colleges. Specifically what is called pre-gaming: downing as much alcohol as you can in a couple of hours and seeing how sick you can get on one of many campuses across the land.

This is a nightmare in waiting for any parent sending their kids to college, but how serious a problem is alcohol abuse in America? At least compared to the rest of the world. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and yes the UK, all have higher levels of alcohol consumption according to the World Health Organization’s 2014 survey of alcohol patterns of consumption around the globe. And Eastern Europe is truly a disaster. But that does not excuse any reasonable concern over binge drinking on campuses. A concerned parent wrote in an editorial in the Washington Examiner that US News should include stats on binge drinking in their influential college ranking survey. It’s a provocative idea, but one that US News and other ranking systems seem loath to adopt for the fear of offending students hell-bent on partying. In Europe and the Americas the proportion of males, in general, who engage in episodes of heavy drinking, according to the WHO study, is an astonishing 31% and 29%. That’s nearly a third of all males, and is 2 and 1/2 times higher than the rates for females. A Harvard survey apparently put the percentage at 44% for college students at 120 campuses surveyed. That means that campus binge drinking is a more concentrated version of a general and accepted, if lamented, social trend. Specific restrictions in any given school may help, but the problem is far wider than kids getting wasted at their university. Abstinence, perhaps motivated by faith, can do wonders but so far at least, it has not solved the problem on a wider scale. Education is a slow and frustrating path and works when a clear majority agree that there is a problem. Maybe that should be the first step. For fathers, for example, to admit the way we behaved with booze while getting our degrees was not the smartest thing in the world. And that we fathers, without any martyr-like theatrics, should admit that we are part of a problem that does, in fact, exist.