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(Minneapolis Star Tribune)   Underage drinking accounts for 20% of alcohol use in the US   ( divider line
    More: Obvious  
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2968 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Feb 2003 at 5:52 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2003-02-25 08:34:15 PM  

If you lost interest in alcohol after you turned 21, there's an interesting question I'd like to ask you: did you drink because you really enjoy the feeling of getting drunk, or did you drink mainly for the 'forbidden fruit' aspect of it?

I drank for years because I liked the alcohol-induced stupor, but it got to the point where the hangovers and morning-after regrets got so bad that they negated any real pleasure that drinking gave me. I've known a couple of guys in AA, and they both told me they considered alcohol to be a hard drug. They said that what makes one an alcoholic is that the hangovers get so bad that it's easier to be drunk 24/7. After a few years, one gets a 'wet' brain and is so addicted that quitting cold turkey could be potentially fatal.

As for cigarettes, one starts out smoking because it is ostensibly 'cool'; after a month or so of smoking with friends and actually inhaling, one realizes that it's not really as hip as Joe Camel makes it out to be
2003-02-25 08:36:46 PM  
I have a few questions for anybody with enough guts to admit they work in the mainstream media? (Doubt that any of you have the guts to out yourselves, but here goes.)
Why is the media so obsessed with promoting the nanny-state? Why does the media act as if 18 to 21 year olds are not adults? Why does the media act as if college drinking is a new phenominon, or is somehow more pervasive today than it was in 1960 or 1978? Why does the media never acknowledge that the drinking age was once 18 in many states?
I think the answer is that journalists today are just plain lazy.
Final thought. If the government insists on a 21 drinking age, then the minimum age for military service should also be set at 21. At least be consistent.
2003-02-25 08:37:52 PM  
...that it's not really as hip as Joe "Dickhead" Camel makes it out to be, but by then they have a raging nicotine addiction. In other words, R. J. Scumbag gets a lifelong customer who will smoke until they literally drop dead.

It's amazing how much money and energy that the legal drug pushers expend trying to make alcohol and tobacco look fun. To me, being cool has a lot to do with thinking for yourself and not being a tool of corporate slimeballs.
2003-02-25 08:40:56 PM  
20%, wow! Good thing underage drinking is illegal!
2003-02-25 08:43:39 PM  
Come *on*, people. "College students drink fifth of alcohol" would've been a much better headline.
2003-02-25 08:45:06 PM  
Well, I think the whole argument concerning alcohol and tobacco being legal versus random other drugs being illegal has merit, but I don't see any problem with the drinking age.

Obviously, a legal age limit does not stop under-agers (like myself, up until last week) from acquiring and consuming alcohol, but it does keep them paranoid of law enforcers. I think you're a lot more likely to get wasted in some place where you can't cause harm to others (a friend's house, field in the middle of nowhere, etc) if you're afraid of being caught drunk. The hope is that by the time you can legally drink, the novely has worn off and you'll be less likely to kill someone in a mind-altered haze.

This brings me to another point, though- not only is the driving age 16, you only have to score 70% to pass. I really don't like the idea of playing, "dodge the death trap" with 1000s of other people, some of which only got a f***ing C- on their driving test! You should have to get flight-school-equivalent training and pass with a high A (95+%) to be allowed to pilot a car.

Boy, if you want a good story about how corporations are more important than individual human beings in this age, read up on how public transportation died in America.

don't mind me, I have midterms this week
2003-02-25 08:45:36 PM  
I thought the "fifth of alcohol" headline was pretty funny--unfortunately, it might be lost on younger generations since a 'fifth' is now a 750-mL bottle...
2003-02-25 08:46:14 PM  
I'd be willing to bet that that 20% would be low to what it probably is here in Canada.
2003-02-25 08:46:50 PM  
If I may quote the Simpsons...

"When I was seventeen, I drank a very good beer, when I was 17. I used a fake ID, my name was Rudy Lee, when I was seventeen."
- Homer Simpson

Sherry Bobins: A boozehound named Barney lies there in the snow.
Barney: Buy me a beer! $2 a glass. Buy me a beer, a snifter of whiskey, a glass of wine, come on o people! I'm freezing my ass.
Moe: Get out ya bum, or I'll blow off your rear end.
Barney: I found $2!
Moe: Then come in my friend.
Sherry Bobbins: And so let us leave on this happy, dear scene
Bart: Can I be a boozehound?
Homer: Not till you're fifthteeeeeeeeeen.

I probably missed stuff, but oh well
2003-02-25 08:54:02 PM  
"Boy, if you want a good story about how corporations are more important than individual human beings in this age, read up on how public transportation died in America."

Hear, hear! I'm familiar with how the the Big Three car manufacturers, the oil companies, and the rubber industry ganged up in the early 50s to buy up the streetcar systems of many cities and demolish them. Sucks how we're spending billions on light rail to simply replace what was foolishly thrown away.

But, of course, that bit of corporate malfeasance, along with the Anheuser-Reynolds-fueled War on Pot Smokers is lost on John and Mary Ordinary. As long as they can waddle their overweight butts (thanks, McDonalds) out to their gas-guzzling (thanks, oil companies and Saudi Arabia) SUVs (thanks, Ford) and drive down to the local saloon and kill their few remaining brain cells on booze (thanks, Anheuser-Busch), they really don't give a shiat if their civil rights are being trampled upon...
2003-02-25 08:55:04 PM  
The problem could be fixed if the drinking age and the driving age were switched. No teenage accidents and extremely less underage drinking. (16 - drinking age; 19 to 21 - driving age)
2003-02-25 08:56:09 PM  
Anyone notice that they assumed that, because underagers consumed one fifth of the alcohol drank in America, that they spent one fifth the total money spent on drinking in America? That's BS. Underagers drink PBRs and Miller High Lifes form 7-11 at 40 cents a drink. The average 'legal' drink is probably bought from a bar at $3.50. These are some really lazy statisticians. Yikes.
2003-02-25 09:03:31 PM  
I call bullshiat. I am a lot more likely to believe the 11% cited in the article.
2003-02-25 09:05:31 PM  
Psycat: "Sucks how we're spending billions on light rail to simply replace what was foolishly thrown away."
Ah, but it wasn't foolishly thrown away, it was thrown away for the good of the companies that were doing the trashing!

Although I do get frustrated with the way things are, I try to take a nonbiased, logical view of things.. what I see is that America is not a country by and for its people, but by and for its corporations.

One could argue that major evolutionary steps have been made in the last few hundred years: the dominant species on the planet is no longer human beings, but companies!

Science fiction writers were worried about robots taking over, and as in the past, they're close to the mark. A human construct has surpassed humankind itself in the struggle for supremacy.

2003-02-25 09:11:46 PM  
If by "underage" they mean "legal adults" then yes, 20% sounds right.

"We can tote and vote but we can't drink beer!"
Well it would rhyme if I were drunk.
2003-02-25 09:13:13 PM  
I sincerely hope your dystopian view of the future is wrong, Chreekat, but I fear your assessment might be correct. But that's why there's the Church of the Subgenius, a group of non-conformists, zanies, and non-sheeple who stubbornly refuse to be turned into a producing, consuming Worker Unit. One of the Church's ways to fight the evil Pink bastards in power is to partake of the holy mindwarping herb Habifropzipulops (or 'frop). 'Frop may look like maryjane, may smell like maryjane, and may get you high like maryjane, but, brother, it ain't maryjane! Praise "Bob"!
2003-02-25 09:25:08 PM  
Hmmm must look up church of the subgenius, for information purposes. :)

Really though, I don't like getting drunk and I've never gotten stoned.. climbing a tree, or hacking (not cracking) under the influence of death metal, works pretty well for me.

I think I don't mind so much being a Worker Unit, but I just hope I can stay in charge of what I produce and what I consume. :)

...and that's it, I'm leaving this thread to eat, or something. I'm pretty off-topic anyway.

2003-02-25 09:30:38 PM  
Three Words: Missouri High School

(what we dont got nothing better to do than drink and screw)
2003-02-25 09:33:31 PM  
You really should check out the Church of the Subgenius at --it's the antidote for the modern Industrial Military Religious Corporate Complex. I'm getting bored with this thread m'self, due to lack of interesting counter-arguments from the pro-alcohol crowd. Time to get back to my real life...
2003-02-25 09:57:41 PM  
actually i'm 16 and smirnoff ice is pretty much the thing around here. at 7-8 bucks a 6 packs its pretty steep when u could get shiatty beer for 4 bucks. I wonder if it has anything at all to do w/ the massive ad campaign. hmm....
2003-02-25 10:07:23 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
drink up, boys!
2003-02-25 10:12:15 PM  
hehe. I'm glad I'm contributing to this statistic. I'm only 20! I'm legal in Canada and England (and supposedly Iowa too)
2003-02-25 10:33:57 PM  

Decriminalize The Weed
2003-02-25 10:41:21 PM  
Underage drinking accounts for 20% of alcohol use in the US

What...there's something wrong with that?
2003-02-25 10:49:14 PM  
We can probably assume that a majority, or even only half, occurs in college. That would make at least 10% of all alcohol consumption. But there are many college students that are 21 and older, about half maybe. That means that it is possible for college students to account for 25%, maybe a bit less, of all alcohol drank in the country.

Now since we are looking at about 6 "years worth" of people, and the life expectancy is ~70 we have 8% of the population drinking 25% of the alcohol! Now thats what I call a real effort.
2003-02-25 11:07:32 PM  
Although I agree with the 'fact' that weed should be legal as it is less damaging than tobacco and alcohol or whatever (by the way, I've never smoked it. Ate it, yes, but I digress) but the following is stupid:
"In other words, the legal drug pushers at Anheuser-Busch and R.J. Reynolds, et al., kill over 30 times as many people as the drug pushers on the other side of the law."

Could that possibly be that since the former is the legal while the later is not, that possibly more people do the legal thing than the illegal? Say drug A is legal and drug B is illegal, and both are equally as dangerous. But drug A sells 30 times as much as B do to the legallity (believe it or not, but to some people the threat of imprisionment does act as a deterent). So, no shiat more people die from drug A than drug B when more people are doing it.

My nickle's worth.
2003-02-25 11:14:35 PM  
Well now. I think that the legal drinking age should be eighteen in all states. If you're responsible to do it at 21 you should be responsible enough at 18. Also, I think pot should be legalized. Both of these substances are a matter of personal choice. You've got to know what you're doing with them.

An interesting side note for Psycat. Recent studies indicate that the lighter alcohol like beer and wine can be beneficial in keeping your arteries clean from plaque that causes heart disease. So they're not all bad. Still, anything at all that is psychoactive and mood/perception altering needs to be used VERY judiciously.

And Nfg05, In my area you can get a six pack of Black Label beer for like $3 or less, and it runs for like 8 something a case (24) That's what I drink if I'm in a rare drinking mood.
2003-02-25 11:54:49 PM  
"Could that possibly be that since the former is the legal while the later is not, that possibly more people do the legal thing than the illegal?"

Valid question. First, let's suppose, for argument's sake, that tobacco and alcohol have a comparable or lower death rate than illicit drugs, and the 30 times greater death rate can be attributed to their popularity due to their legal status. Would that still exonerate the tobacco and beer barons for the millions they've killed? Also, if we get hysterical towards the illegal drug pushers to the point of trashing our civil rights, shouldn't we be 30 times as hysterical towards the legal drug pushers?

However, I doubt that the death rate due to tobacco and alcohol is significantly lower than for illicit drugs. Something like 10 million Americans use illicit drugs (a conservative estimate using the drug warrior's figures)--to have a proportional death rate, 300 million Americans would have to use alcohol and tobacco to kill 30 times as many. There's only 280 million Americans, though--and perhaps 200 million of them are old enough to smoke or drink. Only 30% of adults (ie. 60 million) smoke and maybe 60-70% of them drink alcohol on a regular basis (120-140 million). So, it appears (by my admittedly back-of-the-envelope calculations) that alcohol and tobacco kill a disproportionately large percentage of drug users.

And, remember, almost all of those deaths from illicit drugs are caused by hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, and angel dust. And, due to their illegal status, they're cut with nasty chemicals and have wildly varying degrees of purity, which no doubt contribute to the death rate. (I wonder what the death rate was due to wood alcohol poisoning and adulterants during Prohibition?)

Since nobody has ever died of a THC overdose and since something like 40% of alcohol fatalities are simply caused by alcohol poisoning (as opposed to cirrhosis, etc.), the death rate from John Barleycorn is infinite compared to maryjane.


I've also seen the medical reports that show that moderate alcohol use is good for your arteries. What they consider moderate, though, is something like one glass of wine per day. Not really enough to get drunk, though.
2003-02-26 12:33:53 PM  
Meanwhile, 40% of all sick days are taken on Monday and Friday.
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