Let’s face facts – “just say no” efforts to curb underage binge drinking have failed.
Unintended consequences work in mysterious ways. Since graduating from college 38 years ago, I’ve watched politicians, college administrators, and various do-gooders try to control underage drinking. Yet all evidence, buttressed by direct personal observation, indicates that the harder authorities try to crack down on alcohol, the worse the problem becomes. As a new school year approaches, doesn’t it make sense to at least consider a different approach?
As with “safe sex” education that begins at a young age, we need to start conducting classes in “safe drinking.” This is not intended to condone, excuse, or promote reckless behavior any more than safe sex education is intended to promote wanton promiscuity. Rather, it is to acknowledge that many, if not most, college kids will drink no matter what their parents, instructors, or college administrators say or do. Given that immutable fact, wouldn’t it be better to arm them with the knowledge required to do it without hurting themselves or others?
Let’s start with the basics. Steer them towards beer. Making beer easily accessible might incline beginners to stay away from hard liquor, at least until they become a bit more experienced. Let me explain.
To read the rest of the column in Forbes, click here.