Monday, March 12, 2007

It's not OK

I participated in a discussion recently in a group looking for a rubric, a slogan, a motto, if you will, to use to “push” underage drinking prevention activities in all their permutations. I liked one brought up by someone in the room (thanks Bruce), not necessarily invented by him, but something he felt would be a good choice:

“It’s not OK”

I like it. It’s simple, yet covers a lot of what we will be doing in our efforts to decrease underage drinking.

It’s not OK for parents to buy alcohol for underage kids and/or allow drinking parties for underage kids in their house. It’s not OK for older siblings or friends to provide alcohol for underage drinking. It’s not OK to drink and drive or ride with someone who is drinking and driving. It’s not OK to drink when you are underage. It’s not OK to “target” ads or products at potential underage drinkers. It’s not OK that the number 1 “date rape drug” (alcohol) is so readily available and so under-feared/under-respected.

It’s not OK.


Anonymous said...

Hi Great blog you have, very interesting--I wonder if you could answer a question..often when someone dies or is found dead they attribute the death to "natural causes" I understand that when someone is elderly, but what about when its a younger person?? Exactly what fits under the category for natural causes?? Thanks !!

Dr. Richard Keller said...

Natural deaths in "young" (realizing that that is a relative term) folks would include things like cancer of various types, lung disease (including things like severe asthma and cystic fibrosis), heart disease (coronary artery disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hypertensive heart disease, etc) seizure disorder, and diabetes and its complications.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy this blog a great deal and I usually agree with your posts, but I do not agree with your "It's Not OK" post.

By taking such a hard line on underage drinking we seem to be ignoring the real problem which in my opinion is all too pervasive in our society. I will call it the "drink-to-get-drunk" tendency. When Americans of all ages drink alcohol, they often drink large quantities of alcohol.

My wife and I were raised in a more European tradition regarding alcohol. We often have a single glass of beer or wine with our evening meals. I enjoy heavier German style beers and I doubt anyone would enjoy more than a single glass of these rich beers.

In time, I hope to continue this tradition with our children and I doubt I will wait until they are 21.

Because I grew up with a different attitude toward wine and beer, I was amazed to discover the prevelance of binge drinking in the United States when I went to college. American culture tends to celebrate the "drink-to-get-absolutely-drunk" mentality.

American beer such as Budweiser is brewed so it can be consumed in large quantities. I wish the "It's not OK" people would direct their energy at the problem of binge drinking and the cultural forces that encourage binge drinking.

Having been raised in a family environment with more liberal attitude toward alcohol, I am often amazed that hard-liners on the drinking age often abuse alcohol in their own personal lives. So, we often have a "Do as I say, not as I do" argument that led us to Prohibition in the 1920's.

In a previous post, you talk about how it is not possible to scare teenagers to change their irresponsible behavior. Yet, you seem to favor a draconian approach to underage drinking.

Wouldn't alcohol education make more sense? Most Europeans know the extent to which binge drinking leads to brain damage and other problems, but these facts are not well known among Americans.

Dr. Richard Keller said...

This problem must be addressed in a multi-pronged fashion. I agree that education is key. A very critical part of that education is toward the parents, including regarding the behavior that they are modeling. But I feel as well that the underlying premise must be that the behaviors I mentioned, as well as others, are not OK.