Who’s really to blame for binge drinking?

By Richard Hackmann

After recently reading your May 1 article titled “Report: Excessive drinking increasing on U.S. campuses” I began to ask myself why it seemed that almost everyday when I opened a newspaper there was some sort of news story related to the topic of college binge drinking. Now, when looking back at United States history (i.e. the 1960s & 1970s among others) one will realize that this is not the first time American college students have undertaken risky, rebellious, and dangerous social behaviors. However, I feel that there is a dangerous distinction between some of the past substance abuse problems and those that exist today.

In the past this abuse appeared to be part of a larger counterculture movement that contained a somewhat clear political ideology behind it. Yet, now it seems that the binging is solely for the sake of binging. My problem with this, however, is that all too often the students of America’s major universities bear the brunt of the blame for this. I don’t understand why our society is so quick to blame the young people who are doing it when society could also look at the larger social problems this sort of activity reflects.

America is filled with binge eaters who are leading to a massive obesity problem, and because of this, America is dealing with binge diets used to counteract this problem. America also has a growing rate of stimulant medication abuse among its college students, yet that problem is often overlooked. Maybe the problem isn’t so much binge drinking, but binge living where young people are asked to excel in every aspect of life in a world where that is impossible to do.

Instead of placing all the blame on the individuals who are binging maybe one should recognize the reasons why they’re doing it.

Richard Hackmann

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