Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drinking.

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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Jun 01, 2006 5:03 pm

Hoke wrote:Which brilliant legislative and parental thinking led to the interesting situation where one county was at 19 years old, and the next county was at 18 years old, and (quite literally) hundreds of kids every night, with lots more on the weekends, driving up to the next county, getting bombed out of their minds, and then driving back home, with the usual litter of crashed vehicles and dead bodies scattered willy-nilly along the highways.


Just curious--in what state was this done on a county-by-county basis? I thought this was usually handled state-by-state. Still, the situation you describe did indeed occur at the Massachusetts/Connecticut border, when Massachusetts raised the drinking age from 18 to 19, but Connecticut still had it at 18.

Another question on this topic: what constitudes "abusive" and "pathological" drinking according to this report? I've seen some surveys and reports from neo-prohibitionist sources where if you had four beers at a weekend party, they'd class that as a "binge".

-Paul W.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Thomas » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:10 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:
Hoke wrote:Which brilliant legislative and parental thinking led to the interesting situation where one county was at 19 years old, and the next county was at 18 years old, and (quite literally) hundreds of kids every night, with lots more on the weekends, driving up to the next county, getting bombed out of their minds, and then driving back home, with the usual litter of crashed vehicles and dead bodies scattered willy-nilly along the highways.


Just curious--in what state was this done on a county-by-county basis? I thought this was usually handled state-by-state. Still, the situation you describe did indeed occur at the Massachusetts/Connecticut border, when Massachusetts raised the drinking age from 18 to 19, but Connecticut still had it at 18.

Another question on this topic: what constitudes "abusive" and "pathological" drinking according to this report? I've seen some surveys and reports from neo-prohibitionist sources where if you had four beers at a weekend party, they'd class that as a "binge".

-Paul W.


Paul,

While the state has overall control, alcohol policy within a state does not preclude counties from opting to be "dry." Texas was, and still may be, among one the best examples of that situation.

I remember when I lived in Maryland in the late sixties and early seventies that each county had its own regs. We used to have to go to the next county if we wanted to buy alcohol on Sunday.

I further remember when the word "binge" defined a clinical condition whereby an alcoholic stopped drinking for a while and then went on rampant drinking sprees for days at a time. It's a loaded word that neo-prohibitionists have co-opted.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:25 pm

Thomas wrote:I further remember when the word "binge" defined a clinical condition whereby an alcoholic stopped drinking for a while and then went on rampant drinking sprees


I have always deplored that term - 'wine tasting' seems so much genteel than 'binge'.......although I AM willing to accept characterisation as 'rampant'..... :twisted:
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Thomas » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:58 pm

Bill,

The next wine and food tasting I sponsor will be titled: A Rampant Repast!
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Bill Spohn » Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:02 pm

Thomas wrote:Bill,

The next wine and food tasting I sponsor will be titled: A Rampant Repast!


Uh...I think THOSE are referred to as orgies, Thomas.... :oops:
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul Winalski » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:12 pm

Thomas wrote:While the state has overall control, alcohol policy within a state does not preclude counties from opting to be "dry." Texas was, and still may be, among one the best examples of that situation.


Or even towns. The town of Rockport, MA, had been dry for nearly a century, ever since the Women's Christian Temperance Union went on a rampage and smashed all of the barrels and bottles at all of the public establishments in town. They only just voted to allow alcohol sales in restaurants a year or two ago, after persistent complants from their restaurants that they were losing tourist trade to the town of Gloucester, next door.

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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Hoke » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:10 pm

And Dallas, Texas, is wet by district...so that on one side of the street it is dry, on the other side of the street it is wet.

In Texarkana you can walk across State Line Road (which is literally that, the state line). The Arkansas county is wet; the Texas county is dry.

But what I was referring to originally is different from that. It pertained to the drinking age, not wet and dry areas. It was in Wisconsin, where the drinking age for beer was 18 in one county and 19 in the other.

The other nonsensical drinking law that often pertained was not allowing establishments to serve you liquor by the drink. I remember my parents having to go out to these curious places where a package store would be on one end of the building, and a "lounge" would be on the other end (and usually the same person owned both establishments).

To have a drink you would have to go into the package store and buy a bottle. Then you'd have to walk into the lounge and the waitress would bring you (and charge for) the "set-ups"--ice, glasses, cola, mixes, etc., depending on the type of drink you wanted, and you would have to mix your own drink.

Since the law did not allow opened beverage alcohol containers to leave the building or be in a vehicle, you were then faced with the choice of either leaving the partially-consumed bottle behind or drinking it up before you left...which put you in the interesting position of getting blitzed from drinking the whole bottle when all you wanted was one drink. Did I say brilliant already?
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Tim York » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:07 am

Europe is far from homogeneous in its drinks culture.

Italy, which you cite, seems to me to have perhaps the best balanced approach. Wine, in particular, is widely considered an essential part of a civilized meal and there seem to be few hang-ups about adolescent consumption. However public drunkeness is rare and heavy drinking is socially unacceptable.

My native Britain is quite different. Binge drinking seems to be considered cool in many circles and is widespread and growing problem amongst youth and football supporters. Some city centres are becoming no-go areas for the sober on Saturday nights. The image of England on the European continent is heavily conditioned by the loutish and destructive behaviour of drunken Englis football supporters in city centres whenevr an English team is playing. (The Scots claim to be different). Of course we have our puritans in Britain; indeed they beheaded a king in the 17th century! But I'm not sure that this influences the drinks culture nowadays.

France is another case. Its traditional food and wine culture is much admired outside france. But inside France the government has been waging pretty sucessfully for a decade or so a campaign to demonise alcoholic consumption and to denigrate the wine culture. Wine is not Politically correct and is increasingly regarded as old-hat (ringard). Indeed there was an ugly side to the traditional French wine culture. Two generations ago alcoholism was a widespread social problem particularly in French blue-collar classes; it was not not binge drinking but steady consumption through the day of more than 1 litre of rot-gut plonk. Deaths from cirrhosis of the liver were numerous as were alcohol related road deaths. One has to applaud the spectacular french improvement in this respect but it seems to have been achieved at the cost of a balanced approach to wine and food culture. Religious puritanisn plays no role in france.

Other European countries have their own peculiarities. If one can generalise, binge drinking seems more prvalent the further North one travels.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:58 am

Tim York wrote:Italy, which you cite, seems to me to have perhaps the best balanced approach. Wine, in particular, is widely considered an essential part of a civilized meal and there seem to be few hang-ups about adolescent consumption. However public drunkeness is rare and heavy drinking is socially unacceptable.)

Tim, thanks for the wonderfully informative yet concise post. Based on what you've written about the situation in Italy and what I've also heard others say (i.e. similar observations), I think that Italians have the most admirable, most correct view of wine as a part of the culinary and social culture. That, to me, is the way that wine should be viewed. How I wish that in North America we could approach it that way. The reason it isn't approached that way here probably has to do with the fact that far less acreage, percentage-wise, is covered in vines in North America than in Italy. Wine is just such a normal, everyday reality in Italy that over the centuries, people have found a correct and proper place for it in their overall culture. I find this beautifully civilized. Then again, I have always admired Italy and its wonderful people.

Tim York wrote:France is another case. Its traditional food and wine culture is much admired outside france. But inside France the government has been waging pretty sucessfully for a decade or so a campaign to demonise alcoholic consumption and to denigrate the wine culture. Wine is not Politically correct and is increasingly regarded as old-hat (ringard).

Tim, I've heard about this happening in France too, and am frankly bewildered by the mentality that seeks to do this. French achievements in the field of wine are so great that it makes me wonder - with uncharacteristic cynicism - what the proponents are really up to in their drive to enforce the view that wine is ringard. Could it be that the few individuals leading this thing are themselves anti-alcohol, and are just imposing their philosophy legislatively? Could it be some kind of globalization effect that's causing the problem (e.g. an erosion of the attachment of French citizenry to the grand culinary traditions of their forefathers)?
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:20 am

"[I wonder] what the proponents are really up to in their drive to enforce the view that wine is ringard."

Health and other social costs are the major reasons the French government cites for seeking to reduce wine consumption, Paul. A major economic study several years ago, since updated regularly, puts those costs higher than tobacco and drugs, especially in certain economic classes.

They may be mis-analyzing their economic data, but French officials believe there are economic costs as well as benefits from being the largest per capita wine drinking country in the world. The estimates of the costs run a little over one percent of France's GNP.

A typical study appears at http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/co ... ll/36/1/89 , but there are many others available online and in bookstores or libraries. As Tim points out, there doesn't seem to be any religous Puritanism at work here, just a typical French practicality.

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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Thomas » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:52 pm

Interesting Bob,

The French didn't seem to study the problem when the wine industry and its ancillary industries accounted for a double-digit percentage of the French economy.

To Paul B,

Many years ago I read a statistic that showed the Italians, who drank more wine per capita than most any other ethnicity, also suffered low, low rates of alcoholism. That was when they stayed in Italy. When Italians migrated to the U.S., it took one generation here to change their alcoholism stats for the worse.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Hoke » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Excellent post, Tim. Good analysis.

Your last point touches on a pet theory of mine regarding social customs, traditions, attitudes and behaviors as effected by climate:

If one can generalise, binge drinking seems more prvalent the further North one travels.


Once can generalize, I think.

I've always thought that the basic divide is between the temperate/warm climate regions, those conducive to viticulture, have a more balanced view of alchohol in large part because that area both encourages wine (a moderate alcohol beverage based on fruit) and discourages heavy (or binge) consumption because of the warmth (getting stinking drunk is not all that enjoyable when it's hot and you're out and about, versus being stuck in the house when it's freezing outside :) ).

On the other hand, when you go further north, you have the grain-based culture, where the fermented/distilled beverages are either beer or ardent spirits from grain (Scotch, Irish, gin, etc.). Those are much more conducive to non-food experiences, hence less moderation, and seem often to be more social-bonding and celebratory in nature, if not actually with the express intent of getting sh$t faced.

So I think those more northerly climes have their attitudes toward consumption fashioned and influenced in part because of the climate.

Outside of some teens in their early experiential years, you seldom see groups of people coming together in a wine bar to get rowdy and see how much they can challenge each other to get blasted out of their minds, and then brag about how much the practiced the rainbow yawn, and how terrible they felt the next morning. :) Yet you almost expect that in a bar.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:08 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Health and other social costs are the major reasons the French government cites for seeking to reduce wine consumption, Paul.

It's a noble goal, no doubt - if only they'd drive home a message of cultured enjoyment of wine, as opposed to villifying it. We have seen the fruits of such villification of alcohol on our continent, and I dare say that those fruits can be pretty mean and rotten.

Sorry to keep harping on about it, Bob, but the very rarely seen cynic in me just can't help but look for ulterior motives in this latest attack on wine in France.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:10 pm

Thomas wrote:Many years ago I read a statistic that showed the Italians, who drank more wine per capita than most any other ethnicity, also suffered low, low rates of alcoholism. That was when they stayed in Italy. When Italians migrated to the U.S., it took one generation here to change their alcoholism stats for the worse.

Thomas, that is fascinating. I think that there must be something in the "more is better", high-paced, high-achievement society that we North Americans live in. Power lunches, power binges - blech. It all has to come from somewhere.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:48 pm

Studies on controlling health costs had very little to do with wine economies, and a great deal to rising health costs in the face of declining economic growth. France has long had almost universal coverage of health benefits paid for mainly by government.

In the 1980's, 1990's, even today, there is a serious focus on controlling health costs in France. There have been a number of atempts to do so -- fining doctors, as one example. Here's a typical example from 1997: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/ ... 5/7113/895

My involvement with French medical costs ended at about that time, but I followed their efforts for 20 years before then -- price controls and a number of other initiatives were tried -- some successfully, some not. One of the major strategies recently has been prevention, and that strategy has been quite successful in the area of wine where per capita consumption has generally fallen over the past 30 to 40 years, in part because of consumer preferences. The government has been one factor in dropping per capita consumption from 126 liters to 56 liters over that period, but I find it hard to see that as the only reason.

It seems to be much less successful in reducing tobacco consumption.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:50 pm

" ulterior motives "

What are they, then, Paul.

After all, the government in France pays for virtually all health costs, and it would be foolish not to try to control costs. At least accept that controlling health costs might be one factor.

What are others hypotheses do you have?

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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:05 pm

I'm entertaining the possibility, but I admit that I don't know for sure.

Basically, the alarm words for me center around the attempt to make wine seem unfashionable - ringard - when wine is in fact a beautiful art and cultural pursuit. Therefore, question marks go off above my head when I see an attempt to re-make wine in such an unfortunate image.

I think that they should stress the fact that viticulture and winemaking are noble pursuits, and that their place in the culture is equally noble - as is the responsible enjoyment of wine. I'd be all for such a policy ... not one that tries to villify wine.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:07 pm

Would such a policy be effective in reducing health costs? Regards, Bob
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul B. » Fri Jun 02, 2006 2:42 pm

Now that I can't say for sure. I've never bean (pun intended) much of a fiscal type ... :lol:
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Paul Winalski » Fri Jun 02, 2006 3:27 pm

Tim York wrote:Europe is far from homogeneous in its drinks culture.

Other European countries have their own peculiarities. If one can generalise, binge drinking seems more prvalent the further North one travels.


Alcoholism is a major problem in the Scandinavian countries, and apparently there are some rather draconian laws there concerning purchase of alcoholic beverages. John Cleese did a hilarious comic documentary on Norway. There is one sketch in the film concerning purchase of alcohol. In it, we follow a seedy-looking man in a trenchcoat into what's obviously a red light district. He furtively enters a movie theater. The audience consists of a bunch of other seedy-looking men in trenchcoats, all furtively sitting alone scattered around the theater. The film starts, and it consists entirely of bottles of vodka, skotch, whisky, and brandy, draped with feather boas or frilly neglige-type material, and leaning in suggestive poses on couches or divans or whatnot. As the scenes change and each new bottle is displayed, there are moans of lustful desire from the dirty men in the audience.

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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drinking.

Postby Peter May » Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:33 pm

Bob Ross wrote:According to a study by a research team from Columbia University, more than a third to nearly a half of all liquor industry revenue in the United States comes from sales to underage drinkers and adults who abuse alcohol.

Any comments on the validity of the study itself?



I cannot take seriously anything that brackets the abuse of alcohol with underage drinking, when adults of 18-20 who enjoy alcohol are counted as underage.

OK, it may be illegal in the USA but in most of the rest of the world these 'underaged drinkers' are considered adults who wouldn't have any problem buying a beer in a bar.
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Thomas » Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:05 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Would such a policy be effective in reducing health costs? Regards, Bob


Bob,

Maybe health cost explains the French attitude, but in this land of opportunity the govt. doesn't give a rat's tail about our health care costs, maybe even encourages its rise.

Barring the obvious death by accident, which, as Hoke pointed out, might best be lowered by actually applying present law instead of fabricating new law, what other reason would such studies be brought to our attention?
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Re: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine on underage/abusive drink

Postby Tim York » Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:47 am

Good points, Hoke.

In addition to climate, another factor which may or may not have significance going further North is religion.

The more northern European countries, where there tend to be binge drinking cultures, also tend to be predominantly protestant. Protestantism tends to breed a guilt complex about drink whose strength seems to be proportionate to the "lowness" of the branch of the church concerned. I was brought up in the Anglican church which quite easy going in this matter as well as in most others.

Southern Europe, where there is a more balanced approach to drink, tends to be predominantly catholic. France was catholic but is now is predominantly secular except for births, deaths and marriages. As far as I know, catholicism has never engendered a guilt complex about drink, although there is a strong social disapproval of excess consumption and drunkeness in the Mediterranean countries.

An exception is Ireland; a very catholic northerly country with a damp temperate climate most of whose inhabitants have never been suspected of being particularly abstemious.
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Today's World

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:44 am

Perhaps this was mentioned, I haven't read everything, but the stereotype of Europeans being much more sensible about alcohol than those of us on this side of the pond is breaking down very quickly. However things used to be, the reality is that France now has some of the strictest DWI standards you will encounter anywhere, prompted by the carnage on their highways as a direct result of drinking. This is not to say that the model of sensible drinking with meals, and educating children about alcohol in this way, is something not to be emulated, but that it is fast becoming a thing of the past. If you believe that the way to improve the American approach to alcohol is by importing the European model, well, the reality is that the balance of influence is moving largely in the opposite direction.
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