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Monthly Archives: November 2011

In my recent blog post about drinking in the young adult audience, I adressed the issue that alcohol is more serious than we realize in our society. We have all seen young people in society at maybe bars, on spring break cruises, girls nights out, or maybe just even on the street; there  always seems to be that group of college or high school kids that have had a bit too much to drink. They may be walking crookedly, taking shots, making out with the opposite sex and of course yelling loudly ( I have even been one of these young people). Adults give us this look of, “oh what has our generation come to” and walk hastily away.

 This is how young people are though, we study hard in school and we want to party hard on the weekends. It seems almost as if we are justified by society in our pusrsuit of a good time because we are young and only have a certain amount of  time to let our hair loose before adulthood. When adults look at intoxicated young people it’s almost always accomapnies a thought of ‘I remember those days’. Our society accepts and recognizes that as young people we are vivacious and this time will soon pass in our lives. However that’s the problem for many that time doesn’t end and can become a person’s whole life. Society thinks that alcohol is so innocent because it is legal, but don’t realize that we aren’t playing with innocent toys. This is something that controls our young developing brains and leads us to a road of destruction. It’s all fun and games before someone becomes addicted.

Let’s give an example. On Thursday night I was going to go out with a couple friends in the Castro district, to celebrate the end of midterms. We are warranted right; it’s been a hard week. In college, celebrating always means alcohol, because it seems that we need that in order to have a good time. It is so interesting how casual this idea seems to us, we don’t even realize how instilled this notion had become.  An aquatanice I see at the bar that night, gets to talking about how many drinks he has consumed. So I mention that I only have one drink a night because I have a problem with abusing alcohol. He laughs and says, ” I know what you mean, last year in school I was getting drunk everyday.” At this point I am quite surprised by his answer, because telling someone you have a drinking problem doesn’t seem to be a laughing matter to me. I also think to myself, maybe this guy has a bigger problem than me. Then I say well my counselor told me I should only drink one drink a night. The tone of the conversation totally changes and he says, wow ya if you have a counselor you really must have a problem.

This situation sums up all the things that are wrong with drinking culture around the world. This person was legitmantly drinking everyday to the point of intoxication and he believes that drinking is still a laughing matter. However I have never been to that point. I am trying to be a resposible adult and control my alcohol consumtpion before it gets too out of hand and I am the one with the problem. This shows that we don’t take drinking as serious as we should.

This sitaution showed me that we as a society have so many differnet ideas on what is correct and incoreect about alcohol consumption. So I am going to clear things up with what the experts say.

 The first and most important step is to realize that alcohol is a drug, and it has some serious side effects and consequences. Like alcohol poising, seizures and even death. It can also ruin relationships with friends, and make you loose your job and house. I believe that some people realize this but the next thought that comes into their minds is that can never be me.  According to the article titled, “A Snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences“, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 to 24 dies of alchol related causes and 31 percent of college age students have met the criteria for alcohol abuse.  Here is an article called, “What are the dangers of alcohol“, read this article for more information

The second step is to be honest about your realtionship with alcohol and know your limits. Here is a self test to let you know what a healthy relationship with alcohol looks like. On this website, it mentions something very important in the headline, one alcoholic drinks counts as 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine and 1.5 oz of hard liquor. Every person can handle a different amount of alcohol for their body weight, gender, and genetics. So it is important to know how many drinks makes you buzzed, tipsy and drunk. A good amount is under the .08 blood alcohol level which is the legal limit for driving. Check  this website out to learn more about blood alcohol levels and the number of drinks that are best for your body.

The third step actually comes down to action. After learning what is the correct limit for yourself, it would be harmless if an action didn’t arise from this knowledge. The most important thing is knowing how many drinks you are going to have before you even set foot in the bar. This makes it easier to stick to your limits if you are aware of it and have made a concious decision to abide by this. I am not saying don’t have fun, because even consuming the correct amount of alcohol can lead to a healthy buzz but without all the conseqences.

The most important thing about alcohol consumption isn’t the age limit but knowing your limits. I believe that every country should have a mandatory alcohol awareness class before they are able to drink. Similar to driver’s education. Until next time.

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From the very begining I have been talking about drinking patterns and cultures around the world, namely- because I want to discover the reason behind drinking ages in the world- drinking among our youth culture. It’s not just here in America but everyone wants to drink it seems whether you’re 11 or 25, it’s like alcohol has this pull on us. The thoughts of what alcohol can make us intrigues the cores of our being, I am just gonna say it, it’s seductive! As humans it seems that we all just want the ability to shut our minds off and be carefree so that’s why we turn to things outside ourselves.

I am going to be honest here I love drinking, not just a friendship but I have a serious I love you and want to marry you relationship with alcohol. I love everything from beer to wine to lemon drops and blueberry martinis. And being in college, it’s an easy culture to get into. It’s not as if I particularly enjoy the taste of alcohol but I enjoy what alcohol helps me become. Carefree, on top of the world, bold. I am 19 years old and cannot currently drink legally in America, and trust me before this blog post I would have cut off a toe if that would lower our drinking age. However diving deeper into this complex issue, I am starting to realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I had this ignorant idea that if drinking age was lower it would stop underage drinking because people would wait until they were of legal age.

After looking into a couple different countries like Italy and Germany who have drinking ages as low as 16, I realized that they still have a problem with underage drinking. Which seems crazy unbelievable to me but youth as young as 11 want to start imbibing. These countries are even talking about raising their drinking ages to 18 because of the amount of young people who have problems alcohol abuse. It seems that Germany’s culture is centered around alcohol, and not in that good way where people become acoustemed to the presence of alcohol and know their limits but in a way people are drinking all day everyday. In Italy things are better because it has more of a sipping culture that accompanies wine with meals but still the youth are starting to take it to the next level.

I am starting to thank our paranoid moms from MADD who enforce the legal drinking age of 21 in America and wonder if even 21 year olds cannot handle the responsibility. I am not going to lie this is a problem that I am apart of as well but I believe the first way to combat this problem across the globe no matter how old you are is to learn. If we can all learn how to handle ourselves while drinking no matter our age I believe that this will be the solution to our problem. I don’t think immaturity is entirely responsible for alcohol abuse, it is just a lack of knowledge. People don’t recognize how powerful a drug alcohol is and how serious the consequences can become. So over the next couple of blog posts I want to show young people what responsible imbibing looks like and shine the light on alcohol abuse and dependency. What better way then to go to the statistics? Until next time guys.

The first thing to come to my mind when I think of Italy is Rome, The Pope, good food, gelato and of course good wine. In my mind Italians are the classy Europeans when it comes to well everything especially drinking. It seems to me that Italians never drink to get drunk and always accompany their drinks with a good amount of pasta. Italians seem to enjoy the the taste of wine and drink  with an air of sensibility.

In the article titled, “A Sip Too Far: Italy Cracks down on Underage Drinking“, Jeff Israely says this about Italian drinking culture.  “Italy has always prided itself on a balanced — even divine — rapport with the strong stuff. Call it a sipping culture rather than a drinking culture: Italians traditionally serve wine at the family dinner table, with boys and girls often getting their first taste of alcohol around age 12..” This part of the article confirms my preconceived notions of Italians and their drinking culture, and I did see this openness but also a  sense of control to drinking when I traveled to Italy.

However Israely goes onto say “The national minimum drinking age of 16 is often ignored and rarely enforced.” He also quotes a Roman pub manager who argues “Lots of young people don’t even know what they’re drinking … They just [want] to get drunk.” The author of this article is trying to say that usually Italians are very refined in their drinking but since the drinking age isn’t enforced young people are starting to drink more recklessly. This makes sense to me because every young person wants to experiment everything life has to offer whether it’s alcohol or skydiving. This is true of all young people regardless of culture, whether you’re Italian or American.

In order to combat this underage drinking the city of Milan is trying to enforce the legal drinking age of 16 years. So now those only 16 years of age and older can buy alcohol and anyone caught supplying alcohol to someone underage or if someone is caught drinking in public who is under 16 will be fined 700 hundred dollars. After the Milan city council passed this legislation, the Italian Prime Minister encouraged other cities to follow Milan’s lead. Which has started in some other other cities now. The hard part about doing this is that it is illegal to ask someone for identification in Italy before being served alcohol. So it’s up to the bar or store decide how old the person looks.

What is this?! I applaud Milan for reacting to a growing problem among its youth but can a Prime Minister really do no more that just recomend that other cities start doing the same? Doesn’t he have the power to make the whole follow this legislation? In addition, coming from an American background where we card people until they are 30, how can there be an actual law not allowing for identification before buying or consuming alcohol? What is the sense of having a drinking age then? If Italy is going to care about it’s youths’ problem with drinking I feel it needs to start taking the problem seriously. Some people are but the problem not everyone feels the same way.

Courtesy of Italian Alcohol Comsumption on the Rise.