The University of Oregon’s Daily Emerald just published an article written by a British girl who went to a party in America and was shocked by what she found: in England, you see, partygoers have intelligent conversations and don’t get smashed. Americans, on the other hand, have a permanent Spring Break for life mentality. She goes on to explain how the Brits drink “wine and ale” and engage in conversations ranging from “politics to preferences of airlines.” Give me a break. Maybe if the writer didn’t go to a giant state university known for its drug culture, she could’ve debated Virgin Atlantic versus American Airlines all she wanted at another school.
Though the writer says the article isn’t “some finger-wagging lecture on why drinking is bad,” she goes on to do so the whole time without a single stat to back it up. She also adds that there is a “major issue with the level of alcoholic consumption in America.” Tell me something I don’t know! Since she won’t give her readers stats, I will: Alcohol is 45% more affordable in the UK than it was in 1980 and the misuse of booze costs the Queen 21 billion British Pound Sterlings a year in healthcare and crime. Drinking has decreased since the 80’s in Europe but rose by nine percent in her majesty’s kingdom. Also, in the last 10 years, alcohol-relate deaths rose by 20% while alcohol liver disease accounted for 37% of all liver disease deaths there. Does the US have its problems? Of course! But this has to be the ultimate pot calling the British teakettle black.
The writer found that in the US, the goal amongst college students at parties is to get as drunk as possible. (Actually, the new trend is prescription medication but perhaps the school she visited is behind the times.) She says that college students are “frugal” so they want their money’s worth and that their “quest for [getting wasted]would be admirable if it weren’t so consequential.” When she says “consequential,” she’s referencing stats from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism which reveal that 80% of college students drink, 50% of those binge drink; 1,800 students die a year from drinking; 690,000 students are assaulted by drunk people; 97,000 are raped by a drunk student; 599,000 are injured and 150,000 drunk students attempt suicide. Yes, this is alarming and it isn’t an “us versus them” issue; it’s an epidemic that makes Ebola look like a runny nose.
Her piece also explains that in other countries, people rarely drink anything besides “wine or ale” but in America students drink “bottles of (non-American drinks) vodka and tequila.” In short: 53,000,000 people live in England and 1.6 million of them are dependent on their pretentious drinks. Yet it’s American students that are the problem. We’re all part of the problem.
The US and five other countries (Fiji, Indonesia, Micronesia, Palau and Sri Lanka) have the highest drinking ages in the world at 21. The writer cites this and poor public transportation in America as the main culprits for excessive drinking cultures in the US.
“It allows drinking to be taboo,” she writes, adding that “not being able to casually drink somewhere public prohibits young adults from experiencing the normalcy of social drinking and having intelligent conversations while doing it.” But come on; there are plenty of college kids having conversations that are up to this Brit’s standards—they’re just not having them at her lame parties. Change social scenes, honey; don’t attack all of them.
The Daily Emerald calls for American drinking culture to change and I actually agree but all this article says is that drinking is only bad in the States. I honestly think the writer is mistaking politeness for a lack of a drinking problem. Rehabs wouldn’t exist in England if they weren’t big business. Collegiate Brits binge drink so much that French kids are emulating their behavior as they reject traditional French life. It’s not that America has a drinking problem; it’s that the world does.
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