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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Britain wise to consider happy hour ban

    In two days, it’ll be socially acceptable to gorge yourself until New Year’s and gain weight, which will take effort to lose. People tend to worry less about what they eat this time of year, and the holiday season also provides an excuse to drink more alcohol.

    The temptation to overdrink alcohol may have to be slightly suppressed, at least in Britain where a ban on “”happy hour”” discounts at bars and restaurants is being considered, according to a recent Associated Press article. If you’re considering studying abroad over there, keep this in mind in case you want to travel abroad in order to drink whenever and wherever at all times of the day. Obviously, this plan hopes to curb drinking, and it results from a rise in liver-related deaths among young people. According to health advocates, such an increase may result in an eventual epidemic.

    For years, I’ve heard the clichéd complaint that the alcohol age limit in the United States needs to be lowered. Many cannot understand why it’s acceptable for a person to tie the knot at 18, yet be unable to legally imbibe at his own wedding. The same critics find it unfair that someone can be old enough to fight and die for the country, yet still be prohibited from drinking alcohol.

    Above all else, I question why everyone seems so concerned with making alcohol more accessible. Are relaxed alcohol laws more important to everyone than law enforcement? If anything, people should fight to protect the alcohol laws as they stand now.

    It’s disturbing to hear about drunk driving-related deaths, fatal episodes of alcohol poisoning and date rapes as a result of alcohol abuse. According to a report by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 60 percent of college women who have acquired sexually transmitted diseases were under the influence of alcohol when they had intercourse. The same study found that 90 percent of reported campus rapes occur when alcohol is being used by either the assailant or the victim. With common knowledge and these statistics in mind, why do so many vehemently advocate the lowering of the drinking age? The United States could benefit from following Britain’s lead and possibly implementing similar laws.

    The overstated, misguided claim is that everyone under 21 is going to drink anyway, so there’s no reason not to enable underage and assist underage drinkers. Others also argue that drinking laws are more lax in European countries, therefore the 16-year-olds heading to a bar are less likely to stumble home puking from alcohol poisoning and later die. Though Europeans may demonstrate a more mature approach to drinking, the new proposal obviously stemmed from a serious problem with British youth and their alcohol consumption. It’s not outrageous to state that underage drinking is also a problem here in the United States where many young drinkers behave as if they have the right to go wild with their drinking habits whenever they want.

    In July 2008, university presidents and chancellors across the United States gathered to sign the Amethyst Initiative, a movement seeking to reconsider drinking age laws in response to the “”reality of life on a college campus,”” said President Jack Ohle of Gustavus Adolphus College.

    Amethyst Initiative supporters believe U.S. laws should conform to the illegal behavior of college students simply because there are so many young students drinking in a dangerous manner. Is there any room for personal responsibility in this initiative? It doesn’t appear so. Thankfully, our own university president did not sign the petition, as reported in the Aug. 29, 2008 edition of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.

    “”From my perspective, I do not believe the issue (of underage drinking) is sufficiently simple to be solved by lowering the drinking age. I have not signed the petition,”” said President Robert Shelton.

    One of the British health advocacy groups said some of the young victims of liver-related deaths were presently demonstrating signs of liver-related damage commonly found in older people. “”We’re seeing a steep increase of deaths in people in their 20s and 30s,”” British Liver Trust spokeswoman Imogen Shillito said. “”This indicates a big problem for many years to come.””

    While many support the lowering of the drinking age in the United States, the situation in Britain needs to be taken seriously here. Now that the youth of Britain will probably lose happy hour, Americans should realize that the drinking laws are in effect for a legitimate reason.

    – Laura Donovan is a creative writing junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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