Atlanta College Freshmen Need Georgia MIP Classes

This is the fifth in a series of blogs discussing the issue of binge drinking generally, and its abuse on college campuses throughout the country. Did you go to college? Did you live ion campus? If so I guaranty you or someone you knew binge drank.

In previous blogs we discussed the possible merits of making all American campuses dry. Yes, that means banning booze in all forms. We also looked at the possibility of universities cracking down on all underage drinking, so those over 21 would be free to drink responsibly. As reported in

Is it even possible to change the social dynamic of college life by taking alcohol out of the picture? Would students flock to other drugs like marijuana or ones that are even easier to hide like pills?

What do you think should be done about binge drinking on college campuses? As a parent are you worried about your child engaging in this dangerous activity.

In my last class I had a parent whose 20-year-old had been recently hospitalized after alcohol poisoning at his frat house. He also has had Georgia DUI and MIP violations. His parents have both quit drinking in an effort to support their child. They would welcome banning booze on campus.

What do you think?

Hsu told CBS Atlanta in an email that researchers involved wanted to specifically focus on the motivation for a student to drink unsafe amounts of alcohol despite knowledge of its harmful effects.

“There are a lot of alcohol education programs in the U.S., and students are aware that [there are] negative consequences to binge drinking … like being at higher risk for sexual assault, violence, drunk driving, future alcohol dependency,” she said. “They know that they can get in trouble with school authorities and with the law. If they persist in binge drinking despite this, they must be some kind of other positive motivation for doing so.”

Monica Swahn, a professor at the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University, was alarmed by the findings and their allusion to a dichotomy between student knowledge of the negative effects of drinking and the desire to enrich their social lives. “These findings make me distressed as a public health professional, especially knowing that binge drinking is associated with so many adverse consequences,” she said to CBS Atlanta. “Addiction, poor academic performance, violence, drunk driving, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases – the list is so long of what’s linked to alcohol abuse, especially in the late teens and early 20s.”

Steven Liga, director of the Middlesex County, N.J. chapter of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, noted to CBS Atlanta that expectations of a college experience centered around alcohol have made class after incoming class of college freshmen see drinking as an unavoidable part of higher education.

“They think drinking is part of the culture – what they’re supposed to do. They start out doing that because everybody else started to do that at the same time,” he said, noting that the shared experience creates a feeling of community. “They feel a part of something, especially coming in as a freshman in a new place. It’s easy not to feel a part of something, so they gravitate to it. Freshman [gravitate] toward a drinking party. It’s an equalizer. Everyone is new, and social inhibitions – that feeling that you don’t belong – disappear.”

These expectations also lead to feelings of pressure regarding binge drinking. “At the end of the survey, students were given an open comment box and could whatever they wanted. … [Q]uite a number wrote that they did not want to binge drink,” Hsu recalled. “But they felt pressured to do so because ‘everyone’ … does on campus. At the same time, they would associate binge drinking with high status, saying that rich, white kids in fraternities were the ones to drink.”

Liga noted that, while the frequency of such binge drinking incidents may not necessarily be increasing, the level of consumption is all the same in danger of rising.

“What people are hearing about are more and more cases of extreme drinking,” he said. “It’s not just four or five drinks several times a month – it’s, ‘Let’s see how many [drinks] I can do in a short amount of time.’ That’s where the funnels come in, and beer pong.”

That mentality, combined with a lack of student knowledge regarding what they are drinking – and how much of it – could lead to serious problems with binge drinking.

“Most kids don’t realize they’re drinking as many drinks as they are,” he said, adding that red Solo cups, a college party staple, have enough room for the equivalent of multiple drinks. “It’s very easy to binge drink, particularly going into social situations where someone is trying to fit in.”

Hsu mentioned that the objective of the study was to delve into why students engage in behavior they know to be risky, and found that the main differences were between what she called “subjective” or temporary happiness and “objective well-being.”

“Binge drinking is objectively bad, a dangerous and self-destructive behavior. In our study, students who binge drank often missed class because they were hung over, or felt hung over in class. They put themselves at risk for sexual assault and harassment,” she said. “On the campus where the study was conducted, students have been suspended, expelled, arrested, physically harmed, and even killed as a result of intoxication. Studies show that students who binge drink are at risk of becoming alcoholics for the rest of their lives.”

Swahn asserted that these studies highlight the importance of discouraging drinking activity in minors for as long as possible.

“Addiction, poor academic performance, violence, drunk driving, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases – the list is so long of what’s linked to alcohol abuse, especially in the late teens and early 20′s,” she said. “It’s about trying to figure out how to delay the age at which they drink … to delay alcohol use as long as possible.”

And for Liga, who works in an organization geared toward addiction prevention, the emphasis falls on how to break the stigma of drinking as an integral part of the college experience.

Consistently scheduled activities that offer legitimately fun opportunities for students interested in sobriety are one part of the potential solution.

“It’s important for people not to just give up on colleges – to not simply say, ‘There’s going to be tons of dangers drinking and there’s nothing we can do about it.’ We know that’s not true,” Liga observed. “Part of that [solution] is going to be the way the school handles drinking infractions, whether they are being proactive or not regarding interventions with students when they see problems developing and doing something about it early.” Swahn agreed, while additionally pointing out the influence of one crucial unit – family.

College Freshmen Need MIP Classes

Are binge-drinking college students happier than sober ones? I had a roommate who was a teetotaler. He certainly seemed miserable all of the time, while the other four of binge drank numerous times per week.

Given my limited personal experience I am not surprised by the recent finding that college students who engage in habitual binge drinking are more socially satisfied than those who do not. As reported in

It does not surprise me because college is a very difficult time socially for both men and women. The pressure to succeed academically and have an active social life can be terrifying. Alcohol certainly helps lubricate the inhibitions for social activities.

Binge drinking is commonly defined as the consumption of four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more in one sitting for men.

The scary but true fact is that binge drinking has become the center of social life on many college and university campuses.

National surveys reveal that about 40 percent of college students binge drink and that about half of college students believe that the major purpose of drinking is not to have fun, but to get drunk.

If this is not proof that Minor in Possession classes are needed on campus I do not know what is. There are other ways to have an active social life that do not involve alcohol.

Baby Boomers Need a 12 Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness Class

You may have read this headline in any of the past three decades. Well, it holds true now more than ever.

Baby Boomers are now aged 50-65. They used drugs as teenagers and have problem leaving their addiction behind. Believe me, the added medical costs from Baby Boomer drug use and abuse could cripple our country. As reported in

It turns out that those who came of age in the marijuana-happy, acid-dropping, cocaine-snorting 1960s and '70s are finding their way back to drugs.

Here a frightening statistic, in 2010, nearly 2.4 million people ages 50 to 59 said they had abused prescription or illegal drugs within the past month; more than double that of 2002.

When you think of a 55-year-old being rushed to the emergency room you think car accident or heart attack. Emergency rooms nationwide are seeing more patients age 55 and older for reactions to cocaine, heroin and especially marijuana.

Visits to the emergency room for marijuana abuse, for example, jumped 200% from 2004 to 2009 in this age group.

In addition to drugs like marijuana, cocaine and even heroin, Baby Boomers apt to be abusing pain killers and anti-anxiety drugs, heading to the streets to buy Didlaudid, Ativan, Xanax and Roxicet illegally.

In one of my 12 hour drug and alcohol awareness classes I had a 55-year-old soccer mom who was buying Ativan directly from one of her daughters friends!

Perhaps we need to mandate drug classes for everyone when they hit 50. While that may seem overkill, it deserves some thought. One thing Baby Boomers don’t have that teens do is the belief that they are invincible.

Does Bigfoot Need a Montana Alcohol Awareness Class?

People do stupid things every day. When was the last time you or someone you knew did something really stupid? When was the last time you heard about someone doing something stupid?

When I was younger my friends and I often shared “stupid ways to die” stories. Following is one that would easily make the list! As reported in

Let’s begin by saying police are not certain that alcohol was involved – at least until toxicology reports come back. How could this guy possibly have been sober and in his right mind?

Dateline - Montana

A lot of crazy stuff happens in Montana. This is one of those things.

Randy Lee Tenley, identified as a Montana man, who tried to perpetuate a Bigfoot hoax was killed after two teens ran over him in their cars. Cause of death – being a complete idiot!

The 44-year-old Tenley was wearing a camouflage outfit known as a Ghillie suit when he jumped out from thick bushes out onto a two-lane highway in northwestern Montana at 10:30pm.

The driver Tenley was trying to hoax, a teenage girl, hit him dead on. A second car, also driven by a teenage girl, then hit the Bigfoot imposter from the other direction. Tenley was pronounced dead at the scene.

While his death is unfortunate, his idiotic actions have traumatized the lives of two innocent teenage girls. He has done them irreparable harm all for a shot at his 15 minutes of fame.

Does Quentin Tarantino’s Coke Wizard Need Alcohol Class?

I will admit to being a big fan of the early movies by Quentin Tarantino. “Reservoir Dogs”, “True Romance” and “Pulp Fiction” all three rank up in my top 50 movies of all-time.

It appears that the White Wizard is an apparition who appears to Quentin when Q does too much cocaine. Later we learned that the wizard also takes the form of Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson. And it bummed me out to hear that he’d been arrested for DUI. As reported in

The legendary cinematographer— who has worked on films like “Aviator” and “Hugo” — was arrested about 9:30 PM in Los Angeles back in August.

Like many DUI recipients he was originally pulled over for a minor traffic violation, but officers smelled alcohol on his breath and made him perform field sobriety tests which he failed.

The dude’s resume is pretty amazing … he did the cinematography for “Django Unchained,” “Hugo,” “Shutter Island,” “Inglorious Basterds,” “Eat, Pray, Love” “The Horse Whisperer” and “A Few Good Men” … just to name a few.

I hope Richardson is mandated to a drug and alcohol class and can stay sober so that his gift at cinematography will continue to shine.

Baseball Great Mark Grace Heading Back to Arizona DUI Class

One of my favorite players growing up was first baseman Mark Grace. Despite the fact that he played for the despicable Chicago Cubs, Grace was a local and I was able to enjoy his company on numerous occasions at the local watering hole.

At the time, he seemed like such a stand-up guy. No way he had a drinking problem. I was an alcoholic. We drank together. I am starting to think Mark was and still is an alcoholic too. As reported in

When I saw the press release from the Arizona Diamondbacks that said that the TV broadcaster and former player had requested a leave of absence from the team "to seek personal assistance," my heart went out to him.

Based on knowledge of life and sports and athletes and former athletes, some sort of problem with drinking seemed like the obvious reason for the time off. After all, he did have a drinking-related incident last year when he received a DUI violation. Then the next wave of news came, stating that he had been arrested for a DUI for the second time in as many years.

Still I feel for the guy. But why keep drinking and driving? That is an act that society views as one of the most heinous of betrayal to your fellow men and women. You just don't do it.

Everyone deserves a second chance. Perhaps, because he is a friend, I would like to see him get one more opportunity. I hope he takes an Arizona DUI class and the Diamondbacks organization works with him on his drinking problem.

Esteemed US Diplomat Needs DUI Class

There is a saying about the stress of a job leading a man to drink. While that may certainly be the case for some, it is no excuse to get behind the wheel and endanger the lives of innocents. I say this because one of our nation’s greatest foreign diplomats was just arrested for driving under the influence.

The situation is especially tense for former U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker who is facing hit-and-run and drunken driving charges in Washington state after striking a semi-truck when he tried to make a right turn from the left lane. As reported in

The 63-year-old Spokane native registered a .160 blood-alcohol content — twice the legal limit — and a .152 in successive breath tests when was arrested on the spot. Crocker, who was driving a 2009 Ford Mustang convertible which collided with a semi. Crocker's car spun out, but he kept driving. A witness followed him to a nearby bank and called police.

Crocker retired from the foreign service last month after serving three decades in some of the world's most dangerous hotspots, most recently Afghanistan.

An Arabic speaker and six-time ambassador, he came out of an earlier retirement last year to take the helm of the embassy at President Barack Obama's request. This year, Crocker announced he was retiring due to a serious health issue that he previously had while ambassador to Iraq.

I hope he is mandated to an alcohol class and decides to quit drinking alcohol. He has done a lot of good in his life and it would be a shame if he was remembered more for his drinking than his diplomacy.

WWE Star Need DUI Classes

Would it surprise you to hear that a guitar player for a heavy metal band and female wrestling star got arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)? It sure does not surprise me. As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I can assure you that I have had at least one of each as students.

While not the greatest fan of professional wrestling, I nonetheless was interested to read about the DUI received by WWE superstar Cameron (real name Ariane Nicole Andrew ) -- a member of the Funkadactyls. Why is her case especially interesting? It wasn’t because she was innocent. Heck, she blew a .20 when pulled over in Florida at 2:23 AM. Perhaps this is a wake-up call. With a good alcohol class and will power I would hope she can stay away from booze permanently. As reported in

Dio Bassist Gets DUI

Driving his 1995 Toyota Camry former Dio bassist Jimmy Bain was arrested for DUI in Burbank, California.

The 64-year-old Bain got into a minor accident. Responding officers felt Bain was under the influence of drugs, not alcohol.

The bassist failed a field sobriety test and then the cops found Codeine in his possession. The pills were not prescribed to him, so he was arrested and booked for both misdemeanor DUI as well as felony possession of prescription melds.

Adding insult to injury, Bain also had an outstanding drug warrant.

I hope Bain is mandated to counseling along with a series of alcohol DUI classes and drug classes.

“Walking Dead” Star Needs 8 Hour Alcohol Class

Older is not always wiser. Despite having more than enough money to pay for a cab many people still continue to drink and drive. Such is the case for Walking Dead star Scott Wilson

The 70-year-old star of the AMC series "Walking Dead," a post-apocalyptic show that pits the rest of the human survivors against a flesh eating mob of zombies, was stopped in Georgia during the “witching hour” at 2 a.m. As reported in

Wilson admitted to police that he had been drinking scotch and wine at a restaurant. He then made an unusual request. Wilson insisted that the officer performing the field sobriety test allow him to perform yoga stances as a way to prove his sobriety, as he did not feel comfortable taking a field sobriety test.

Police received an anonymous call abou an intoxicated driver and saw Wilson’s vehicle clearly speeding. Wilson was driving a black PT Cruiser at about 70 miles per hourand was swerving.

A breathalyzer test at the scene returned a result of 0.143- well above the legal limit of 0.08- and Wilson was subsequently placed under arrest. Tests taken at the Fayette jail produced results of 0.151 and 0.155.

Yoga or not, he was intoxicated and will pay the consequences. A good 8 hour alcohol class and AA meetings might keep the 70-year-old from becoming a repeat offender.

Major League Baseball Players Need Alcohol Drug Classes

While some Major League Baseball players need to take drug classes for addictions to prescription medication, marijuana and more, I am speaking more about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Pitcher Bartolo Colon, the veteran 39-year-old pitcher with the Oakland A’s, is the latest player to be benched on a 50-game suspension after testing positive for high levels of testosterone, a banned performance enhancing drug. As reported in

It was the second such suspension for steroid use in just one week, following on the heels of the ban handed out to San Francisco Giants 28-year-old star outfielder Melky Cabrera.

Both men seem to have a lot in common besides taking PEDs. They are both citizens of the Dominican Republic, currently play for rival Bay area teams, are former New York Yankees, and have made apologies to their fans after receiving identical 50-day penalties.

The obvious difference is that Colon is in the twilight of his baseball career, 11-years senior to Cabrera, and as a pitcher in the American League, which uses the designated hitter (DH) rule, seldom comes to bat except for inter-league play in a National League ballpark.

Colon becomes the 11th player, and the most recent, to receive a 50-day ban from baseball.

The others include Yusaku Iriki of the New York Mets, Jason Grimsley of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Guillermo Mota of the Mets, Juan Salas of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Dan Serafini of the Colorado Rockies, Eliézer Alfonzo also of the San Francisco Giants, J. C. Romero of the Philadelphia Phillies, Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Edinson Volquez of the Cincinnati Reds, and Cabrera with the Giants.

Hopefully, Colon will get through this suspension with his head still held high. He should take a 16 hour alcohol drug class and perhaps even lose a little weight if he wants to have any more productive years.