Archive for College

Four Loco is the new Jungle Juice

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , on November 12, 2010 by corecompany

These kids, what will they think of next? In my day we made “jungle juice” a no recipe concoction which was basically, punch of some kind and whatever booze could be found to be dumped in it. Vodka and kool aid? Yum!! Tequila and Hawaiian punch. The result? Technicolor vomit in teenage wasteland. I have never actually had one but given the number of young people I see with drug and alcohol issues, I have heard all about the “red bull and vodka” mix, I guess every generation thinks they invented something and this is generation Y’s (is that what they are called?) gift to us all. I think there was even an episode on happy days when they “spiked the punch”. In a way, this all looks like some kind of Chevy commercial and for some, it may be wholesome teenage rites of passage. So whats all the media attention about “Four Loko” which as near as I can tell, is packaged jungle juice made with an energy drink. I guess, its kool aid flavored malt liquor with caffeine, in otherwords, its puke in a can but it sure does help that prom dress come right off. Combing the internet for stories about this stuff, you would think it was bottled by Satanist and sold on playgrounds. Whats so new about this? Why now? kids have been getting drunk and sick since way back, why single out this beverage and what is wrong with doing that?
I am not sure why “Four Loko” is the new boogie man, there have been some reports of hospitalizations from alcohol poisoning but this is not new as a result of bottling this stuff. One of the common themes with the stories written about it is that it contains caffeine. So does rum and coke, so do many other cocktails.
What I think is Four Loko is a cheap high, marketed to kids that is detrimental to their health and safety but I certainly don’t think banning it is the answer. Banning it sends a message that the people who makes this stuff are responsible for the behaviors associated with it. Where is the personal responsibility? How about the community? As I often say, we all have a responsibility to the drug and alcohol problem, assigning blame to one faction of the larger problem does very little if anything to address the problem in a real way.
Even if I were still able to drink, I doubt I would be drinking four loko, it sounds vile, although I did wonder if it could be consecrated into the blood of christ, you, know just to add a little spice to mass. As a side note, I looked at their website and they have a page of all the philanthropy they do, they give to cancer, a worthy cause but how about giving to Hazelden youth and family for some four loko enthusiasts who end up in alcoholism treatment? I’m kind of fascinated with the stuff, thinking of doing a video blog and asking kids who buy it what it’s like, maybe I’ll camp out in the parking lot of a high school dance and interview consumers of four loko, I’ll be sure to wear rain boots so I can hose the puke off of me. Kids! When will they learn?

NCAA Drug Policy Needs an Overhaul!

Posted in Education with tags , , , on June 24, 2009 by corecompany

drug_testing

NCAA drug testing policy

             There are few certainties when dealing with chemical misuse but one of them is that treatment works better than punishment. Part of the diagnostic criteria is that the individual is willing to use in spite of negative consequences (like punishment).

            In Section 18.4.1.5.1 4 (yes, that’s what it says) the NCAA drug policy states that if a student athlete (a questionable label in and of itself) tests positive for a street drug a second time they will lose all remaining eligibility. So in other words, “we will threaten and punish you” two things that almost never work with chemical abuse. Additionally, what is done with these “bad” kids who would use street drugs? Not much, I surmise. What University can claim a mental health professional as a member of the staff? Not one across campus in an over extended counseling office but one integrated into the daily lives of young people? None that I know.

            As an additional weirdness, only the rifle sports ban alcohol. That is good policy: “give a kid a gun; don’t let them get drunk”.  What the NCAA is saying is: go ahead and use the most damaging drug, the one that financially supports us.

            I agree that being drug free is a good idea for athletes; I think it’s a good idea for everyone, but why is a very dangerous psycho reactive drug (Etoh, demon alcohol) not banned with the rest of them? Additionally, why is there not a proactive plan to engage athletes before the damage is done? And why, oh why, is there not treatment for the young people who fall into a very easy trap?

            The NCAA is a very important system to have sensible, realistic policy. At some point in their lives many young people aspire to be accomplished athletes so a system like the NCAA is an important communicator whether they realize it or not or feel they have a responsibility to the issue is another question.

Emerson College and their New Amnesty Policy – Good Job!

Posted in Current Events with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2009 by corecompany

emersoncollege

Emerson College in Boston just announced that they have adopted an amnesty policy when students call for help with alcohol and other drug related emergencies.  So, if a bunch of kids are drinking or doing drugs at Emerson, shocking I know, and someone uses poor judgment, again, shocking, it gives the kids freedom to call for help. There are countless examples of deaths involving situations where the kids involved were afraid to call 911. There is an insightful scene in the film “traffic” where the kids were partying and one overdosed, the others were too afraid to call for help and ended up dumping their friend at the entrance of an ER. 

Is this good policy? Does it encourage undergrads to drink and use drugs? The short answer is no, it does not encourage them to drink. It does encourage them to call for help. In my view, this should be national policy and not just on college campuses but in the community as a whole.

Drug abuse correlates to many things: trauma, genetics, exposure to community violence, and interruption in ones experience with the same sex parent. Heroin addiction correlates to many factors but availability of needles isn’t one of them, and yet, we don’t provide clean needles compounding the public health issues with HIV, Hep C and other diseases.

The time for harm reduction has come. The narrow minded, punitive, tough on “crime” thought process has created a mess, a drain on resources, misery to individuals and families.  College campuses are fairly dangerous places. Kids away from home for the first time, impulsive adolescent energy fueled by drugs and alcohol. Parents of sons will not be shocked to hear that decision making is not a strong suit of even the most grounded boy.  Why then, wouldn’t we do everything we can do to reduce the risk factors? 

My son is 4 years old, so it’s not a concern yet (unless I’m in denial), but if he were at a party and drank to the point of needing medical attention, please let someone call for help. If one of the hurdles is fear of getting in trouble, let’s get rid of that. In the same way that I would prefer my son not have sex until he can be responsible, I think I’ll put condoms in his lunchbox. Proper use of condoms reduces pregnancy and spread of disease and “good Samaritan” policy reduces injury and death!  Kudos to Emerson College!