University Supports Alcohol Study

By Billy Merck '98

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Pacific University has joined well over 100 presidents and chancellors from colleges and universities across the country in signing the Amethyst Initiative, an effort to open an educational discussion that's intended to lead to a more open and honest search for healthier alternatives to binge drinking for young people.

The Amethyst Initiative supports informed and unimpeded debate on the merits and detractions of the current national drinking age, as it contributes to the health choices made by young people. It asks elected officials to weigh all consequences of current policies and invites new ideas on how to best prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.

The crux of the Initiative states, "We pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous, constructive role as these critical discussions unfold." The popularity of the Initiative gives unity to the voice of institutions — like universities and colleges — that take seriously their obligation to educate young people of the ages immediately on both sides of the drinking age threshold. It encourages broad discussions that address societal issues.

Said Pacific President Phil Creighton, "Though this support is not directly tied to a specific legislation or alternative position, it does reinforce the role of the University to encourage scientific and dispassionate discussions about healthier, more ethical options for helping young people reconcile societal decisions and pressures involving alcohol."

He emphasized that Pacific is not advocating lowering the drinking age, but supports the study of alcohol issues embodied in the Amethyst Initiative.