Friday, November 2, 2012

College students need to be better prepared for booze. From

The family of a student who died in a dorm at Washington State University says the 18-year-old had alcohol poisoning. Heavy drinking in college isn't unusual. But The Ron & Don Show staff agrees if this is to be a accepted as an inevitable behavior among college-age kids, they need to be better prepared to handle it.

"We need to do such a better job of bringing kids up to speed," says host Ron Upshaw. He believes young people who might be considering drinking, need to be aware of what 10 or 15 drinks can do to a person.

"It's a shock. You're feeling good up until the point where you're not feeling good. Sometimes, like with this kid, it's too late."

Kenneth Hummel, 18, from Lynnwood, was found unconscious Saturday morning at Stephenson Hall on the Pullman campus. Police say they received a call early Saturday from students saying Hummel was unconscious and they were performing CPR. He died later in the day at Pullman Regional Hospital.

The Whitman County coroner's report revealed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.40 when he died.


  1. They need to form teenage buzkashi leagues in the US where the prizes are booze.

  2. I hate to sound like a dreadful old conservative, but no one forced this kid to drink, or to drink that much. Didn't he even know he was likely, at best, to throw up? What happened to him was entirely his responsibility. Besides, don't they cover the effects of alcohol in high-school health classes? They certainly show them how to put on condoms (thankfully, on bananas).

  3. You are sounding like a dreadful old conservative, Frod. With emphasis on the old.

    Responsibility, and learning about the consequences of actions, is the point of youth. Not education, not growing up. The brain is figuring out this whole "consequence" thing, and what it means. Decision making skills are poor, judgement is lacking.

    So, yes. It was his responsibility. And his brain structure, due to his age, pre-disposed him to choose poorly.

    But identifying his death as his own fault won't alter anyone else's ability to exercise better judgement.

    1. OK, then. Since this 18-year-old was clearly not up to life as an adult, I propose we raise the drinking age to 21.

      Responsibility and learning about the consequences of actions may indeed by the point of youth, but not if it involves acting like an idiot. This kid had no doubt been told about the dangers of alcohol, so I wouldn't expect telling him more would have made any difference.

    2. Dude, the drinking age *is* 21.

    3. One might think that college faculty would be able to recognize irony when they saw it. Yes, I know the drinking age is 21!

  4. The question is whether a drinking age of 18 (or even 16 or 14 in some circumstances) would better facilitate teenagers' learning to drink responsibly, in part because more of them would be doing so in supervised and/or public settings, in the company of presumably more responsible older role models. I'm inclined to think so, and to cite the example of Europe, but apparently Europe is developing a binge-drinking culture of its own. Also, looking around at the present behavior of so-called adults at, for instance, sporting events, I'm not sure quite where we'd find responsible role models. Still, I think it would be worth trying the experiment (as long as it included extremely strict driving-under-the-influence laws -- probably 0% for driving up to age 21 -- to deal with the problem that originally brought us the 21-year-old limit).

    But I fear there would still be occasional Kenneth Hummels, just as no amount of DUI legislation (and/or display of grotesquely twisted cars at proms) is going to entirely prevent teenagers, drunk or sober (well, chemically speaking, at least) from doing fatal things in cars. In this case at least, it doesn't seem that you can even argue that fear of punishment kept his friends from seeking help -- one more argument (valid, to my mind) against strict enforcement of the 21-year-old limit on college campuses.

  5. I don't know the solution. And part of the problem may be statistics, get enough people pushing the limits of what it means to be an adult, and the limits are inevitably crossed.

    I, too, drank too much in college. The rule-follower I am, I didn't drink until I was 21 (though I did bring home leftovers from parties at the center I worked at to give to my house-mates). After 21, well, it was legal. And I discovered that, after 4 martinis, I could still make a damn good martini, and not much else.

    What was the difference between my over-drinking and the above kid? It wasn't that, at 4 martinis, I decided I'd had enough and stopped drinking. It wasn't that my choices were more well thought out. It probably wasn't that I waited until I was 21 to start drinking.

    I read that story and think, "There, but for the grace of Cthulu, go I."

  6. Not me. My mother told me never to go to parties where throwing up was part of what was going on. What on Earth is wrong with these people? Gibbon never even mentioned this in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.