Is there a safe way to get drunk?

Happy 21 Birthday; you’re now an adult!

For an overwhelming amount of college students, that special 21 birthday is heralded in by alcohol. Seton Hill University’s (SHU) Prevention Services has taken a step to educate students about alcohol in the form of a birthday card with a small lesson in responsible drinking.

My initial reaction was shock and disgust. Was this a sign of giving up and “accepting the inevitable?” It seems to be that you’re expected to drink excessively at 21. It’s a sad statement for society.

But a meeting with Prevention Services head Kimberley Bassi-Cook offered another take on the mission behind their well-meaning card.

 “If you’re going to put something in your body, you better know what it is and how to use it responsibly,” said Bassi-Cook.

 Everyone has heard the same safety spiel about not drinking and driving and to be responsible—but what is responsibility? That’s the point the Prevention Service’s card. Bassi-Cook used an analogy of a car. You’re taught how to drive a car when you’re 16—all the stops, guidelines, and things not to do. But at 21, there isn’t anything that teaches the birthday kids what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to alcohol.

While I can understand and respect their purpose, I just found it odd and verging on slightly offense. There are ways to celebrate and acknowledge one’s birthday that don’t involve excessive drinking and ostracization for not partaking.

he Prevention Services is established to “provide substance use/abuse/addiction educational opportunities and screenings.” Bassi-Cook often sits down with students, using props and factual statistics to educate them on responsible behavior when it comes to drinking.

“Anything can be risky–energy drinks, pills, alcohol, high risk substances. The moment your partake in them, you relinquish control and responsibility of one’s self,” said Bassi-Cook. “One thing that needs to change is the knowledge surrounding it.”

The Prevention Services can be found on the 5 floor of the Administration building.

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