Friday, April 9, 2010

Iowa and Nebraska

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about a visit to Lincoln from the Lawrence, Kansas newspaper, the World-Journal.  Last week, we had another visit on the same subject: strategies to reduce high risk drinking by young people. The Thursday and Friday road trip this time was from Iowa City, the home of the University of Iowa. Danny Valentine, a reporter from the Daily Iowan, interviewed several people and visited Lincoln’s downtown bar scene along with his photographer. The result was a pair of articles published on Monday, followed by the staff editorial on Tuesday. 

It appears that Lincoln is being held up in neighboring states as a shining example of success in changing the high-risk drinking culture that infects many campus communities.  While I think we’ve made some good progress in some respects, I am far from willing to declare victory.  From my perspective, Lincoln still largely resembles Mr. Valentine’s description of Iowa’s problems last December. 

Others seem to see it differently, though, and the data is hard to argue with. Apparently we are doing better than many places.  If there is anything others could learn from Lincoln, it’s to build broad-based support for some comprehensive initiatives, then be both consistent and persistent.  The environmental approach is what works, and it doesn’t work overnight.


Yoni said...

I hope other readers follow the "environmental approach" link. Nothing about human (mis)behavior is simple. 

One factor forming student attitudes is underage access to tobacco. It's illegal, dangerous in the long term, and adictive. But teens see that the law is not much of a barrior to access.

Personally, I think logical consistancy calls for tobacco and heroin to be treated the same under the law. Major felony for simple possession, by prescription only, legal but taxed or unregulated - treat 'em the same.
As it is, we mostly ignore the most common currently illegal (for minors)  gateway drug. From there it's a bit easier to disregard other drug/alcohol laws. 

Anonymous said...

Yoni, why not make them both illegal? Oh, I see, you want drugs legalized, starting with marijuana, and are trying to use twisted "logic" to make a point. You didn't succeed.

Yoni said...

I do believe they should BOTH be illegal. Sorry if I didn't make that clear earlier.

My real point is that I think the harmful effects of cigarette use are not taken seriously enough. They aren't just harmful from their use, they're also harmful because underage tobacco enforcement policies might lead some young people to think that other illegal drug use is no big deal, either.

Heroin can ruin your life in a hurry. Cigarettes take longer. Both are dangerous and addictive. There is no rational reason to ban one and not the other.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

It's hard to get people to stop drinking.

Anonymous said...

Yoni, so lame equivalency allusions aside - just forget about cigarettes for a moment - you also believe that marijuana should remain illegal, and simple possession of MJ should be made a felony?

Yoni said...

I didn't say anything about marijuana and I don't hold any strong opinion concerning public policy about it. More treatment options might be nice, but I personally don't want to pay the taxes needed. Keeping laws and enforcement policies they way they are right now is OK with me.

I'm really trying to make the point that for many young people, using cigarettes is their introduction to illegal drugs. Which are bad things that should stay illegal.

I don’t think more discussion about heroin or marijuana is particularly useful. I do believe that reexamination of underage tobacco law enforcement strategies might be worthwhile.

Plain enough now?

Anonymous said...


Regarding B0-032018 - if they're not inclined to just dump their gear and just buy new stuff in the future, it might be an indicator of recent cash flow problems 8^D

Anonymous said...

I remember a whole bunch of Country Western songs glorifying "high risk drinking" from the 50's up until present day. The modern version of those honky tonk ballads is a bit different. Here is an example of some of the music being put out by a local group.

I am withholding my opinion on this type of music because I don't want to be called an old fuddy duddy. But if I had a teenager in the house listening to this I would be very concerned.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

We gotta stop these hellion college kids from drinkin beer! Downtown is the Devil's working! Bring back prohibition!

Anonymous said...

What a joke. You have done nothing to stop underage drinking. You have only made students less responsible by making them hide at house parties and drink excessively until they get busted. And then guess what they do? They drive home or to the next party. You are the reason it is so unsafe for 18 year olds to drink.

Tom Casady said...


You comment makes no sense at all to me. Exactly what have I done that is causing 18 year olds to drink excessively?

Still a student said...

I applaud LPD for continuing to keep Lincoln safe. In the past I have posted comments on the Chief's blog stating my opinion on the negative side of things here, but all in all, Lincoln has excellent law enforcement and it shows not only in the statistics, but also at the street level. I have criticized law enforcement for some things that have gone on, but have really come to the realization, that LPD is doing a great job here. I like knowing that my children can play outside and that I can walk at night not worrying about the horrible things that sometimes go on in other cities such as Omaha for instance- the shootings and violence, gangs etc. I have had the idea that over-enforcement may lead to problem, which it may, but it is known that Lincolnites won't be bullied, and people that want to take things and hurt people will be dealt with swiftly. The delicate balancing act involved is quite amazing, I apologize for giving you such a hard time Chief Cassidy, and I thank you for what you do for the community. Thank you for teaching and helping people to do the right thing, and keeping us safe from those who willingly choose not to.