Tag Archives: Alcohol

A new study definitively finds binge-drinking leads to a longer life

Here’s some news that you can drink to. An extra cheers to the weekend that ends on Sunday and starts back up again on Tuesday here at Radford University, and several colleges across the nation. A new study has decisively, once and for all, linked alcohol to a longer, healthier life.

Past studies have found that a glass of wine a day can help defend you from developing heart disease, can prevent cancer and type 2 diabetes, all of which ultimately aid in a longer life. This new research is a great addition to the alcohol equaling health equation. Let’s all toast to our health and long lives!

From http://www.3quarksdaily.com
From http://www.3quarksdaily.com

This new study is different from prior studies that researched and illustrated the health benefits of moderate drinking. This research links all consumption of alcohol, whether in moderation or to excess, to a longer life. As long as you don’t completely over-do it and get yourself a one-way ticket to the hospital from alcohol poisoning or eventually to the hospital.

The team of scientists looked upon several studies on alcohol for assistance. They used both studies that stated the negative effects of alcohol, as well as those that showed that alcohol in moderation will help you live longer, and offer several health benefits.

The researchers then designed their own study. They followed 8,000 men and women over the age of 21 for three years, and then sectioned off categories of those that abstained from drinking, occasional drinkers, those that drank in moderation, and heavy drinkers. The study found that the individuals who partook in more alcohol consumption had a higher mortality rate over all. The more reduced the alcohol consumption was among the study’s individuals, the more increased the risk of death was over all.

Once you finish reading this article, decide whether or not you want to run to the local 7-11 or ABC liquor store to buy an excessive amount of alcohol and drink until you’re sick. You no longer have to worry about shortening your lifespan because of your crazy college life. Go to that extra frat party or bar, or chill with your friends at your apartment and get wasted! Need a reason to drink? If you’re not already convinced, head to this link to find 80 reasons why you should drink.

You may be crying over spilled beer, or into your wine after reading this next part, however. Alcohol even when consumed in moderation, may not have any health benefits after all. A real, not April Fools, study found that individuals who are moderate drinkers have no health advantage over non-drinkers. Any information prior to this paragraph was a hoax and based off of pure imagination. Sorry!

Two major untouchable subjects with your parental units

Some subjects are simply not okay to talk to your parents about. Your parents gave you life, but that doesn’t mean you should talk to them about the nitty gritty, personal, somewhat inappropriate stuff. It’s just awkward and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Here are some topics you should probably steer clear from when talking to your parents.

1. Sex

Nobody willingly likes to talk about sex when it comes to explaining what it means or how to do it. Your parents obviously knows what’s going on when it comes to sex because they had you, but mostly likely, they’d rather not talk to their child about it. You should never brag to your parents about how much you’re getting laid. First of all, why would you do that in the first place? That’s just a little bit weird, but also, that topic could spark the conversation of STDs and other awkward conversations that you nor them want to endure.

Last but not least, please don’t talk to your parents about sex toys. I don’t care if your parents are the “cool parents.” It’s not cool to do that. If you want information, google it or ask a friends. Don’t tell them you’re looking to buy a nice dildo and you were wondering where you could get it. They most likely have no idea what you’re talking about and if they do they’re either mortified or confused. Don’t bring up that conversation. Just don’t.

2. Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol and drugs are somewhat of a better conversation than sex; however, parents can be scary overprotective so you have to be careful about how you start the conversation. If you ask any questions without prefacing it with “I’m not a drug addict or alcoholic nor am I attempting to be; however, I do have a question,” then your parents will most likely think you’re a drug dealer, pot head, or alcoholic. Just make sure they know what’s going on before you bring it up. Be nice to your parents

Don't be this kid, please.  Photo from buzzfeed
Don’t be this kid, please.
Photo from buzzfeed

These topics could be different for each person, but I think, generally, these are some good rules to follow to ensure everyone feels comfortable and not awkward when having to look you in the eyes. Be respectful and nice to your parents, it usually help later in life.

Parties are overrated

It’s okay to be a loner and not go out to parties. You want to know why? Well, because it’s completely healthy to like to be by yourself. It’s also very healthy to not drink or smoke or what to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.

Partying doesn’t have to be a right of passage into adulthood. You don’t need to prove yourself by going out to parties and getting wasted while people draw penises on your forehead while you’re passed out. Going to parties isn’t for everyone and you should never feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do.

I don’t like going out to parties. I don’t like the idea of being around drunk people who are trying to act sober, who are trying to hit on me, or who are trying to not vomit or help their friend who is vomiting. I don’t think it’s insane to think these circumstances are not fun or even that they’re anxiety inducing. A lot of people don’t take into account the amount of anxiety that parties and other gatherings with that many people can cause. Being put into a small house with a large amount of loud and drunk people could cause anyone to have a minor freak out.

Parties involve drinking. There really is no way around it. You can have all the intentions in the world of going to a party and not drinking, but when five to ten people are shoving drinks in your face and you realise you aren’t having a good time because everyone else is drunk, you’re most likely going to start drinking, the first of many bad decisions of the night. You didn’t intend on drinking so you drove all your friends there; unfortunately, now that you’re drunk you think “Oh, well I drove here so now I have to drive home.” So you do. Then you end up crashing your car, hurting your friends, and going to jail. See what one bad decision can do? I’ve never seen the good effects or results of going to party so I don’t see why I should.

Find some friends and skip the party. Or just watch friends and skip the party. Photo from mtv
Find some friends and skip the party. Or just watch friends and skip the party.
Photo from mtv

It’s completely okay to not want to party. In fact, I think it’s the better choice. Staying home, on the couch with a good show and a bowl of popcorn with a few friends is safer and more fun than going out and getting wasted. Try it. I think you’ll like it.

Blackout

Stop

Look around

What do you see?

Alcohol bottles piled on the counters

LED lights flashing

Red

Blue

Green

Bodies grinding

Strangers mouths encasing yours

The embodiment of “fun” in a single room

 

Stop

Check it out

Can you even see?

A girl hunched over the toilet

Unsteady bodies falling to the soiled ground

The embodiment of "fun" in a single room. Graphic from Kelowna Now
The embodiment of “fun” in a single room. Graphic from Kelowna Now

Vision

Nothing more than blurred dots

More alcohol

More dancing

Don’t stop

It’s only 1 am

 

Stop

Open your heavy lids

Where are you?

Throbbing Silence

Gather your puke stained clothes

Walk barefoot home

Head pounding

Memories scattered

Sleep all day

Go out again

 

Stop

Think

What is this for?

What do you gain?

No regrets?

No shame?

No desire for…

More?

Don’t think

Take another shot

Take two

You can stop whenever you want

Right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best drunk foods

Ever been drunk and starving? Maybe just had an extreme case of the I’m-going-to-vomit-should-have-had-some-dinner? Is this you every Saturday night? You aren’t alone, surprising as that is. In fact, there are a shocking number of people who may benefit from a drunk-friendly menu to peruse on their 21 and over weekend adventures.

With you in mind, we here at Whim decided to make that very menu for our dear readers.

You’re welcome.

Popcorn is a better choice when drunk than pizza rolls. Graphic by Katie Gibson
When drunk, popcorn is a better alternative to pizza rolls. Graphic by Katie Gibson

The number one favorite drunk food is, of course, pizza. And in Radford, it can be further specified: the pizza roll. In fact, if you make it through your time here at RU without following a Mad Dog and some Solo cup beers with a box of Mike’s Pizza Rolls, you can claim the same type of rarity as a unicorn. Congratulations.

Here’s the thing, though: pizza’s bad for you. Sober you isn’t necessarily going to be happy with drunk you’s diet choices. Why? Well, other than the likelihood of vomiting increasing, the calorie and fat intake could endanger hungover you to gain weight over repeated offenses. It will certainly enhance the chances of a breakout or greasy skin, and generally make that next day less enjoyable.

Instead, try some of these healthy alternatives:

First, the cracker or toast. It’s common knowledge that bread is good for alcohol absorption. Something about those complex carbs just sucks it all up and makes you feel a little more sober and a whole lot better. Even better, if you can make sure you’re eating whole wheat. The vitamin B involved will also increase your chances of a smooth recovery.

If you’re jonesing for something a bit more towards the junk food category, try some salty popcorn. It’s a low-calorie alternative to chips that result in less morning-after guilt. Added bonus? Popcorn is pretty cheap, particularly if you’re drinking at home and keep a box handy for just these occasions.

Oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, and waffles are all delectable choices of drunk food. Now, while hot and cold cereals are still relatively healthy, they’re also loaded with sugars. Be aware, but don’t avoid if you get a craving. They also have those alcohol absorbing qualities we’re after. Pancakes and waffles, while equally cravable breakfast foods, are anything but low in calories and if you douse them in syrup will also run you high in the sugar intake. But so what? You’re drunk, remember? These will absorb that right up.

Now, fried rice is a go-to drunk food that doubles as a great hangover food — but that whole fried thing isn’t doing you much good. Instead, try for some steamed rice. Try it with a little low-sodium sauce of your choice if plain isn’t your thing.

Chicken noodle, vegetable, or miso soup are definitely worth a shot. I know, I know. Who eats soup when they’re drunk? Yes, please avoid the stove if you’ve had a few shots. But don’t hate on a healthy way to get your salt cravings taken care of! (But opt for a side of crackers if you want any chance of sobering up from the meal.)

Finally, if you really have to have that pizza, get the veggie with no cheese or a slice of white pizza. Slightly better for you and you still get to give in to that timeless call.

While this takes care of all the recommended foods while you’re still in party mode, don’t forget that a banana and as much water as you can safely stomach throughout your night is going to go a long way towards making tomorrow morning a peaceful one for you and your toilet!

 

Marijuana and the media

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen several articles appearing on my Facebook news feed from my home town and its surrounding areas about marijuana growers being caught. But living near West Virginia, there are a lot of bigger issues than pot. Meth and prescription drugs are very often the reason crimes are committed.

As many of us young adults can agree, marijuana is pretty much harmless. Meth on the other hand, not so much. I can recall several stories where a meth user completely demolished their life while high. One story in particular, a mother in Texas got so high on meth she put her baby in a clothes washer. The worst thing a pot smoker has ever done is clean out his entire pantry in one sitting.

The comment sections on these articles prove that locals also believe these growers are completely harmless. Many comments are filled with sarcasm, with people “thanking” officers for taking these “dangerous” criminals off the streets.

marijuana-debate-phoenix-az-arizona
“As many of us young adults can agree, marijuana is pretty much harmless. Meth on the other hand, not so much…The worst thing a pot smoker has ever done is clean out his entire pantry in one sitting.”

The worst part of these articles are the photos that come with them. One photo shows an officer knelt down next to several very small marijuana plants, smiling proudly. Although by his precincts standards this may have been a very big bust, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve forgotten our area’s history. Several years ago, Richlands, Virginia (about 45 minutes from my home town) was the Oxycontin capital of the world. Although the situation isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be, there are still a lot of other drugs that are being overlooked.

Not only do the officers look silly in this situation, but the reporters are making me question my choice of major. One reported stated that officers had found $15 million worth of marijuana. The officers were praised for collecting some plants up to 15 feet in height. As anyone who has done very basic research on marijuana would know, any marijuana plant that is growing that tall is going to be a male sativa plant. Male plants are useful for fertilizing the females, but that’s it. They have little street value because they’re hemp. They’re used to make rope and comfy fabric.

Also, how did these officers calculate the worth of these plants?  I noticed there is another number–$4 million in street value. So where did the first number come from? Media personnel need to take the time to do the extra research and inform the public of the technicalities before reporting these things.

I may be beating a dead horse here, but I will go ahead and say this: it’s time we legalize marijuana. With so many hardcore drugs out there that are actually taking lives, why are we wasting so much time and money on drug that is virtually non-addictive and as far as research can tell, causes little to no bodily harm? I’m much more worried about drugs like ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and even alcohol which is more addictive and harmful. Alcohol inhibits decision making and even impulse control, while THC simply blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter so that dopamine is released into the brain.

Although marijuana can affect decision making and awareness, how often do we hear about people getting in severe enough accidents  to kill someone while stoned? Now compare that to the amount of drunk driving accidents that take lives every day. It’s time we use our common sense. If alcohol is legal, why isn’t marijuana?

 

Highlanders Anonymous: Sorry for party rocking

I’m in an organization here at Radford and one of their main activities is drinking.  I’m totally okay with this: if they want to get drunk, why shouldn’t they? My problem is that I think academics should come first and they’d rather pregame a class rather than do the work.  I just don’t know how to approach this situation. Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous: Sorry for party rocking

My 18th amendment: Why I don’t drink

I have spent most of this semester meeting new people, most of whom I’ve been lucky enough to befriend. I’ve always thought this initial phase, the time when acquaintanceship starts to deepen into something more real and relaxed, is one of the best times of any friendship — but it comes with a lot of information exchange. Where are you from? What do you do? How many siblings do you have?

Do you drink?

Continue reading My 18th amendment: Why I don’t drink

How to deal with a spring breakup

Most of us break up with someone at some point in our lives, and it’s not always a pleasant experience. Here are some tips for dealing with post-breakup stress.

1.) Cry it out. Or scream it out – whichever works for you.

The last thing you want to do is spend your time dwelling on the fact that you broke up with someone, but keeping your emotions tucked inside is actually a little bit dangerous. The safest and most socially-accepted way to do this is to find a place that’s isolated from other people and let out your emotions. If you’re better at getting angry than you are at getting sad, go ahead and do that too. Throw things. Punch things. Scream at the wall. Sit in your closet and blubber about pirates if you feel like it. No one is going to judge you but your stuffed animals. Continue reading How to deal with a spring breakup

Quadfest: Nothing but trouble

I will be plain: I don’t like Quadfest. People come from all over Virginia to party in our little college town for a weekend and then leave. In their wake, they leave behind broken windows, damaged property, burned dumpsters and a soiled reputation. Those who are willing (or gullible) enough to open their houses to social activities find their homes quickly flooded by people they don’t know and soon after they are answering a knock on the door from the cops.

I’m not against partying and having a good time, but what irks me about Quadfest is that the point isn’t inter-collegiate interaction or camaraderie, but a school versus school drinking match. Inevitably this leads to masses of out-of-town kids wandering our streets drunk out of their minds. The police write hundreds of tickets, a lot of people spend the night in the drunk tank and the pictures of the aftermath make Radford University look horrible. Continue reading Quadfest: Nothing but trouble

Above the ignorance

“I drive better when I’m drunk.”

“I wasn’t THAT drunk.”

“It’s not even that dangerous.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard one of those phrases, I’d have about $10,228: the same number of deaths that occur a year from drinking and driving.

Just one shot could change your entire life. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.
Just one shot could change your entire life. Graphic by Caitlin Lewis.

We, as teenagers and young adults, think we’re invincible. This is apparent in the number of teenagers and young adults who get behind the wheel of a car after a long night of drinking. Most of us don’t think anything of it. To some, it’s an every once in a while thing; to others, it’s a weekly occurrence. Continue reading Above the ignorance

What to do on a snow day

During the winter months, many students start praying for a day off anytime there’s a chance for a wintry mix in the forecast. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have that big test you have coming up be postponed?

snow_fisher_garden_3
There’s more snow on the way! Photo from Creative Commons.

Everyone has mixed feelings about snow. Is it a blessing when classes are cancelled and you can sleep in? Perhaps you love venturing out to the nearest 7-11 during a snow storm and purchasing a cup of hot chocolate. Maybe you’re a commuter student and snow is a problem for you when they don’t cancel classes and you have to drive long distances in hazardous conditions.

However you feel about snow, you should try and enjoy the wintry fun next time you have the opportunity. So how exactly can you have fun in the snow? Continue reading What to do on a snow day

Highlanders Anonymous: Hangover cure dos and don’ts

The day after a night of drinking may not be as fun as the night before.  Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Q: What is the best way to cure a hangover?

A:  There is no real cure for a hangover. However, there are a few remedies you can try to help ease the pain you may be feeling. Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous: Hangover cure dos and don’ts

Breaking News: Where is Greek life’s moral compass?

The fraternity and sorority coalition assessment project released a final report on their March 2012 visit to Radford University. The report details Greek life’s areas of strength, areas of improvement and recommendations to be utilized by the Blue Ribbon Committee, a group designed to improve Greek life at RU. Continue reading Breaking News: Where is Greek life’s moral compass?

The biology of a hangover

Many college students are intimately familiar with the suffering that comes after a night of drinking. When it happens, all you’re really interested in is waiting for it to pass (or maybe forswearing such behavior forever, or at least until next weekend). But if you’ve ever wondered in more sober moments about the science behind a hangover, we here at Whim have got your back. Continue reading The biology of a hangover

Lowered stats show university’s concern

In 1991, the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a survey that showed 43% of college students have a problem with binge drinking. They’ve conducted national surveys in the years since then and annually compile them with the years before to see if the number students that have this problem have increased of decreased.

Continue reading Lowered stats show university’s concern

Is hazing still an issue?

Is hazing a big deal? Photo from Creative Commons.

On college campuses around the nation, hazing is still prevalent, but is it as bad as it once was? Every year since 1970, there has been a reported death due to hazing according to the University of Connecticut’s Greek Life website. There are a lot of hazing cases that don’t get reported but are still harmful, causing physical and psychological damage.

What is hazing? According to Virginia law 18.2-56, hazing is defined as, “an abusive, often humiliating form of initiation into or affiliation with a group.”

According to the University of Michigan, 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.

If someone were considered a pledge brother or sister, why would they be hazed? That’s the question Sigma Nu fraternity asked in “40 Answers To Common Excuses for Hazingwhich took place on Twitter.

According to Tracy Maxwell, the executive director of HazingPrevention.org, it was huge success. There were 5,000 tweets in 40 days. Some popular excuses for hazing were “pledges have to pay their dues to become a brother or sister,” and “hazing weeds out those that who don’t really want to be there.” All 40 answers can be found here.

Photo from Creative Commons.

The most popular reason was that hazing is a tradition.

If fraternities and sororities think it’s OK, can it be stopped? Hazing expert and self-proclaimed international watchdog of hazing Hank Nuwer believes the way to stop hazing is for the underclassmen to snub thought of it. If students stood up and said that hazing isn’t acceptable and dangerous, it would stop itself.

Dr. Tracy Maxwell believes that to stop hazing, schools need to do something at the campus-wide level for every organization, until people really take a hard look at hazing.

According to the National Study of Student Hazing done by Dr. Elizabeth Allen and Dr. Mary Madden in 2006, 40% of Greek Life organization members admit knowledge of hazing activities. Allen believes hazing has become a social norm in social Greek Life organizations. Hazing is glorified in movies like Dazed and Confused, where the upcoming freshmen in high school get chased and hit with wooden paddles.

On many of the Greek Life organization’s websites, they explicitly state that hazing is not allowed and will not be tolerated. Is this a rule they stick to? Many students say no.

Sam Mason was a sophomore at Radford University in 2010 when he died because of ethanol poisoning. He was pledging Tau Kappa Epsilon and lost his life. Seven TKE brothers were later indicted and charged with hazing and supplying alcohol to an underage person.

“I feel a lot has ended due to the death of Sam Mason, but I believe hazing will never truly end,” said Senior Becca Barteau. “It is a tradition in most of Greek Life and I highly doubt it will ever end.”

Dr. Tod Burke, a Radford University professor of Criminal Justice, spoke about the dangers and effects of hazing on WSLS TV and National Public Radio in Roanoke, Va. in July 2011. He touched on the fact that anti-hazing laws tend to be relaxed until something tragic happens, and that’s when action is too late.

“Hazing can be prevented, but everyone involved has to take the right steps to make it stop,” he said. “It won’t just stop on it’s own.”

When fun becomes a risk

Senior Alex Vincent had to attend AA meetings all summer after his parents realized his grades had dropped drastically. They thought he was partying too much and had him go to the meetings as a preventative measure. He said he didn’t think he had an alcohol problem, but the meetings helped open his eyes to the seriousness and danger of alcoholism.

“I liked those meetings,” Vincent said. “Those people tell the truth, and it was really eye opening for me. It made [me] realize I want to finish school and not drink too much.”

Photo from Creative Commons.

Drinking on college campuses is an issue that has been discussed and debated by universities all over the country. Most universities focus on safety and alcohol awareness to reduce the chances of death from alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related deaths by making the information available to students about the dangers of drinking, but alcoholism can be overlooked.

Brandi Brown, a dining services manager for three years, said she has worked with employees who have had issues with alcohol.

“When you start to show up late to work, or miss work or show up to work drunk, then you have a problem,” Brown said. “We don’t care what you do off the clock, but when it starts affecting what you do on the clock, then it’s a problem. We know students party, but if it’s affecting them working, we can’t allow that and technically it’s not our place, but usually if it gets that far, they need help.”

A recent Harvard University study found that 6% of college students meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. Alcoholism is defined by alcoholism-and-drug-addiction-help.com as a condition in which a dependence on alcohol harms a person’s health, social functioning or family life.

Head of New Student Programs, Michael Richardson, faces the issue of alcoholism in students on a regular basis. He said the university is always trying to think of new ways to help students who face issues like addiction and substance dependence.

“The threat of alcoholism in college students is at an all-time high,” Richardson said. “Countless students have no idea they have an alcohol problem and think they are just being a college kid and having fun. It is a never-ending concern for Radford University.”

Freshman Shawn Longwood said he drinks to get drunk often and has blacked out several times, which can both be signs of alcoholism.

“I’m not worried about being an alcoholic,” he said. “I’m just partying, man. I mean, I’m in college at Radford. I’m just trying to have fun.”

Photo from Creative Commons.

In recent years, Radford University has made an effort to educate students on the dangers of underage and binge drinking. The death of Radford University student Sam Mason due to alcohol poisoning in 2010 helped raise awareness and made the dangers real for many students. Programs have been set up so students will be more aware. In 2009, the university implemented the alcohol.edu program, where students take a short online class about alcohol awareness and they have to pass the class before they can register for classes. If students get a drug or alcohol charge at RU, they are also required to take an alcohol/substance abuse class, and they have the option of individual counseling as well. If a student feels they need counseling, the Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) office has counselors available for help and support.