Mike Denton, local substance abuse expert, visited Butler University last night in an effort to increase alcohol awareness before homecoming week.
Denton infused the night’s topic, alcohol abuse and underage drinking in college, with lots of humor but remained serious when describing the risks of such behavior.
The event was sponsored by Butler Greeks as Educators Advocates and Resources, Peers Advocating Wellness for Students and the Student Government Association.
The groups will also be supporting the “Over It” campaign that encourages students to speak out against the dangers and consequences of high-risk drinking.
The evening began with a quick message about the “Over It” campaign. Then a short video made by the SGA Public Relations Board about the consequences of alcohol use was played.
In an effort to encourage students to think about the consequences of drinking in excess, students were asked to write down things they are “over” in regards to drinking.
Students then voiced their concerns aloud to the group.
He said while the event was to discourage irresponsible drinking, it wasn’t a typical “drinking is bad” lecture.
Denton asked the students if any of them had started drinking at or around age 15.
He opened the room up for those in attendance to freely admit that they had used alcohol underage. Denton said this behavior occurs because as a society the U.S. exposes people to alcohol at a young age.
He said society tells young people that it is acceptable to drink. So why is it not okay to be drunk, he asked. Or is it okay, and when?
Denton said that as a whole, the U.S. presents conflicting views in regards to when it is okay to be drunk.
Society says it is okay to get drunk every now and then, he said but it is not okay to get too drunk and be reckless.
Denton said the subject is tricky because the line between recreational and reckless use of alcohol is very fine.
“Recreational use is okay and as a matter of fact it’s fun,” Denton said. “But when something is fun and likable people abuse it almost right away after discovering the pleasure in it.”
Abusing something that feels good is normal, Denton said, but rather than refraining from alcohol completely, people simply need to have a better understanding of the difference between recreation and abuse.
Denton said, “People should learn to enjoy the safe, minimal effect of the alcohol buzz.”