UPDATE:¬†It looks like the WDAZ article quoted below was inaccurate. Grand Forks has merely moved these¬†ordinance¬†changes forward. They’ve yet to become law, per the Grand Forks Herald.

Here in America we have a problem with alcohol abuse among college-aged people. The City of Grand Forks, home to the University of North Dakota, is no different from other college towns in that they’ve got a problem with kids drinking too much.

To address that issue, the City of Grand Forks has decided to crack down on drink specials…and beer pong.

It’s now against the law for Grand Forks bars to give what city council is calling “extreme drink specials”.

The council passed the extreme drinking ordinance tonight at a Service Safety Committee. All you can drink specials are now prohibited, along with any 3 or more drinks for the price of one.

Also banned by the ordinance – sponsoring drinking games and contest like beer pong. At 5:30 today the Grand Forks City Council met to discuss a Social Host and Extreme Drink Specials Ordinance. It was at the top of their agenda tonight. The Community and Campus Committee on High-Risk Alcohol Use has been pushing for stricter alcohol consumption laws in an attempt to limit underage drinking and restrict “extreme drink specials” at bars.

This smacks of treating symptoms and not the disease. Cracking down on drinking games in bars isn’t going to stop people who think a good time means drinking a whole bunch of alcohol. If they can’t play games or get cheap drinks in the bar they’ll buy booze from liquor stores and take it home.

I think we’d be better off addressing why so many college-aged kids thinking drinking lots and lots of alcohol is a good time. A certain amount of it is just youthful indescretion, but increasingly I do not think we can ignore the impact our arbitrary drinking age laws have on attitudes.

Many young Americans drink underage illegally. That breeds contempt for the law which is seen as silly. It also sets up alcohol consumption as a sort of taboo that’s fun to engage in, to extremes, once a young adult moves out on their own for the first time.

It may seem like a paradox, but the people who are probably responsible for doing the most to promote unhealthy drinking aren’t the liquor companies and bar owners who promote drinking games and drink specials. It’s the nanny statists and prohibitionists whose dowdy, lecturing, schoolmarmish attitudes make drinking culture seem hip by comparison.