It was hard not to miss the collective shrug of shoulders Minnesota gave to a report this week that showed binge drinking is still a sport of choice for nearly one out of 3 high school students, even though it came a month after another study dropped the state from its lofty perch as the healthiest state, largely because of the penchant of our kids to drink like there’s no tomorrow.
And even when Jenna Foellmi, 20, of Brownsville put an exclamation point on the survey a day later by starting her drinking in the morning, continuing in the evening, and dropping dead by morning, Minnesota — and that includes us in the media — were still far more consumed with the future of a bear and a couple of cubs in Duluth.
There wasn’t much chatter about binge drinking this week, even though Foellmi put the problem in stark terms, a month after Rissa Amen-Reif, 22, of Eden Prairie was killed in Mankato (drinking was involved), and a couple of months after Amanda Jax died in Mankato with a .46 blood alcohol content after a night of binge drinking.
“I guess a lot more people do it than you’d think. A lot of people get over the top drunk, trying to show off, and stuff like that.” Duluth high school sophomore Malory Dunbar told WDIO TV. It’s a comment echoed by other kids this week: it’s worse than you think.
A comment from Winona police chief Frank Pomeroy in Saturday’s Star Tribune was illuminating about why we’ve been unable to come up with a way to halt the carnage:
Pomeroy said, “personal responsibility” has to be emphasized in cases such as this.
Chief Pomeroy appeared to criticize those who did nothing while Ms.Foellmi was dying. Nobody did anything to stop Ms. Jax either. He’d like to see a host ordinance that holds party hosts responsible for underage drinking, according to the Winona Daily News. It’s something Chaska adopted last September, but not without a fight.
But it’s clear that a solution is hard to come by. Got any?