Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 20, 1999)
thing is ridiculous
„ at this point.
That is death.
But people do it
every night of the
week.” _Reg McMeen
owner, Duffy’s Tavern
BINGE from page 7
McMeen said Lincoln bars have been coop
erative in trying to reduce binge drinking by
eliminating 25 cent wells and free birthday
“We’ve been put under an enormous
amount of pressure not to make any mistakes,”
McMeen said. “The clientele also feel pressure,
and as a result they go out and (drink) more.”
Mausbach said The Brass Rail doesn’t
allow anyone in who employees suspect is on a
“If we see it’s someone’s birthday and we
are their last stop, we don’t let them in because
we know they have already had too much to
drink,” he said. “If someone is drunk, they can’t
drink anyway, so they don’t help us because we
can’t sell to diem.”
Wright said the main reason he went on a
bar crawl was because his friends wanted it.
“It was traditional,” Wright said. “I drank
the whole night, and I did OK for the whole
night except for the last half-hour, which I don’t
“I didn’t want to go all that bad,” he said.
“The friends I have who are 21 had theirs, and
they want to get people back, so they take them
McMeen said Duffy’s has its own policy
concerning bar crawls: If any of the members of
a birthday group have the normal signs of
intoxication, they don’t get in.
“The birthday thing is ridiculous at this
point,” McMeen said. “No one should drink 21
shots. That is death. But people do it every night
of the week.
“If you really want to piss someone off,” he
said, “tell them they can’t do something on their
Duffy’s doesn’t have a hard-and-fast rule
concerning bar crawls, he added, but if people
are being responsible and behaving themselves,
usually there are no problems. Tradition seems
to be die main reason students go on bar crawls.
“It’s tradition on the 21st,” said Mike
Ediger, a junior architecture major. “We like to
Ediger and about eight other people were
on a bar crawl Friday night.
In celebration, the group bought two
Fishbowls - the well-known extra-large mixed
drinks that are a house specialty at Duffy’s. The
group then raced to see which foursome could
gulp the jumbo, straw-laden Jack and Cokes
Most of the group members said they went
on their own bar crawls when they turned 21
and they attend the bars regularly - on average
about four to five times a week.
“We’re way past our limits,” one of the men
exclaimed with a smile after finishing the
The changing scene
Brass Rail owner Mausbach said that com
pared to when he was in college - from 1983 to
1986 - the level of student drinking seems to be
about the same. ;;
Wright said he wasn’t sure ifbinge drinking
- or drinking as a whole - had changed all that
much since his parents were in college. But the
culture surrounding alcohol had changed over
free years, he said.
“I think for one thing people start (drinking)
younger. Most kids start in high school -1 did,”
he said. “Kids are more irresponsible and they
drink more (at one sitting) than they used to.”
Duke Engel, director of the Independence
Center, the alcohol and drug treatment center at
BryanLGH Medical Center West, said that
when looking at the problem of binge drinking,
it’s not possible to get a comprehensive idea of
the problems it causes until one looks at the
“As a culture, we have started to understand
problems with alcohol and problems with
excessive drinking,” Engel said. “Colleges
were just one of the last places where we really
saw the problems that drinking causes.
“I don’t think the problem is worse,” he
said, “I just think understanding and insight is
Duffy’s owner McMeen said there is a
“huge” binge drinking problem at UNL, but
also that it was nothing new, and that there was
a binge drinking scene when he was in college
from 1980 to 1985.
“This problem has been here forever,” he
said. “I used to jokingly say that most college
towns have a night life, but in Lincoln, we have
Wright said he thought die culture of drink
ing in college is definitely one that disappears
once students graduate from campus life.
“I think it slews down. It will for me,” he
said. “I don’t plan on going to woikahdcoming
home and getting piss-drunk. -
“I think college is the one time when you
have responsibility - like you can drive a cat'
and you can drink - but at the same time you*
don’t have a real job or a family. You have the
power to make your own choices.”
Engel said many people reminisce after col
lege about the days ofbeing “crazy drunks,” but
that also isn’t looking at the big picture.
“When we were in college it was no big
<foal,” he said. “But what you have to face is that
We are all going to end up burying someone
from this. We don’t talk about that during the
“There are the ones who outgrow the party
ing, but what about the ones who didn't out
Wright said he thought curbing binge
drinking was something that had to start in die
home and with the family.
“I think a let of the laws are pretty asinine,”
he said. “It comes down to die parents being
responsible. My mom educated me. Kids have
to be taught.”
While not trying to discount the problem,
Engel said it was important to realize there is a
large percentage of students who drink in a rea
sonable fashion, or don’t drink at all.
- Engel said he doesn’t think any college stu
dent ever uses the term “binge drinking.”
The misconception that “everybody is
doing it” when it comes to binge drinking is
definitely not the case, he said.
“The majority of college students don’t
drink this way,” he said. “You would think, horn
the stories you hear, that 90 percent of students
get drunk every weekend.
“Everyone wants to say it’s the majority,”
Engel continued “I think we have to look at die
fact that there are an awful lot (of students) that
don’t do this, and the ones that are drinking
excessively aren’t just part of the crowd”
McMeen said he thinks the heart of the
problem definitely lies with the patrons rather
than the bar owners, such as himself.
“(Bar owners) are feeling undeserved pres
sure,” he said “(People) still see the problem as
the distributors (of the alcohol) not the patrons.
“I don’t even see how they can do anything
about it,” he said. “Our back is up against the
wall, and we will go out of business if we have
to do anything else.
“It’s not my responsibility to make sure you
don’t drink too much.”
McMeen said binge drinking is getting
attention because there are many people who
indulge without thinking of the consequences.
“It is killing people,” he said “Binge drink
ing is dumb, dangerous and it leads to alco
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