Beer mile story celebrates irresponsible drinking

The Greater Augusta Prevention Partners is a community coalition whose mission to prevent substance abuse among youth. As a coalition member, I read your Feb. 8 article “Staunton man loses bet, agrees to beer mile” with disgust. Why do we glorify such foolish and unhealthy behavior by putting such an article on the front page of the paper?

The article has an almost comical tone to two friends playing a bet with “laughter, banter and of course hardcore picking on …” It was “all in good fun.” This article isn’t a comical tale but a depiction of foolishness and unhealthy choices. The end goal of this “beer mile” is to intentionally get someone drunk, make them vomit, and humiliate them in the process. I would not say this is comical but downright stupid. Is such a tale newsworthy?

This article is detrimental to efforts to curb underage drinking and encourage responsible drinking by adults. This article celebrates irresponsible drinking and depicts drunkenness with friends as “all in good fun.” To go further, the article doesn’t just celebrate drunkenness but provides detailed instructions on how to do a “beer mile” and provides a website for additional information. No one would think it acceptable to write an article celebrating the use of heroin and provide instructions how to make or get this drug. Why in this community do we think that celebrating drunkenness and providing instructions on how to get drunk and humiliate your friends is acceptable?

To combat such irresponsible reporting, a roundtable event for youth will be held for all middle and high school students and their families on March 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Defiance High School. The event is sponsored by the Greater Augusta Prevention Partners Coalition. The event will include fun competitive games between youth from area high schools. Guest speaker Kristi Cousins from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) will be the highlight of the day.

Letter to the editor from Joy Stultz, Staunton