TODAY'S QUESTION: Are 21st birthday shot books about friends or binge drinking?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | 10:31 a.m. CST; updated 12:23 p.m. CST, Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Associated Press recently came to the MU campus for a story about shot books used to commemorate 21st birthdays. A phenomenon linked mostly with women and Midwest college towns, the scrapbooks document a night of barhopping with photos of friends and increasingly sloppy signatures as the shot-taker gets closer to completing 21 shots.

It’s undoubtedly a tradition for students in Columbia, and you’ll surely spot a handful of shot books on a weekend night at downtown bars. Alcohol counselors warn that shot books promote unsafe behavior and also put bar owners and employees at risk if the birthday celebrant becomes sick from alcohol poisoning.

But an MU student interviewed for the story said that for her, the purpose of the book is to preserve memories with her best friends rather than to chronicle a night of binge drinking.

The MU Wellness Resource Center has several programs directed at alcohol education and prevention, including a group of students called ADAPT/PAWS (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team/Peers Advocating Wellness Solutions) Peer Educators who educate students and community members on wellness issues. The center’s Web site also has a blood alcohol content calculator.

Are 21st birthday shot books more about binge drinking or preserving memories with friends? Would binge drinking on birthdays be as widespread without shot books?

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Mark Foecking March 3, 2010 | 7:24 p.m.

Knowing little about the practice (I never heard of it when I came of age), I'd imagine the books were about preserving memories with friends *while* binge drinking. 21 shots in an evening will make pretty much anyone black out.


(Report Comment)
kathleen Lippitt March 4, 2010 | 2:46 p.m.

Friendships on the basis of shared inebriation are not real friendships. A real friend supports the healthier side of who you are and wants to see you succeed. It's a shame that so many have such a low standard for someone they call "friend".
Kathleen Lippitt

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