We want your opinions

September 20, 2006

ISSUE:

In a sweeping effort to stamp out sexual assaults and other problems stemming from alcohol abuse at the U.S. Naval Academy, school officials announced that they will use Breathalyzer tests and the threat of expulsion to force midshipmen - even those 21 and older - to curtail their drinking.

The enforcement tactics tolerate no underage drinking or driving under the influence of alcohol. Since classes at the Annapolis military college resumed last month, midshipmen age 21 and older are limited to three drinks on a given night, and their blood-alcohol content is not to exceed 0.08 percent, the legal standard for drunken driving in many states, including Maryland.

Academy officials will give random breath tests to hundreds of midshipmen on weekends. Those who fail will be referred to the academy's substance abuse counseling program. Second-time offenders and those with blood-alcohol levels of 0.15 percent or higher will face restriction to the dormitory, 5 a.m. marches or expulsion.

YOUR VIEW

What do you think of this new policy? Tell us what you think at arundel. speakout@baltsun.com by tomorrow. Please keep your response short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published Sunday.

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