08 April 2010

Lower the drinking age. . .

I was all of 20 years old when the federal gov't raised the minimum legal age for alcohol consumption to 21.  All of us 18-20 year olds were "grandfathered" into the new limit; that is, if we were drinking legally when the law was changed, we were still legal. . .even if not yet 21.

Study after study, report after report has concluded that the 21 year old drinking age is not doing the job it was designed to do:  prevent irresponsible drinking by young adults.  In fact, there's a good case to be made that the 21 age limit is actually helping to increase binge drinking, drunk driving, etc.  

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  1. It's funny that you can be considered mature enough to get married, vote or even die for your country but not so mature that you can buy yourself a beer or a glass of wine.

  2. Crux,

    Exactly...the 21 age limit was just the first in a long line of Baby Boomer inspired Nanny-isms put in place by Republicans in the mid-1980's.

  3. Father, the last time I was in the US I was frequently asked for ID when I ordered a beer. At that time I was 48! I've sometimes been told that I look younger than my years but that's stretching it a bit.

  4. I agree, if you can die for your country or decide to get married, then you should be able to do anything every other adult can do.

  5. Only when alcohol consumption in the average American home becomes something associated with family, something done at meals, something that is to be enjoyed, respected, etc., only then can anything be done to curb alcohol abuse by minors and legal young adults.

    Both we and the U.K. suffer from bing drinking among the youth. Both we and the U.K. suffer from Puritanical and Calvinistic, pleasure-hating/repressing pasts. I wonder...

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine there's music, laughter, and good red wine. At least I've always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!

  6. My dad has long opined that the drinking age should be 18. The driving age should be raised to 40, he says :)

  7. Most states in the nation adopted a minimum drinking age of 21 soon after federal passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, which required states to maintain a minimum drinking age of 21. Under the Federal Aid Highway Act, States were required to enforce the minimum drinking age of 18 in order to avoid a 10% reduction in federal highway funds. The original intention of the law was to reduce the incidents of alcohol-related accidents among people under 21. But since passage of this legislation, and the raising of the drinking age in many states, the percentage of people who drink between the ages of 18 to 20 has skyrocketed. Many say the prohibitions have actually encouraged secretive binge drinking, more dangerous behavior, and less educational programming targeting this age group. Respected law enforcement officials and university presidents have recently called for changes in the federal law to permit states to lower the drinking age.

    At age 18, people are legal adults. As much as their parents may think otherwise, they are no longer children. They have the right to vote and help choose the President of the United States. They can go to war to defend our country, and they can legally purchase guns and cigarettes. It is absolutely absurd that they cannot have a beer or glass of wine without fear of possible arrest and prosecution.

    It's time for the nation to repeal these Prohibition-era laws and adopt a more intelligent, progressive, and educational approach to drinking among younger adults. These laws simply don't work, they aren't enforceable any longer, and if anything they are counterproductive. Literally millions of responsible young adults are already consuming alcohol and that's not going to change. What we need to do is stop wasting the taxpayers money chasing, charging and prosecuting responsible young adults who want to have a beer, and start putting the money where it ought to be, in promoting smart education about responsible drinking, and in pursuing far more serious criminals, including those at all ages who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

    Eric Paine
    President & Founder
    Drink At 18

  8. The Wallaces: If you think it's bad in the US and UK you should (or maybe shouldn't) go to Sweden or Norway.

    Chris: Your dad might have a point. In the UK around 25% of fatal RTAs involve drivers under 25 (mostly male and under the influence).

  9. I thought USA was the land of incividual freedom? Here in "Nanny State" Norway it's 18 yrs.