The current U.S. drinking age of 21 is not working, according to more than 100 college and university presidents. They have signed a statement calling for a public debate to rethink and lower the drinking age to 18:
"Kids are going to drink whether it's legal or illegal," said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody, who supports lowering the drinking age to 18. "We'd at least be able to have a more open dialogue with students about drinking as opposed to this sham where people don't want to talk about it because it's a violation of the law." [...]
Several students interviewed yesterday at Johns Hopkins said lowering the drinking age could reduce binge drinking. "I think alcohol is seen, a lot of times, as a forbidden thing, and people want it," said Jamie Hittman, 20, a junior from Columbia. "It's almost like contraband. Once you get it, you have to drink all of it."
Katie Buckheit, 19 and also a junior, said if people were exposed to drinking at a younger age, they would be more mature about it. "Maybe I'm being idealistic, but in Europe you can drink once you can see the bar," she said. "I think we should maybe take a lesson from
what other countries are doing."
But Laura Kranish, an 18-year-old sophomore from Silver Spring, said students would drink as much they do no matter what the drinking age is.
What do you think? Should the drinking age in the US be lowered to 18? Would that help reduce binge drinking or lead to higher alcohol-related accidents?
I agree with these administrators. Lowering the age might not reduce drinking as much, but it would make it easier to talk about this with people. Because of the RA rules I officially had to do everything possible to discourage drinking and couldn't talk honestly about it, when that really just forced people away into the frats.
Most other nations don't have the binge drinking problems the US does with teenages. Here is it taboo, so it must be good- just like sex. In Canada, etc, alcohol is just alcohol.
When I lived in the Dominican Republic they'd sell or serve anyone who was old enough to ask for and pay for a drink- no child binge drinkers there, though I did sometimes see a kid having a beer with dinner with their parents or a kid buying beer with some groceries at the market as part of the family's daily shopping.
As someone who has lived in the US, where you can drive before you can drink, and Europe, where people often start to drink before learning to drive, I think the answer is to separate the two completely. Give everyone in the US above 18 a choice: a license to drink, or a license to drive. No one should legally be able to do both.
As for your second point about choosing one, well that's the most absurdly moronic thing I've heard all day that doesn't have to do with McCain vs Obama.
21 for liquor and fortified beverages
In the US kids can drive at 16, sometimes younger. The very first time they can get drunk (legally), they will have car keys in their hands, and no personal experience warning them that they are in no condition to drive.
In the States there is such an alcoholism problem, and I'm sure it's because alcohol is such a taboo. Remove the taboo and you remove the appeal!
Military age: 21
Drinkin' age: 21
Votin' age: 21
Smokin' legalized MJ age: 21
As our life expectancy is extended it only makes sense to tweak these upwards. If 50 is the new 40 (or whatever), then let's make 21 the new 18.
I bought beer when I was 18 and ended up quit drinking by my 20's. We were not a stupid as they are now.
Now days the drinking and driving is a problem. Also the drinking till you puke and pass out is just stupid.
The mental problems with youth now days is the problem. They act like they are 14 till they are almost 30.
If they can join the army, they should be able to drink a beer.
Then the other part of me says we've already got enough idiots driving drunk and killing people on the road at 21, why would you ever lower it?
Here's an idea...let's decriminalize marijuana. That way, you get rid of bar fights, driving drunk, most domestic violence, etc. There worst thing you'd have to deal with then is a severe case of the munchies.
Truly, alcohol is a social lubricant, and may still be valued as such.
Conversely, and this will get me drug into the street and shot, we could raise the minimum age for 'responsible activities' (drinking, marriage, etc.) to 22 or 23. That gives enough time for students to get a 4 year degree before being allowed to drink. I also believe that anyone should be allowed inside of bars as a designated driver and simply not served alcohol.
To some degree I would prefer to have the drinking age lowered to 16 but have the driving age raised to 18. I would also like to have a driving age cutoff or mandatory proficiency exams after a particular age. Any FARK reader sees crashes into farmers' markets almost as much as DUI.
It is a good stress reliever for some college students...
If New Zealand and Australia are anything to go by, there will be more binge drinking and alcohol related problems if the age is lowered.
Unless your country can communicate and teach the responsibility needed, I don't see it being any different.
I don't get it.
It's obviously stupid, and it gives young people a strong foundation of distrust of government.
I joined the military at age 17 and I felt the exact same way.
But,now that I'm an antique I feel completely the opposite. I know how irresponsible that age can be.
Owning a gun at age 16 id not a valid arguement. Add a drunk 18 year old with a gun into the mix and you have a drunk who will roadrage, shoot the other driver, then wrap his dumb young drunk gun toting ass around a tree on the way home.
Also, greatly increase the penalties for drunk driving in the same legislation that lowers the drinking age.
"Congress should at least remove their blackmail that virtually requires states to have the law at 21 to get their full highway fund money. Letting states decide what they want is the proper federalist answer."
Hear, hear to your "at least".
I see a lot of people giving opinions about what the legal age for drinking should be, but I think legislating a legal age at all is absurd and offensive... much more so when that age is above the age of majority. The government should not be legislating personal morality to adults, nor should the government be co-opting the role that belongs to parents.
By "legislating personal morality" I mean criminalizing victimless actions and writing laws designed to protect adults from themselves. We already have laws against driving while intoxicated, so we don't need laws against getting intoxicated, an act which in and of itself puts nobody at risk but the intoxicated person. ALL recreational drugs should be legal for adults to use as they see fit... prohibition didn't work with alcohol and it doesn't work with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, or any other recreational substance. All the statistics show that the "War on Drugs" that began in the Reagan administration has been a massive and very costly failure, not unlike the failed war on alcohol that we waged from 1920 to 1933.
Some Mrs. Grundy type is bound to reply to this with some outraged comments about how drug addicts steal and rob to get money for drugs, and then go on to claim that decriminalizing drugs would result in a tidal wave of such lawlessness. The fact of the matter, however, is that the price of recreational drugs is artificially high (extremely so) precisely because they are illegal. If the cost of heroin actually reflected the cost of producing it, transporting it, and retailing it, a junkie would be able to get his daily fix for around fifty cents, and thus would have no need to steal or rob in order to satisfy his jones. Remove the laws against sales, possession, and use, and you remove the artificially high cost. Remove the artificially high cost, and you remove the impetus to steal.
Mrs. Grundy will also stridently point out that legalizing all drugs would result in a huge rise in drug use, and in drug overdoses. The opposite is true... remove the taboo factor, and drug use will go down, not up. Supply drug enthusiasts with pharmaceutical quality product that does not vary wildly in strength and purity the way street drugs do, and overdoses (along with other health problems induced by drug use) will plummet.
As for alcohol specifically... personally, I plan on giving my 16-month-old son a small glass of wine or beer with his dinner on a regular basis, starting when he's about ten years old. I want him to have no curiosity on the subject of booze, and I want him to be familiar enough with the effects that he won't overdo it when he's older in some futile search for a good time. Forbidden fruit has a powerful allure, especially for kids.
I see a lot of comments from people who assume that lowering the drinking age will somehow magically result in more people drinking. Are you folks for real? User DOJ wrote a comment recommending that we lower the drinking age a year at a time, "to lessen the shock of three years worth of people diving in at once". This is not a view that is in touch with reality. Do you actually believe that the current law against drinking before you're 21 stops 20-year-olds, 19-year-olds, or 18-year-olds? All it does is keep them out of bars and liquor stores, unless they happen to have a convincing-enough fake ID, or they happen to be frequenting one of the many establishments that are somewhat lax on carding people who aren't obviously too young.
the only thing lowering the age limit will do is find out who has a drinking problem sooner
1. Few hours of safe-use class
2. Permit that allows you to drink with your parents @17
3. Full license that allows you to drink at will @18
You can lose your license if you abuse it, no matter your age. DWI, DUI, Public Intoxication etc.
the drinking age should definitely be lowered, though. if you get a DWI when you're under-age, you get slapped with a much larger penalty than if you're of age. also, your blood alcohol level has to be less than 0.01, so you're screwed if you rinse with f*cking listerine. when you're of age, you'll get slapped with a fine, get your license revoked for a while, have to serve probation (the same as if you're underage), but your blood alcohol level has to be below 0.08. my buddy got f-ed the other day, of course it was his fault for driving like a dick and drinking, but he had like A beer and they took him in under false pretenses. if the drinking age is lowered, i think some teenagers will avoid the binge drinking and learn some discipline before they get slapped with a huge legal liability. i don't know, it makes more sense. i think the more you limit someone from doing something the more they just want to do it.
What a stupid reason.
How about instead we raise our children better and teach them virtue?
"Hey, let’s legalize murder and rape while we’re at it since 'some people do it anyways.'
What a stupid reason."
What a stupid comment. Murder and rape are crimes against others; putting a forbidden substance into your body hurts nobody but you. You don't see the difference?
"How about instead we raise our children better and teach them virtue?"
Right, how about WE do that and not the legislative branch of the government? While we're teaching them 'virtue' (whatever you happen to mean by that), maybe we could also give them enough factual information about drugs and alcohol that they won't be tantalized by the prospect of trying to find a good time in a forbidden bottle... as opposed to the lies and distortions that we currently expect kids to believe, or the total information blackout on the subject that many parents hand them.
First they told me about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jesus, and the Boogy Man... then they told me that I'd ruin my life if I smoked pot.
You can own a gun at 16
You can join the Armed forces at 18 or 17 with parentla consent.
You can Drive a car at 16.
You can have sex at 18.
You can drink alcohol at 21.
So you'd be able to drive a car legally for 5 years before having a beer legally.
Ever noticed that youngsters who drink tend to screw up and come home with sick down their fronts? Incapable?
And that's them walking.
Yet it is seens as being a good move to be able to get drunk and have the car so habituated into their world view that they'll automatically try to drive.
Also you can own a gun and legally shoot people, under certain circumstances, for 2 years before you can have sex?
The US is seriously screwy.
Drinking age, seat belt & helmet laws, no trans fats or smoking in restaurants. Many of these regulations are made by unelected civil service bureaucrats.
Somebody knows better than you what's good for you. Just not you.
THIS is the creeping fascism everyone should be afraid of.
I am 18 and I feel it should be kept at 21.
When drinking is outlawed, people will drink to get drunk, at woodsies or house parties, and act irresponsibly.
Here in Australia, 18 year olds go to the pub, and for the most part behave themselves. The goal is to spend time with friends, not to get smashed.
And to counter the MADD people argument about drunk driving, just get a few more random breath tests on the road. That will get drunks off the road fast than a dumb drinking age.
theirs my 2 cents
ps i live in Israel and the drinking age is 18 there