Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered?August 24th, 2007 by josh farley
Josh Farley writes:
The article, authored by Sean Flynn and published Aug. 12, begins like this:
If a woman is old enough to sign a contract, buy a house and get married, isn’t she also old enough to sip champagne at her wedding? If a man is mature enough to serve on a jury or risk his life in a war halfway around the world, isn’t he also mature enough to drink a beer?
What do you think?
Part of Flynn’s evidence for a resurgence of debate is that those aged 18 to 21 are drinking anyway – in fact, far more recklessly because they’re doing it under the table with other inexperienced drinkers.
That can lead to trouble. But according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (who sent me an e-mail alerting me to the story after it ran), the law has saved about 21,000 lives and cut the alcohol-related fatality rate among that age group in half. Plus, MADD says, an 18-year-old’s brain is not fully developed and alcohol can damage that.
But David J. Hanson, professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Potsdam, has another idea in the Parade article:
“I think we should teach young people how to drink as well as how not to drink.”
That’s the idea behind Choose Responsibility: The group promotes intensive education and drinking licenses for 18-year-olds, akin to learner’s permits for young drivers. Get caught drinking before 18 or break any of the strict rules after that, and the license is gone.
“We’re never going to get rid of underage drinking,” says John McCardell. “But if a kid knows he has to stay clean in order to get a license at 18, that’s a pretty powerful incentive.”
Feel free to leave your own thoughts below.