Archive for Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Should drinking age be lower?

August 19, 2008


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Do you think the drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18, in an effort to curb binge drinking?

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College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus.

The movement, called the Amethyst Initiative, began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age.

"This is a law that is routinely evaded," said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont who started the organization. "It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory."

Other prominent schools in the group include Syracuse, Tufts, Colgate, Kenyon and Morehouse.

But even before the presidents begin the public phase of their efforts, which may include publishing newspaper ads in the coming weeks, they are already facing sharp criticism.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says lowering the drinking age would lead to more fatal car crashes.

Both sides agree alcohol abuse by college students is a huge problem.

Research has found more than 40 percent of college students reported at least one symptom of alcohol abuse or dependence. One study has estimated more than 500,000 full-time students at four-year colleges suffer injuries each year related in some way to drinking, and about 1,700 die in such accidents.

Moana Jagasia, a Duke University sophomore from Singapore, where the drinking age is lower, said reducing the age in the U.S. could be helpful.

"There isn't that much difference in maturity between 21 and 18," she said. "If the age is younger, you're getting exposed to it at a younger age, and you don't freak out when you get to campus."


flyin_squirrel 9 years, 5 months ago

confrontation (name fits you well), I didn't say kids will never binge drink. Read my comments again. All I said was our children should learn to drink from their parents not their peirs.

Confrontation 9 years, 5 months ago

What a joke, squirrel! People act like teens have to drink. Lawrence parents are already pumping their toddlers full of wine, so we don't need to encourage them to "teach" their 18 year olds about drinking. It's quite funny to listen to parents who believe that their kids will never binge drink if they don't see mommy and daddy drinking "responsibly." Naivety at it's best.

texburgh 9 years, 5 months ago

My college days were in the 70's when the drinking age was 18 for beer. In my college town there were plenty of establishments catering to the beer drinking students. It was common for students to head to the bars, have a few beers while hanging out with friends, listening to music, talking about sports or classes or the opposite sex. Yes, some drank too much. But I believe there was less binge drinking. The mystique was gone; the "forbidden fruit" message did not get to us. And at the end of the evening we walked back to our dorms or our apartments. Large keg and booze parties were rare - you didn't need them if you wanted to drink. There will always be those who drink too much and cause problems. But the surest way to get people to want something is to forbid it. Abstinence only doesn't work and neither does a drinking age of 21. Beer is legal at 16 in Europe. And, outside of English soccer matches, do they have more problems than the U.S.? I don't know.At a time when Bush and McCain advocate a 100 year war in Iraq and continue to throw our young people - ages 18 through 20 - into death's way, why can't those young people have a beer? Either lower the drinking age to 18 or raise the military age to 21. Either you are an adult or you aren't.

gr 9 years, 5 months ago

"Abstinence only doesn't work and neither does a drinking age of 21."That's right! Legalize pot!Smoke pot responsibly.

flyin_squirrel 9 years, 5 months ago

As a parent, who teaches your child how to drink? The way our current system is setup, they learn to drink from their peirs, not their parents. At least at the age of 18, parents could go out to dinner with their soon to be adult and teach them the proper way to experience alcohol.

cowboy 9 years, 5 months ago

I think about age 55 ought to be a good time to start..... funny that smoking is banned but drinking is ok

beim 9 years, 5 months ago

Be reasonable gr, there certainly is an age where you will actually ENJOY a beer. This usually doesn't come about when the laws say that 21 is an age that is appropriate to enjoy a beer. At 18, or 16 at home with parents for dinner, you can properly teach your kids to have a beer or glass of wine and show them that its enjoyable with caution, not just the liaison to drunkenness. Your argument, why have an age at all is pretty ridiculous, why have a age to drive? There is a time for responsible actions by way of thought and 21 just makes things worse, as it prolongs the kids transition into responsible adulthood certainly decreasing the awareness that a beer can be enjoyable just to have a beer! I do believe that kids shouldn't be able to buy the harder stuff until 21 and thats because it was that way in the past. I believe in freedoms as well and didn't get into the talk of other drugs such as pot and cocaine, so im not going to, this discussion is over drinking, although you should be able to grow your own pot in your garden legally if you wish to be responsible and not sell. The truth is that prohibition causes worse outcomes always and there must be a way to reduce the negative aspects, by setting the law lower parents might worry for a while just as they did when alcohol prohibition was lifted, but after a while things will fall into place and we can assume that a kid of 18 years old may be an adult just as he or she will be when they are 21, except by this time with a more mature outlook. Then again that depends on what type of parents they have to mentor their lives.

gr 9 years, 5 months ago

"Your argument, why have an age at all is pretty ridiculous,"Ridiculous? Did you just arbitrarily decide it was?"why have a age to drive?"Because driving is dangerous under unskilled hands and until someone is able to attain appropriate skills they should not drive. What skill is needed to be able to drink? (you made a poor choice in analogy).You speak as a true addict feeling threatened that someone will take away your fix but yet wanting everyone else to participate so you'll feel better about your own addiction.What it comes down to is you feel your opinion about age to drink is better than someone else's opinion about age to drink.Whatever. Enjoy the joys of addiction.

beim 9 years, 5 months ago

Its so odd to me that we, a country comprised of mostly all immigrants can come to a conclusion that 21 is the answer. Its so funny to see American kids travel abroad and just loose themselves in the newfound freedoms. As a state with a high German immigrant population you'd think that we would have had more time to progress then Germany with its two wars, but in reality they have progressed so far ahead of us that when they come here and see they can't drink until 21, get harassed to see some id for a beer, or can't take a train to freakin anywhere how far behind we are and its damn embarrassing. Go to Germany and to have a beer is to enjoy life and culture, here in the US its BOOZE and NAUGHTY, all we teach our kids with laws such as the drinking age is to disrespect law enforcement and laws in general, how to act like idiots when in contact with alcohol and peers and how to stunt their maturity. So the next time your kids go abroad be happy that they'll actually get to feel like an adult and maybe take a train.

imagold 9 years, 5 months ago

Maybe this is a way to lower liability for the universities. They can't control their students now, so they want to lower the age so they don't have to worry about it. The student newspapers, for one, don't help much. Have you seen the ads for bars in the UDK? Get rid of them. DUI attorneys? Get rid of them. Make the punishments we have stick and get their attention. And as for the weak "old enough to go to war, old enough to vote" argument, I say raise the age to enlist and vote...and drive, while we're at it.

Grundoon Luna 9 years, 5 months ago

If you're old enough to go to war you are old enough to drink.And damn straight, gr! Legalize it, regulate it, tax it . . . hello balanced budgets. Yeah, I said it. Between the revenue generated in the production, sales and taxation as well as the savings in the prosecution and confinement of marijuana offenders (or the direction of those saved funds in to resources fighting the real scourge: coke, meth, heroin), our economy would see a boost from both industrial hemp and recreational. Why send that revenue to the blackmarket economies of Mexico and Columbia, etc?

gr 9 years, 5 months ago

"Its so funny to see American kids travel abroad and just loose themselves in the newfound freedoms. "Did you make a funny or were you serious?"to have a beer is to enjoy life and culture, "So, why have an age at all? Don't you want children to "enjoy life and culture"?Unless you are saying the substance is bad. If so, why should anyone drink? If it's not bad, why shouldn't everyone be able to drink? Of course same goes for smoking.Why pick the addictive and harmful substances of alcohol and nicotine, but not pot, cocaine, heroin? Why be two-faced? Is it because, "we've always done it"?

beim 9 years, 5 months ago

your a true debater im so addicted ..your reason is very unreasonable and lacks everything...i dont know,.. but you might have to be older than 18 to write on this page. better check with your mom. go abroad

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