Should we lower the drinking age?
Filed under: Day Care & Education
I spent my late adolescence and early adulthood in the UK, where the drinking age is only 18. Whenever I'd visit friends on US college campus, I was amazed at the ridiculous things kids did in order to drink without getting caught. My experiences were only anecdotes, but nonetheless, it seemed clear that the need to hide drinking directly contributed to it being done irresponsibly. And if you're wiling to accept that it's impossible to stop kids from consuming alcohol in the first place, isn't the logical conclusion to lower the legal age for doing so?
Whether you agree with me or not, rest assured that my opinions won't be affecting policy anytime soon. One man who might make a difference, however, is John McCardell. He's the former president of Middlebury College, and founder of Choose Responsibility -- a nonprofit group that wants to lower the drinking age to 18. According to McCardell, this will actually help curtail the growing and dangerous problem of binge drinking on college campuses.
But his proposal has an interesting catch. The new freedoms would only apply to 18 to 20 year-olds who had A) graduated high school, and B) passing an alcohol education program. In addition, kids who are caught violating the state's alcohol laws before they're 18 are barred from the program. Essentially, it's constructed so that young people could earn the right to use alcohol responsibly.
Is this a good idea? How do you, or do you plan to approach the issue of drinking with your kids?