Menstuff® has information on the drive to ply our children
with more booze at an even younger age. In spite of all of the
historical data that early drinking impacts the brain, leads to
higher levels of alcoholism, more traffic deaths of youth and of
their victims, but it makes money for the distillers and the state
taxes roll in. However, little of those taxes go to prevention and
treatment services caused by the use of alcohol, and many of those
programs are being severely reduced because of the greed of the state
legislatures in funding other projects with those alcohol, beer and
wine taxes. And, the theory of lowering the drinking age will reduce
binge drinking - give me a break. It will increase the level of binge
drinking and add many more intoxicated youth to our highways, legal
system and morgues. Don't let that happen!
Missouri 18 to Drink
Police Chief Wants Drinking Age Lowered
Vermont Latest to Eye Lower Drinking Age
Carnahan Approves Petition to Lower Legal Drinking Age to 18 in Missouri
Proposal calls for lower drinking age
Lower New York Drinkning Age Lures Jersey Youths
House Approves Plan for Raising Age on Drinking
A new chorus of critics says it's time to lower the drinking age
Prohibition, Old and New \
Minimum Legal Drinking Age Myth
Seven States Prohibit Underage Drinking
Related Issues: Binge Drinking
Vermont Latest to Eye Lower Drinking Age
Proponents say the higher age hasn't kept young people from consuming alcohol and has instead driven underage consumption underground, particularly on college campuses.
''Our laws aren't working. They're not preventing underage drinking. What they're doing is putting it outside the public eye,'' Vermont state Sen. Hinda Miller said. ''So you have a lot of kids binge drinking. They get sick, they get scared and they get into trouble and they can't call because they know it's illegal.''
On Thursday, a committee of the Vermont Senate approved Miller's bill to have a task force weigh the pros and cons of rolling back the drinking age and make a recommendation to the Legislature early next year.
Organizations and lawmakers in other states are toying with similar ideas.
In South Dakota, Flandreau lawyer N. Bob Pesall has drafted an initiative petition to allow 19- and 20-year-olds to legally buy beer no stronger than 3.2 percent alcohol.
In Missouri, a group is using the Internet social networking sites Facebook and Meetup to try to collect more than 100,000 signatures to get a measure on the ballot to lower the drinking age to 18.
In South Carolina and Wisconsin, lawmakers have proposed allowing active duty military personnel younger than 21 to buy alcohol. A similar proposal was rejected last year in New Hampshire.
And last year, former Middlebury College president John McCardell started Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit that favors allowing 18- to 20-year-olds to legally buy booze once they've completed an alcohol education program.
''We don't simply advocate the lower age, but believe mandatory alcohol education and licensing with very strict enforcement for violations of the state's alcohol laws might work,'' McCardell said.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others call this folly to even consider, saying the higher age limit has saved thousands of lives since the 1984 enactment of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. The act required states to raise the age to 21 or lose federal transportation money. South Dakota was the last state to comply, in 1988.
Vermont voted to raise the age in 1985, and in the ensuing 20 years, alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped by 40 percent, according to Vermont State Police.
''Is there any significant support in the U.S. Congress for changing the law? We don't see that,'' said Chuck Hurley, CEO of MADD.
Typically, when states flirt with the idea, they quickly abandon it for fear of losing the highway funding, he said.
Vermont stands to lose about $17 million a year if it were to flout the federal government and lower the drinking age.
McCardell said an effort is under way to persuade Congress to grant waivers exempting states from financial penalty if they lower the age.
''If Congress would grant a waiver, the states would be willing to try something, and at least then we could get some evidence and see whether things are better or worse,'' he said Thursday.
Politically, it's a hard sell, in part because there are other public health hazards associated with excessive alcohol consumption, not just highway fatalities.
But proponents of a younger drinking age say alcohol-related highway fatalities were dropping before the legal drinking age was lowered, and argue underground drinking presents its own risks.
In 2006, 28.3 percent of youngsters aged 12 to 20 said they'd had a drink in the past month and 19 percent were defined as binge drinkers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey defined a binge drinker as someone who, in the past month, had drunk five or more alcoholic beverages within several hours.
Miller, a Democrat, says she isn't sure that lowering the drinking age is the answer, but calls the idea worth exploring.
Her bill, which calls for a report to the Legislature by Jan. 15, does not propose a specific drinking age, only sets up a five-member task force to study the implications of lowering the age from 21. The bill now goes to the full Senate.
State Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, chairman of the committee that approved the bill, said he would vote against lowering the age if he had to decide now.
But he said it's nonetheless worth looking into.
''I sense the Senate will buy into our rationale, that a law on the books for 20 years should have a look-see, to see if it's having its intended effect or should be modified,'' said Illuzzi, a Republican.
But critics are leery.
''I think it is irresponsible legislation, to be quite honest,'' said William Goggins, director of education and enforcement for the state Liquor Control Board.
''The facts speak for themselves,'' he said. ''Once the drinking
age was raised, the number of alcohol-related fatalities decreased.
To me, saving lives is the grandest argument of them all.''
Missouri 18 to Drink
Parents must be responsible and make decisions for their children until they become adults. This is especially true when it comes to alcohol consumption.
Thankfully, the law makes purchase and possession of alcohol by a minor illegal. The law also makes providing alcohol to a minor illegal, except by a parent.
This allows parents to teach responsible alcohol consumption in the home. Missouri's alcohol law is more permissive than other states because it does not forbid consumption by a minor. Allowing parents to be responsible for their children's alcohol consumption is an important parental right that should be preserved.
But when children become 18, they are responsible for themselves. They will typically move out of the parents' home. They might purchase their own home at this point (taking on the responsibility of a large amount of debt in their own name) and get married without their parents' permission. They are allowed to choose to vote, and they can fight in the military and possibly die for their county.
People who are 18 years old should also be able to purchase alcohol if they so choose. They should have all the rights and liberties other adults have. Requiring parental supervision of these adults' alcohol consumption, as the law does, is unrealistic and morally wrong. Eighteen-year-olds are their own legal guardian, so it is a contradiction for the law to only allow them to drink if a parent or legal guardian provides it to them.
The law does affect their perception of alcohol. Prohibition glamorizes alcohol and sends the message that drinking alcohol makes you more of an adult.
The sub-culture of illegal drinking encourages binge drinking, drinking games and pre-gaming, which involves drinking before going into a public setting. Pushing the alcohol consumption behind closed doors means our young adults do not learn to drink in a social, responsible way.
I believe in young adults. If we treat them like adults and hold them responsible for their actions, they will make responsible decisions and will have more respect for the law. We cannot pretend that 18- to 20-year-olds do not drink, nor can we turn a blind eye to the drinking as long as they are able to hide it from their parents and law enforcement. Encouraging parents to teach abstinence-only alcohol education to their children is worse than ignoring the problem altogether. It is unrealistic and irresponsible.
Give 18-year-olds a voice in the political process and end the
apathy. We must stand up for the civil liberties of all adults. It is
safer to bring the drinking out from behind closed doors, and it is
morally the right thing to do. It is time to lower the drinking age
Source: www.themaneater.com/stories/2007/10/12/missouri-18-drink/ and missouri18todrink.org/
Carnahan Approves Petition to Lower Legal Drinking Age to 18 in Missouri
The petition is being spearheaded on campus by Ben Casebolt, a UCM senior, and is supported statewide by an online organization called, "Missouri 18 to Drink." The petition requires 100,000 signatures in order to get the initiative onto the November 2008 ballot.
In Missouri, Michael Mikkelson is responsible for starting the ballot to lower the drinking age, but he is also backed by "Choose Responsibility," a non-profit organization aimed at encouraging young adults ages 18-20 to make their own decisions about the role of alcohol in their lives.
"The drinking age hasn't always been an issue. The drinking age isn't a big issue in other countries either," Mikkelson said recently on KMBZ, a Kansas City news radio station.
Mikkelson said the problem with the drinking age today is it is leading to a large number of underage binge drinkers. With alcohol being illegal to people under 21, it encourages minors to consume large amounts at a time, instead of having a drink or two in a public setting. Mikkelson also said the drinking age was not a problem before the age was raised to 21 in 1984, due to groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbying in the early '80s.
When Central students were asked whether or not the drinking age should be changed, several different viewpoints were shared.
"I think the drinking age should be lowered. It would cut down on a lot of the drama associated with drinking today," said Darius Hagens, a freshman theater performance major. "I think that if the drinking age was lowered, that some people wouldn't do it because it isn't as much of a thrill when it is legal."
"Liberty, not prohibition, will lead to
responsible drinking habits," said Holden Dunlap, freshman undecided
major, who just returned from a tour in Iraq. I am old enough to go
over to Iraq and get shot at for your freedom, but I am not old
enough to go to the bar and have a drink. I think, if anything, some
sort of amendment to the drinking laws should be made for
Proposal calls for lower drinking age
Fraas is attempting to gain enough faculty support to create a Missouri 18 to Drink club that will advocate an amendment to lower the state drinking age.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 created a law mandating all states enforce a minimum age of 21 for the sale, purchase and private possession of alcoholic beverages in order to receive federal funding for highways.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia enforce the act, but earlier this year, the Missouri State Auditor's Office received a state amendment proposal from Michael Mikkelsen to lower Missouri's drinking age to 18.
"(Michael has) always been very proactive in wanting to expand liberty for everybody," said Marcus Mikkelsen, Michael's brother and a member of the campaign. "He saw that there was kind of a disconnect where people aged 18 to 21 have lots of different liberties, and this liberty wasn't being given to them."
If the proposal succeeds, people 18 and older will be able to sell, purchase and possess alcohol, but the state would lose $50 million in federal transportation funds, according to the state auditor's fiscal note.
"In my opinion, the $50 million loss is almost a negligible loss," Marcus said.
In 2006, the Missouri Department of Transportation reported spending $2.3 billion.
After the State Auditor's Office analyzed the fiscal impact of the proposed amendment, it moved to the Secretary of State's office for approval. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan approved a petition circulation request for the campaign in June. The petition requires 100,000 signatures in order to get the initiative onto the November 2008 ballot, but Marcus said the organization has less than 1,000.
Fraas, the MU campus coordinator for the campaign, said he hopes to contribute at least 2,500 signatures but has been having trouble.
"People are being like, 'Oh, no one's ever going to vote for that, so why bother?'" Fraas said. "People ask why should I support this, because it's not going to be passed. But if we could all band together, I honestly believe we could get this together."
Republican candidate for governor Anthony Ince, who publicly supports Mikkelson's initiative, said most people are unaware of an age contradiction between the law and Missouri state statute.
State law states a minor is anyone under the age of 17 or 18, depending on where he lives in the state, and anyone older than that age is his own legal guardian. But state statute allows legal guardians to give their children alcoholic beverages. Ince said an 18-year-old is his own legal guardian but cannot purchase alcohol under the law.
"If you're 18, you can leave your mother and father's home, you can own property, you can own your own vehicle, you can die for your country, but you can't drink," Ince said. " It's constitutionally feasible that you should be able to buy alcohol if you choose."
Ince said he believes the initiative will neither improve nor worsen substance abuse among college-aged kids.
"People who are under 21 right now who are drinking are going to continue to drink whether there's a law or not," Ince said. "It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 40, people have substance-abuse problems."
Ince said the issue is determining when a person is an adult.
"State law basically says that when you're 18 years of age, you're
an adult," Ince said.
Lower New York Drinkning Age Lures Jersey
House Approves Plan
for Raising Age on Drinking
A new chorus of critics says it's time to
lower the drinking age.
President Reagan initially opposed the law on federalism grounds but eventually was persuaded by his transportation secretary at the time, now-Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Over the next three years every state had to choose between adopting the standard or forgoing federal highway funding; most complied. A few held out until the deadline, including Vermont, which fought the law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (and lost).
Twenty years later, the drawbacks of the legislation are the same as they were when it was passed.
The first is that the age set by the legislation is basically arbitrary. The U.S. has the highest drinking age in the world (a title it shares with Indonesia, Mongolia, Palau). The vast majority of the rest of the world sets the minimum age at 17 or 16 or has no minimum age at all.
Supporters of the federal minimum argue that the human brain continues developing until at least the age of 21.
Alcohol expert Dr. David Hanson of the State University of New York at Potsdam argues such assertions reek of junk science. They're extrapolated from a study on lab mice, he explains, as well as from a small sample of actual humans already dependent on alcohol or drugs. Neither is enough to make broad proclamations about the entire population.
If the research on brain development is true, the U.S. seems to be the only country to have caught on to it.
Oddly enough, high school students in much of the rest of the developed world where lower drinking ages and laxer enforcement reign do considerably better than U.S. students on standardized tests.
The second drawback of the federal drinking age is that it set the stage for tying federal mandates to highway funds, enabling Congress to meddle in all sorts of state and local affairs it has no business attempting to regulate so long as it can make a tortured argument about highway safety.
Efforts to set national speed limits, seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws and set a national blood-alcohol standard for DWI cases have rested on the premise that the federal government can blackmail the states with threats to cut off funding.
The final drawback is pretty straightforward: It makes little sense that America considers an 18-year-old mature enough to marry, to sign a contract, to vote and to fight and die for his country, but not mature enough to decide whether or not to have a beer.
So for all of those drawbacks, has the law worked? Supporters seem to think so. Their primary argument is the dramatic drop in the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities since the minimum age first passed Congress in 1984. They also cite relative drops in the percentage of underage drinkers before and after the law went into effect.
But a new chorus is emerging to challenge the conventional wisdom. The most vocal of these critics is John McCardell Jr., the former president of Middlebury College in Vermont. McCardell's experience in higher education revealed to him that the federal age simply wasn't working.
It may have negligibly reduced total underage consumption, but those who did consume were much more likely to do so behind closed doors and to drink to excess in the short time they had access to alcohol. McCardell recently started the organization Choose Responsibility, which advocates moving the drinking age back to 18.
McCardell explains that the drop in highway fatalities often cited by supporters of the 21 minimum age actually began in the late 1970s, well before the federal drinking age set in.
What's more, McCardell recently explained in an online chat for the "Chronicle of Higher Education," the drop is better explained by safer and better built cars, increased seat belt use and increasing awareness of the dangers of drunken driving than in a federal standard.
The age at highest risk for an alcohol-related auto fatality is 21, followed by 22 and 23, an indication that delaying first exposure to alcohol until young adults are away from home may not be the best way to introduce them to drink.
McCardell isn't alone. Kenyon College President S. Georgia Nugent has expressed frustration with the law, particularly in 2005 after the alcohol-related death of a Kenyon student. And former Time magazine editor and higher ed reporter Barrett Seaman echoed McCardell's concerns in 2005.
The period since the 21 minimum drinking age took effect has been "marked by a shift from beer to hard liquor," Seaman wrote in Time, "consumed not in large social settings, since that was now illegal, but furtively and dangerously in students' residences. In my reporting at colleges around the country, I did not meet any presidents or deans who felt the 21-year age minimum helps their efforts to curb the abuse of alcohol on their campuses."
The federal drinking age has become somewhat sacrosanct among public health activists, who've consistently relied on the accident data to quell debate over the law's merits.
They've moved on to other battles, such as scolding parents for giving their own kids a taste of alcohol before the age of 21 or attacking the alcohol industry for advertising during sporting events or in magazines aimed at adults that are sometimes read by people under the age of 21.
But after 20 years, perhaps it's time to take a second looka sound, sober (pardon the pun), science-based lookat the law's costs and benefits, as well as the sound philosophical objections to it.
McCardell provides a welcome voice in a debate too often dominated by hysterics. But beyond McCardell, Congress should really consider abandoning the federal minimum altogether, or at least the federal funding blackmail that gives it teeth.
State and local governments are far better at passing laws that
reflect the values, morals and habits of their communities.
Prohibition, Old and New
Yet as Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi points out in this months cover story, Drinking is under attack these days in ways we havent seen since the failed experiment with national alcohol prohibition in the 1920s (see Prohibition Returns!, page 18). His article is excerpted from his fantastic new book Nanny State, which documents in encyclopedic and appalling detail How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children. From banning happy hours to outlawing pub crawls to ratcheting down the blood alcohol content (BAC) that defines drunk driving, elected officials are pursuing all sorts of neoprohibitionist policies that soak up limited police resources without increasing public safety.
Harsanyi tells the story of a lawyer who was arrested for drunk driving in Washington, D.C., even though her BAC was less than half the legal limit. She ended up spending $2,000 battling her ticket and a court order to attend an alcohol counseling program. She wasnt alone: In recent years, the D.C. cops have ticketed hundreds of other similarly sober drivers in a misguided attempt to prevent accidents. The good fight against drunk driving, says Harsanyi, has mutated into an all-out attack on the very concept of responsible drinking. That shift not only wastes cops (and our) time with counterproductive roadblocks and other invasive tactics; it infantilizes even those of us who dont drink.
Jackson Kuhls elegant essay Eight Million Sots in the Naked City (page 50) sheds light on how liquor prohibition played out in 1920s New York. In reviewing several recently published books on the topic, Kuhl tells a colorful tale featuring William H. Anderson, the all-too-effective head of the Anti-Saloon League; rumrunners floating off the coast of New Jersey; and crooked Coast Guard officers. Prohibition certainly kept some people from drinking, but its high social and economic costs far outstripped its meager benefits. Kuhl reminds us that Prohibition was finally repealed in the 1930s because Americans had grown tired of paying $16 million a year for a law 70 percent didnt want.
As the neoprohibitionists push ahead with plans to mandate smaller
beer cups and ignition interlock devices that would require all
drivers to submit to breath tests every time they start their cars,
that history is more relevant than ever.
Source: www.reason.com/news/show/122462.html also www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/YouthIssues/1046348192.html
Seven States Prohibit Underage
Twenty-one states have no laws prohibiting those under 21 from drinking alcohol. 1 Contrary to popular belief, the National Underage Drinking Act of 1984 does not call for states to enact laws against underage drinking, but only against the purchase and possession of alcoholic beverages. The states with no age prohibition are:
These states may charge persons who have consumed alcohol with alcohol possession or other violations in order to, in essence, enforce a non-existing law.
All other states have laws prohibiting underage consumption but provide exceptions. Common exceptions to the age prohibition include drinking in the presence of, or with the consent of, ones parent or guardian; drinking with ones spouse; drinking in ones parents or guardians home; drinking in ones own home; drinking in any other private location; or drinking for religious, educational or medical purposes.
The 22 states with partial age prohibition are
This website does not provide legal opinion or advice and none
should be inferred. Laws and their interpretation change over time.
Always seek advice from a qualified attorney or other
Minimum Legal Drinking Age Myth
The minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) myth is perpetuated by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS) 1, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) 2, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 3, and other federal agencies. The myth is also perpetuated by private groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) 4 and the American Medical Association (AMA) 5.
The minimum legal drinking age myth was probably started by the misleading title of the federal legislation (Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984) that required states to establish the minimum purchase age and the minimum public possession age at 21. In spite of its title, the act did not require the minimum age to be set at 21.
Nineteen states have not passed legislation setting the minimum drinking age at 21. And many of the states that have established a minimum drinking age at 21 provide a variety of exception to that law. Commonly the exceptions apply to drinking under parental supervision, drinking for religious purposes, consuming alcohol for health or medical purposes when prescribed by a physician, or for drinking with a spouse age 21 or older. 6
There are important reasons for these exceptions. For example, federally funded research has found that drinking with parents is a protective factor against alcohol abuse. Teenagers who reported drinking alcohol with their parents were less likely than others to have either consumed alcohol or abused it in recent weeks according to a nation-wide study of over 6,200 teenagers in 242 communities across the U.S.
Drinking alcohol with parents may help teach them responsible drinking habits or extinguish some of the novelty or excitement of drinking according to senior researcher Dr. Kristie Long Foley of the School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. Dr. Foley describes drinking with parents as a protective behavior. 7
This finding is to be expected. Those societies and cultural groups with very high rates of drinking but very low rates of alcohol-related problems have certain common keys to success. One such protective key is that in such groups young people learn about moderate drinking from their parents and they do so from an early age. 8
Nevertheless, agencies and groups typically assert falsely that 21 is the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) everywhere in the USA, All states and the District of Columbia now have minimum drinking-age laws set at 21 years of age, In the United States, the MLDA in all 50 states in currently 21 years, and many other variations on that incorrect and misleading message.
By misinforming the public, this myth discourages a responsible
parenting behavior that could reduce the abuse of alcohol among young
people in the United States.
Source: www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/YouthIssues/1107221178.html or www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/YouthIssues/index_DrinkingAge.html