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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:54 AM
Original message
Commentary: Drinking age of 21 doesn't work
(CNN) - One year ago, a group of college and university presidents and chancellors, eventually totaling 135, issued a statement that garnered national attention.

The "Amethyst Initiative" put a debate proposition before the public -- "Resolved: That the 21-year-old drinking age is not working." It offered, in much the way a grand jury performs its duties, sufficient evidence for putting the proposition to the test. It invited informed and dispassionate public debate and committed the signatory institutions to encouraging that debate. And it called on elected officials not to continue assuming that, after 25 years, the status quo could not be challenged, even improved.

One year later, the drinking age debate continues, and new research reinforces the presidential impulse. Just this summer a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry revealed that, among college-age males, binge drinking is unchanged from its levels of 1979; that among non-college women it has increased by 20 percent; and that among college women it has increased by 40 percent.


Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/09/16/mccardell.lower....

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I've felt for a while now that 21 doesn't really work (I'm 34 btw). I think the best thing is like he said to start earlier and introduce younger people to alcohol in a way that encourages responsible alcohol use rather than telling them up until 11:59:59pm on the day prior to their 21st not to drink at all.
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endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. i agree.
if you're an adult at 18, you're an adult. if not, extend minor status to 21.
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Louisiana1976 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
11. That makes sense.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
2. 21 year drinking age is just wrong.
If you're old enough to fight in war you're an adult. Lower the drinking age to 19 or raise the military age to 21.
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canoeist52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. That's why they changed it to 18 when I was a senior in high school.
The Vietnam War draft. Mature enough to decide to die for one's country, but not to drink.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
30. And that's why the 26th Amendment was ratified on July 1, 1971.
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 03:42 PM by Lasher
I was drafted in 1969 and turned 21 while serving in Seoul, just over a year before it changed the voting age to 18. I have always since felt it was one of our finest hours when that Amendment was passed.
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Fresh_Start Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. Raise the military age
would be my vote.

Would be good for the military and country not to have lots of young people available for military service.

If after a couple years out of school, working, you still want to join the military, great.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
3. Agreed, adults should also be able to smoke pot 100% legally.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
4. I think alcohol should be banned from college/university property


and those students who break the rule should be thrown out of school.

and students found on campus that are drunk should be severly admonished. if it happens again, then thrown out.

all this alcoholism in the young is madness.
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Daddy dearest.
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dugaresa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. public floggings for bad grades should also be mandated as well
and folks having sex outside marriage should be made to wear scarlet A's
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. I remember when you COULD be expelled from college for 'cohabitiation'.
That was back when the drinking age was 18.

We live in a very strange world.
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dugaresa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #10
18. i had a friend who had fake engagement announcements made so she could get birth control
because only married women could get the pill at the time. So she faked an engagement so the doctor would consent.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. That'll teach 'em!
To go off campus and create even more problems for the community.

I'd prefer my 20 YO college Jr son to remain on campus, rather than drive around the countryside with his buddies, drinking. Until we stop letting beer and booze commercials/sports market to our kids, it will always be this way.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
9. We did that with our daughters, we called the inoculation method
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 10:37 AM by ProgressiveProfessor
Was effective for them. It took all the mystery out of it.
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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
21. That's how it was done in my family
I didn't start drinking until I was out of high school, but I did start before my 21st. But it was all at home and under supervision. Same thing with my brother. As a result we didn't drink ourselves sick on our 21st birthdays, and we learned to respect alcohol.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. Drinking yourself sick on your 21st birthday can trigger alcoholism
I was reading a fascinating article in a Time special magazine on the brain. They had a big section on addiction. Paraphrasing, there's a receptor similar to a seritonin receptor that handles an unpronouncable neutransmitter - GABA for short. It's the "had enough" trigger. There's one for each chemical (alcohol, canabanoids, opiates etc.) the brain responds to. If they get overwhelmed eg. by a binge drinking, they burn out. Hence you never get satiated - you can't stop drinking any more than you could stop breathing.
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
12. that makes sense, but you also have to factor in peer pressure
and movies and TV that glorify drunken behavior.

I live in a red state, and many of the kids in my area go batshit crazy when they can finally drink legally. We have roads dotted with wreaths from drunk driving fatalities.

Again, if there is communication at home, and parents are open to questions and different viewpoints from their kids, hopefully a happy medium can be reached.

These kids didn't have that - and had to rely on the media for *standards*...
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
14. I've long said the drinking age should be lowered
to 15 the way it is in Europe but that the driving age should be raised to 18.

By that age, a kid knows that drinking doesn't make him drive better. He's got the road rash from falling off his bicycle to prove it.

I was a wild child who discovered drunkenness at 13 and that's how it worked for me. I have never driven drunk, ever.

Parents really should be introducing their kids to watered down wine or a juice glass of beer with meals, showing them the positive use of alcohol instead of letting them learn the point is getting blind drunk when they turn 21 and every weekend thereafter.

Unfortunately, the Puritans control the country and we are a nanny state. Parents can be punished for trying to introduce their kids to responsible use of alcohol.

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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. Yep. I was raised overseas as a military brat, and was able to drink
legally from the time I took my first drink. If there were any age restrictions at all in Spain they didn't stop anyone from serving me, and when I moved to England at 17 the age from beer and wine was 16. When I came to the states, the age was 18.

And long before I ever drove I did, in fact, pedal drunk. Realized it was a bad idea when I came to a stop sign and stopped - but forgot to put a foot out to hold myself up. Fell right over.

Never had any problems with driving drunk, once I started driving.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. One of my friends and I discovered a cheesy diner
run by immigrants, that would serve us beer in a paper cup in a back booth. We used to save our lunch money and get buzzed a couple of times a week. It was closer to her house than mine and I rode my bicycle back and forth, part of the route being a dirt road.

That dirt road probably saved my life. I wiped out on it almost daily.
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Versailles Donating Member (384 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
15. My experience...
When I was a junior in high school at the tender age of 17, I went on a exchange to France. The group of us who went were all relatively intelligent students, mostly honors classes and fully intending to go to college. We stayed with our counterparts families in France and basically lived the same life they did with a few exceptions such as group trips and the touristy stuff.

What was interesting to me and forever changed my views on the US's drinking laws, was how stupid we American children were while there. When we were making plans to do things, our first thoughts were to go to a bar or somewhere where alcohol was served in copious amounts. We simply wanted to get drunk...legally. We could experience the bar scene and not have to hide our drinking. Our French counterparts were disgusted and annoyed by our single-mindedness. They wanted to go do activities - bowling, arcades, museums, etc. The culture around alcohol couldn't have been more night and day.

To us, alcohol was a status. It was a "forbidden fruit" so to speak and any opportunity to sample that fruit without fear of repercussion was to be taken advantage of. To the French students, many of whom had been having wine (albeit watered down) with meals since they were old enough to hold their own cups, alcohol was boring. It was a stupid way to spend lots of money for nearly no gain.

My point is this; as Americans with our puritanical laws restricting certain freedoms, we create a culture where it is exciting to break the rules (obviously not all rules, but you get my point) instead of learning how to moderate and enjoy those pleasures without abusing them.
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. +10
Indeed. :applause:
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Dr.Phool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
16. Raise the age to 55.
That'll leave more beer for me!

:beer: :beer: :beer:
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
19. Criminal process is a lousy and ineffective "solution" to substance "abuse" problems.
Human history is littered with evidence for that assertion. The only thing that really has some effect is education, communication, and honest information about all drugs, medical and recreational. And it helps a great deal if you don't create a black market and jack the price way up, thus not providing a great incentive for greedheads and criminals to get in the business.
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madmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
22. I was allowed to drink AT HOME, so were my 2 kids. Now none of us are drinkers!
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burning rain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
24. I agree that 21's absurd, but doubt individual licensing would work.
People would more likely just perceive that as a pain and just continue having someone 21+ buy/provide their booze. And if you make the license easy enough to get that people would find it worth their while, it would likely be virtually automatic, and thus meaningless. Better just to lower the drinking age to 18. On balance, people learn more responsible drinking behavior in bars than at underage drinking parties, anyhow.
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47of74 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. I think they'd learn it at home from their families
If the family on the whole is responsible with their alcohol consumption I think the best way to learn responsible behavior is at home.
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burning rain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. That helps, but people largely disassociate....
having a drink with mom and pop, with fun/partytime/"You're cute! Wanna dance?" sort of drinking. People need to learn to do the latter responsibly, too, and they're not likely to with mom and dad--where their behavior and drinking-time activities are unrealistically staid: "Yes, dad, this white Zinfandel tastes very nice; may I have the mashed potatoes? Yes, mom, I think I did well on the calc test today."
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
26. What we really need is a drinking age of 16 and and driving age of 21
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Chisox08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
27. The drinking age should be lowered to 18
If you are old enough to fight in wars and are old enough to vote you should be old enough to have a beer.
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cascadiance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:25 PM
Response to Original message
28. I remember becoming not legal after I was legal...
Went to college back in Iowa where the drinking age was 18 then. Took a semester off and moved back home to Michigan where they'd just raised the drinking age to 21. Was kind of weird.

I think that I'd rather see kids when they enter college or leave high school and are in other situations where they are maturing past their departure from high school that they start by drinking in more controlled areas like bars, where arguably you can have bar personnel and other peers watching them to ensure that they are drinking responsibly and try to get them to sober up and not leave drunk if possible. And they can also be 86'd appropriately too if need be.

The way it is now, it encourages too many kids to hit convenience stores to pick up a case of beer with a fake ID, and then they are out on the road drinking (and haven't been really having much oversight while they're drinking and driving, since they really aren't "legal" anywhere else). That to me is far more dangerous to them and the rest of us than having it legal at 18 and having them encouraged to drink in areas where they can be monitored as they learn to drink responsibly..
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