Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lower the Legal Drinking Age!

Gadabout has always taken interest in past adjustments to the legal drinking age. Our country has shifted from no drinking laws, to prohibition, to 21 years of age, to 18 years of age, and then progressively back to national mandates of 21 years. When Gadabout was 19 years old when the drinking age in Michigan changed from 18 to 21, leaving Gadabout a criminal if he was to partake of the forbidden fruit. Legal one day, illegal the next. Silly, really.

It is silly that a 20 year old bride cannot sip a glass of champagne on her wedding day. Even sillier that a soldier, returning from battles overseas can be tossed in jail for drinking a cold one on a Sunday afternoon. America has the highest legal drinking laws on the books throughout the entire WORLD. Most countries, if they have any laws whatsoever, are 18, and only a sprinkling at 19 and 20. Neo prohibitionists support a 21 year law, but the research does not appear to support their claims that actual consumption is reduced in either youths or adults.

Gadabout’s position is that alcohol should be kept out of the hands of school age youth. When the drinking age was 18, high school juniors and seniors would buy beer and booze in bulk and provide for 16 and 17 year olds. Today, those crafty high schoolers magically manage to score booze in great abundance—and other illegal substances to boot. This often results in binge drinking, leading to some ugly outcomes.

The solution? Gadabout proposes that the legal drinking age be lowered to 19 years. 19 years so as to keep legal drinking out of schools. Most would agree that students should be shielded from legal drinking. But I have a trick up my sleeve regarding a 19 year law, and that is that a 21 year law remain in place to purchase alcohol over the counter. That’s right, you would still need to be 21 to buy a 12 pack at the local convenience store. 19 and 20 year olds could drink legally, but only by servers who can check IDs and hopefully control bingeing behaviors. Reflect on this idea for a few moments and envision the compromises and possible positive outcomes. “Legality” under controlled conditions utilizing a buffer age period, while at the same time keeping alcohol out of high school. Drivers license laws have incorporated “buffer” time periods related to restrictions until certain milestones have lapsed. Why not alcohol consumption?

Gadabout believes that if an up and coming politician were to properly frame this alcohol drinking age debate, he or she might see an overwhelming showing at the polls. Regardless, it seems time to address the issue once again. Let the debates begin!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You gotta drink big to get big. WOOOOO!