View Full Version : 18 YO Drinking Age

08-20-2008, 07:51 PM
This has been in the news quite a lot lately - would you support a return to a 18 YO drinking age?

I know when I was growing up the drinking age was 18 and I don't remember a lot of problems because of it. When my kids were growing up the drinking age was 21 BUT we live 15 minutes from Ontario, Canada where the drinking age was and is 19. No significant problems there either.

The argument that you can vote and serve in the military at 18 are both compelling arguments - I support it.



Article Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DURHAM — Calls to lower the drinking age, which seem to be an annual occurrence since Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, this time are being trumpeted from an unlikely source: a group of more than 100 college presidents and chancellors calling themselves the "Amethyst Initiative."

No, they didn't steal the title from the television series "Lost" — "amethyst" is derived from the ancient Greek words "a" (not) and "methustos" (intoxicated) — and they are hoping their institutional profile will, according to a statement on the group's website, "support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21-year-old drinking age."

The group, which was started by Middlebury College President Emeritus John McCardell earlier this year, has had representatives from such high-profile schools as Dartmouth College, Duke University and the University of Maryland-College Park sign its mission statement. The University of New Hampshire has not signed on, though Southern New Hampshire University has.

Local college students and bar owners said in interviews they were skeptical the debate will actually lead to a lowering of the drinking age, but SHNU President Paul LeBlanc said it's still a discussion worth having.

"This question has been almost untouchable," he said, adding that the the 21-year-old minimum drinking age has created more problems than it has solved, at least on college campuses.

"The problem is it drives drinking behaviors off campus and into places we can't manage," he said.

Having a lower drinking age, such as 18, would encourage students to stay on campus where they would be surrounded by a "safety net," LeBlanc argued. Doing so would "create a culture where healthier drinking habits occur," he said.

UNH spokeswoman Kim Billings said in statement that university President Mark Huddleston supports expanding the drinking age conversation because alcohol abuse is a recurring problem.

That said, "We expect our students to obey all alcohol laws, and will ensure that our own enforcement activities are consistent with the law."

Durham police did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

Whether alcohol use is an issue at UNH depends on who you ask.

According to the Princeton Review, UNH is ranked third in how widely alcohol is used on campus and 11th in terms of being a "party school." Those rankings are based primarily on online surveys conducted by 120,000 students at 368 schools across the country.

Graham Camire, co-owner of Scorpions Bar and Grill in Durham, which is frequented by UNH students, said the school's party reputation is overplayed. Camire graduated from UNH in 2001 and said he remembers the party scene being much greater in the 1990s.

From a financial standpoint, Camire said a lowered drinking age would obviously be a windfall for bar owners, but he was wary of the effects of suddenly allowing a greater swath of the student population to drink legally.

"I don't want to see 18-year-old kids running around here," Camire said at his bar Tuesday, which was empty of students because classes do not start until September.

He was skeptical that the drinking age would ever be lowered.

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984, when Congress responded to calls from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to increase the drinking age. Studies have shown that drunken driving- and binge drinking-related deaths decreased in the late 1980s and 1990s, though LeBlanc questioned the data that backed up those trends.

He said improved car safety measures like airbags and seat belts, coupled with more effective law enforcement, could have been responsible for the drop in alcohol-related deaths.

LeBlanc said educational programs and a reduced drinking age would do much more to alleviate alcohol abuse on campus than having the minimum drinking age at 21 and advocating abstinence.

"Prohibition has taught us that abstinence doesn't work," he said.

State Rep. Emma Rous, D-Durham, said discussing the drinking law is a reasonable thing to do, but added that alcohol abuse is rooted in deeper issues like the perception among incoming students that drinking in college is a coming-of-age activity.

"I don't think the drinking-age law is the magic bullet," she said.

To Celeste Eno and Lucy Pleticha, both 23-year-old graduate students at UNH, the drinking age debate is one that is not worth having with everything else going on in the country, from the war in Iraq to the state of the economy.

"There's a lot more to worry about," Pleticha said.

Even if the drinking age was lowered, Eno said it wouldn't change students' drinking habits.

"People seem to drink whatever their age," she said.

08-20-2008, 08:09 PM
Hmm, interesting question. Your right you can join the military. And if you go overseas, you can drink.(not that I did;) ) Where we were in Sicily, there wasn't many "drunkin incidences". And there was a lot of "under 21" drinking, but it was legal. Sometimes I think the "youth" today are just out of control and they would go crazy with that priviledge, however, they do it anyway. Maybe if it wasn't such a thrill to have private parties and drink to get drunk there wouldn't be such a draw to it. If they could just drink in public maybe there would be a little more responsibilty. I don't know.:confused3

08-20-2008, 08:16 PM
Once me and all my friends where old enough to drink we did not drink near as much as when we where under 21. So 18 may be a good idea.

08-20-2008, 08:52 PM
I remember when the drinking age went from 18 to 21. Literally overnight people who could legally drink became criminals if they had a beer. Back when the voting age was changed from 21 to 18, the big argument was that if we could send 18 year olds to Vietnam to die, they should be allowed to vote. Wouldn't the same argument hold true here (except substitute Afghanistan or Iraq for Vietnam and drink for vote).

08-20-2008, 09:58 PM
I absolutely believe the drinking age should be 18 and not 21. I've thought so for years, and it hasn't been a popular view to hold. I've had more than one parent look at me like I had two heads when I've expressed it. I secrety have wanted to rat their kids out just to wipe the smirk off their faces. It's been my experience that it's been education that has changed the behavior of those who might drink and drive..not the 21 year old age limit. It is absurd to think that an 18, 19 or 20 year old is not going to drink. From what I've seen, binge drinking is so prevelant because of the requirement that you be 21. To think that a kid is 18 and not allowed to drink, yet you send him/her away to school, and expect that they won't drink until the graduate, that is nonsense. The opportunity and the alcohol is there..and life experience is not. It's this forbidden fruit...and they drink till there's no tomorrow, and for some..there isn't. When I was young (yeah, I know..back in the days when the dinosaurs roamed the earth:laughing: ) you could drink at 18. It just wasn't a big deal. My husband remembers being able to grab a beer after work, this was also during the Viet Nam war. Anyone who thinks their kid isn't going to drink until they're 21..they are either very naive, or they haven't reached the point where they have kids that age. Again, I would say that education is the most important factor in detering drinking and driving, and that would be at any age. My kids have always been allowed to drink in our home. I have never, and would never condone or give alcohol to any other minor. However, if my kids are 18 and we are having wine with dinner, or beer, they have been allowed to have one. They don't get in a car, or abuse the privilge. It's been my experience with my kids..and through their friends, that every kid under 21 drinks..and when they do, it's WAY to much. Why is that? Because they don't know when or if they're gonna be able to get it again. So they drink it like there's no tomorrow. There is no "social drinking" aspect to it. When we were 18 if we wanted to have a beer or a drink we could. I'm not saying we never got drunk..but we didn't look at liquor as if it was this forbidden fruit, and we better make the most of it while we have it. We could have it whenever we wanted..and I feel knowing you can have it if you want it takes some of the allure out it. Every year at graduation time you hear of these high school graduates going on vacations to the Bahamas or to Mexico..why?...because they want to travel. Give me a break..They want to drink..and they do so in excess. Sometimes to the point of killing themselves, and placing themselves at terrible risk for God only knows what.
Here's another thing, kids don't want to talk to their parents about. It's WAY easier for your kids to get drugs than it is for them to get alcohol. Pretty scary if you ask me. The drug dealers aren't checking ID"s...they don't care how old you are. ALOT of kids turn to drugs because it's easier to get than a beer...it's everywhere, and they don't have to be 18, 20, or 21, and no one cares. I really think that raising the age limit, opened up more and earlier drug use to our young. I'm not condoning abusing alcohol or drugs in any way, shape, or form...but from what I've seen, this is a reality. To think that suddenly at 21 they are going to be these mature individuals who drink responsibly...well, sorry nope. :sad1:
I personally think my 17 year old is more mature and responsible than his older 21 year old sister. There is no magic age. I just know that making alcohol forbidden to 18 year olds...just makes it that much more appealing.
I also remember a time when 18 year olds died for their country, as they do today..and I'm sorry, but if you can vote and go to war, and even marry at 18(which I did). You can have a beer after work.

08-20-2008, 10:08 PM
I never understood why it was raised to 21 in the first place!! :confused3

I was just turning 19 when I moved to Florida with my folks. In 1972 (when I turned 18) the drinking age was 18 in NYS & 21 in Florida. In 1973 I moved to Fla with the my folks and seriously considered foisting myself on Al & his then new wife and stay in NYS so I could go party with my friends. Now mind you, I was not going to ask Al permission - I was just going to move in!! :rotfl:

As luck would have it... one month b-4 we moved to Fla they lowered the drinking age to 19. My dad said he had the state do it just for me! :worship:

One month after I turned 21, they raised the D.A. back to 21. I was lucky!!

They say insurance statistics prove that accident rates for the 18 - 21 age group went down after the D.A. was raised to 21 across the country - but I don't quite buy into that. If you can serve your country at 18 and get married at 18, and vote at 18... you should be considered adult enough to buy a drink.

That's my opinion and I approve this message!!

08-20-2008, 10:11 PM
I think some thirty years later, we are better educated as to the effects and consequences of drinking and driving. We start teaching our kids about this in grade school. I believe education is the reason for the decline in accidents..not so much the changing of the age from 18 to 21.

08-20-2008, 10:14 PM
Might as well change it cause most of them are drinking anyway.

08-20-2008, 10:15 PM
I was one of the victims when they raised the drinking age...I was able to legally drink for a full year, then it was suddenly outlawed.

Now that I have an 18 year old at home...and allow her to drink whatever she pleases in the house....SHE NEVER DRINKS....I caught her getting drunk with her "friends" several times at 17, though!!! I firmly believe that if it werent such a challenge for them to drink, they most likely drink less.

I DO however think that if the age is lowered to 18....that all vehicles should have the breath-alyzer installed. I think the breath-alyser should come standard on every vehicle sold today.....THAT would definately lower the DWI related deaths....and that death rate aint as high as it is because of 18 year old..hell, Ive been arrested for DUI...lost my license for a short period of time...and I was 36 yrs old!!!

Im all for 18 year old drinking....but definately think they should use that as a reason to bring in the breath-alyser.

08-20-2008, 10:32 PM
We hold them responsible for every aspect of the lives at 18 yet they are unable to legally purchase a beer. Do you think Natalie Holloway and her friends went to Aruba because of the beaches? If they can't drink here they go where they can like Mexico and Aruba then when something bad happens they are foreigners in a foreign land without the rights and protections they have in the US. It seems preposterous to me that someone can get married at 18, star in dirty movies, vote for the next president of the US, which seem like very adult decisions to me, but yet can't legally buy a glass of wine.

I think a good compromise would be able to buy beer and wine at 18 and the rest at 21.

08-20-2008, 10:37 PM
[QUOTE=BigDaddyRog;27055240]I DO however think that if the age is lowered to 18....that all vehicles should have the breath-alyzer installed. I think the breath-alyser should come standard on every vehicle sold today.....THAT would definately lower the DWI related deaths....and that death rate aint as high as it is because of 18 year old..hell, Ive been arrested for DUI...lost my license for a short period of time...and I was 36 yrs old!!!

I must say I believe this 110%!! There should be no car on the road that does not have one of these installed. Heck with technology today I am sure they could make it a lot more user friendly and attractive to use. I have seen way to many serious accidents and near misses because of alcohol.

As a teen I never really had the urge to drink. There were other things that I was drawn to but... After I joined the military and moved to Misawa Japan I became the biggest drinker. There were times I literally crawled along the tracks to get back to the barracks. I no longer drink unless it's a very special occasion and I know I will not be around my children. I try to educate them and talk to them about the ramifications of their actions and then I hope for the best.....those pictures I bring home and hang on their doors help to I hope!! ;)

So I voted no but should they institute Rog's idea I will change it to a maybe!!

08-21-2008, 08:48 AM
Ok, since you asked I will give you my OPINION, and we all know about opinions.

In my house when I was a kid, because my mom was from England, I was allowed to drink what ever I wanted. I could drink beer, I had mixed drinks from NYE, whatever. I was told by my parents, that if I was out, and wanted to drink, go for it, there were just 2 rules, DON"T DRIVE, and don't ride with anyone who had had anything to drink. If I was out, and needed a ride, call them no matter when or where, and they would come get me no questions asked. I never had to, I never drank. I never wanted too. It wasn't a big mystery to me, it had no appeal. I spent a summer in England when I was 18 and drank a lot then because it was fun to do in a different country. Everyone was buying the "huge" american guy drinks, cuz he was funny when he was drunk.

Unfortunately we can't adopt the same rules as Europe here, because it is too late, and there are too many ignorant people here. But when you take away the thrill of breaking the rules by underage drinking, you take away the biggest draw.

08-21-2008, 08:55 AM
It seems like we're talking about the same thing on a couple threads here, just in a different form. Out of control Golf carts, guns, drinking. I think it all boils down to one thing....If I'm told I can't do it, I just want to do it more.

08-21-2008, 09:01 AM
Exactly Ami.

08-21-2008, 09:06 AM
Maybe we should make peace, love and understanding taboo. Maybe that would solve all our problems.:hippie:

08-21-2008, 09:12 AM
There was a law stating when you were allowed to start drinking? :eek: Sure hope there is a statute of limitations on it or I'm going away for life!