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August 26, 2008

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mom

when I was in college, I was at a party where there was a competition to see who could drink who under the table. They all won.. four unconscious... so drunk it took them days to recover. And they acted like they were proud of it! I think that secretly they wished they had not done it. Especially the two whose parents came to drag them home. No, I am not for lowering the drinking age. Too many do not have the level of maturity to handle it. Too many wish to impress their buddies. I agree it is a cop out.

Chef Troll

The University Bureaucrats aren't really looking to solve the problem. They're looking to shifting the consequences of the problem they've allowed to occur on to others. Namely responsible Food & Beverage Establishments who most definately do NOT want the drinking-age lowered. In fact, the College Pres who spearheaded this has said he'd be happy to "compromise" and make it legal for 18 year-olds to drink IN BARS but not purchase it at retail outfits.

It's a classic case of "passing the buck" as to problems like date-rape, binge drinking, violence, mixing booze with drugs etc... All of which will still occur mostly in areas that are supposed to be policed by the University, not in bars. But litigious victims will sue the bars and/or retailers because it's MUCH easier.

old horsetail snake

I think they should lower the drinking age to 5, so that when they're six they will have gone through all that stuff and drinking will no longer appeal to them. I think that's the way it would work.....

FC

We've been there done that and the body count was tremendous. That's why almost every state returned to 21 after the Vietnam war era when the legal drinking age was dropped to 18.

Here's what lowering the drinking age to 18 did for me and my contemporaries who were in high school at the time:

Suddenly, PARENTS began throwing keg parties.(Not mine, but it didn't really matter since enough of the other parents did) No effort was made to check ID's. Many of us left a trail of puke on lawns across St. Augustine because we didn't have a sense of "when to say when". Worse things than yard rowfing happened too ... use your imagination.

We got real "good" at driving under the influence.
Actually, we were real lucky.
A few of my friends were not.

Another effect was that a 16 year old with a bit of moustache looked close enough to 18 to easily buy beer and wine at the convenience stores. This was often done as a favor for our even younger buddies who at 14 or 15 couldn't quite swing the moustache thang.

We didn't look 21, but we COULD pass for 18 so even bars and lounges were now open to us.

I'm just happy to have survived it.

Your post is excellent, the University Heads must be trippin' on acid to suggest such a thing.

misti

Ihad my first drink at 17 while I was in Panama (not Florida), and was with my college and other people who were over 18 and drinking. It didn't really bother me as I hadn't developed any interest in it yet, but in college we did have someone buy something to drink and we drank in our dorm rooms a few times. Silly stuff, and then I really didn't drink again until I turned 21.

I think 19 would be a good age, but then you run into the 18 year olds who would be in college who would continue to drink anyway, but then you would aleviate some of the worry from the highschool age. I was pretty naive in highschool, and though I knew parties happened, I never went to any that had alcohol and didn't think anyone was messing around either. *hrmph*.

That said, 19 would be better than 21, IMO.

Oh and I have to comment about the 16 year old driving thing...when I learned to drive in 1995/1996 in Texas, it was common that everyone at 16 got their license and at 15 took drivers ed and got their permit. I'm not sure what Florida law is on the matter, but I have no problems with 16yo's having a license. It used to be even younger than that in some states!!

kenju

I think you have written a very astute post, which should be required reading for all those people who want to pass that law. Bravo!!

Linda

When I was growing up in northern Maine, we could cross into Canada, where the drinking age was 19...and it was easy enough to get a fake "Canadian Liquor License" because they didn't require photo documentation. Then, with that, we could drive less than an hour to the Quebec border where the drinking age was EIGHTEEN. Can't tell you how many horror stories I'd heard of kids drinking, an HOUR away, then hopping into their cars and driving home. A guy in my sister's class was killed coming home from a bar out there...he was supposed to graduate that same year.

I was one of those "18 year olds not yet graduated" due to a missed age cut off. And while I was not happy that the drinking age was 21, I seriously think it saved my life more than once.

This is the WRONG way to go about it....

Sandcastle Momma

I just don't understand how anyone could think that lowering the drinking age to 18 is a good idea. I so agree with the fact that 18 year olds mix more with much younger kids which will lead to the younger ones drinking as well. And it is easier to pass for 18 than 21.
I could drink at 18 (and could pass for 18 at 16) and it's amazing that I'm here to tell about it. Of course since I could drink in high school I was over it by the time I started college and the hard partying no longer apealed to me so I studied more. I still don't think that's enough reason to lower the age. In fact, I can't think of any positive reason.
Scary that the people who want to lower the age are the people running our institutions of higher learning.

tai haku

I actually agree with this initiative - I'm a little late to this party, just found your blog after reader suggested I might like it. Firstly regardless of the age, kids are going to find a way to drink underage anyway to a certain extent but the age is 18 in the UK and I think it has a few advantages. More importantly though I think the issue here is that because kids are away in college and drinking in a clandestine manner they get less of a safety net than if they were away at college and drinking in a nice college bar which stands to lose its license if things get too far out of hand.

"Safe" exposure to alcohol brings with it respect for the damage it can do and so when the kids do end up drinking unsupervised they may be more likely to handle situations better.

Mixing 14 and 18 year olds in class is a separate and worrying issue and the inconsistency between voting, dying in the army and drinking ages is a little silly - perhaps they should all be 21?

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