The introduction of young people to beverage alcohol varies considerably in different cultural settings. In many societies the age at which the purchase and public consumption of beverage alcohol becomes legal is also the age at which other “adult” rights and responsibilities are bestowed. What is neither clear nor consistent is the age at which this should occur. Communities recognize the capacity for alcohol to be abused, particularly by young and inexperienced drinkers. The imposition of a legal drinking age limit is one aspect of a society’s desire to reduce the potential for harms associated with inappropriate drinking patterns. The legal age for purchase and/or consumption of alcohol varies considerably from country to country. Age limits range from a high of 21 in the United States, Malaysia, Ukraine and Korea, to a low of 16 in countries such as Italy, France, Belgium and Spain.
Many countries, including Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Portugal and Thailand currently have no established legal limits. Generally speaking, national laws relate to drinking age limits for settings outside the home, such as taverns, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The laws tend to be silent on drinking within the home with the exception of those in the United Kingdom where alcohol may be consumed from the age of five with parental consent. In some countries which have minimum ages for consumption of beverage alcohol, the purchasing determination is based on the alcohol content or the type of beverage. The tendency is to treat spirits differently from beer and wine. The rationale often stated for imposing a minimum legal drinking age is that younger people are neither physically or emotionally ready to consume alcohol.
... alcohol and alcoholic beverages. Many have set their Minimum Legal Drinking Age at 18, some at 16 and some do not even have a Minimum Legal Drinking Age. ... In many countries, ...
It is also generally accepted that they will not have developed the necessary internal controls needed to minimize any harmful consequences stemming from drinking. Yet where this limit should be set and its potential effectiveness as a prevention measure is subject to considerable debate. Favoring a lower drinking age limit, the New Zealand parliament has recently enacted legislation to reduce the legal drinking age from 20 to 18. Four objectives were established for the new legislation: the abuse of alcohol, not the age of the drinker, was the target; clarity in the law for ease of enforcement; high levels of public acceptability for the new law; fairness with regard to other restrictions on rights. This legislative reform appears to be actively seeking to place an emphasis on encouraging sensible drinking patterns. In the United States of America, on the other hand, the decision was taken in 1987 to raise the minimum purchase age to 21. While there is clear evidence of a reduction in road traffic fatalities amongst young people since the implementation of this legislation, research results have not shown conclusively that the new drinking age was solely responsible for this public health and safety benefit. The prohibitionists and their current neo-prohibitionists counterparts are clearly wrong in their assumptions.
Drinking in moderation is neither undesirable nor dangerous but is actually associated with better health and greater longevity than is either abstention or heavy drinking. In short it is not bad but good and healthful. And drinking does not typically result in problem behavior. Similarly, moderate drinking is clearly not a forerunner of inebriation. To the contrary, the vast majority of drinkers enjoy the benefits of alcohol and never become problem drinkers. Over the past four decades it has been demonstrated that the proportion of collegiate drinkers increases with age.
However, in July of 1987, the minimum purchase age became 21 in all states. Because drinking tends to be highly valued among collegians and because it is now illegal for those under 21 to purchase alcohol, Dr. Ruth Engs and I hypothesized that reactance motivation would be stimulated among such students, leading more of them to drink. The data from 3,375 students at 56 colleges across the country revealed that, after the legislation, significantly more under-age students drank compared to those of legal age. Thus, the increase in purchase age appears to have been not only ineffective but actually counter-productive, at least in the short run. The research made by Ruth Clifford Engs built upon more than two decades studying college student drinking patterns and the history of alcohol use in this country and other cultures.The research has led the author to believe strongly that perhaps the simplest and most dramatic action we could take to create more responsible alcohol consumption among college students would be to lower the legal drinking age to eighteen or nineteen. Young adults should be allowed to drink in controlled environments such as restaurants, taverns, pubs and official school and university functions.
Why would people who are under age want to drink? Well under age drinking isn't to uncommon. (1) Studies say that approximately 6% of 10-11 year old children use alcohol. 25% by the age of 14 and 55% by the age of 17. Approximately 92 percent of high school kids have used alcohol, of the 92 percent 64 percent use alcohol on a regular basis. Sometimes teenage kids drink under stress. Stress can be ...
In these situations – where mature and sensible drinking behavior would be expected – responsible alcohol consumption could be taught through role modeling and educational programs. Although the legal purchase age is twenty-one years, a majority of college students under this age consume alcohol – certainly not a surprise to anyone. When they have the opportunity to drink, they do so in an irresponsible manner because drinking by these youth is seen as an enticing “forbidden fruit,” a “badge of rebellion against authority” and a symbol of “adulthood.” As a nation we have tried prohibition legislation twice in the past for controlling irresponsible drinking problems, during National Prohibition in the 1920s and state prohibition during the 1850s. Because they were unenforceable and because the backlash towards them caused other social problems, these laws were finally repealed. Prohibition did not work then and prohibition for young people under the age of twenty-one is not working now. The flaunting of the current laws is readily seen among our nation’s university students. Those under the age of twenty-one are more likely to be heavy — sometimes called “binge” — drinkers (consuming more than five drinks at least once a week).
As a nation, we have tried prohibition legislation twice in the past for controlling irresponsible drinking problems. This was during National Prohibition in the 1920's and state prohibition during the 1850's. These laws however, were found to be unenforceable and caused other social problems. Today, we are repeating history and making the same mistakes that occurred in the past. Prohibition did ...
For example, 22% of all students under twenty-one compared to 18% over twenty-one years of age are heavy drinkers. Among drinkers only, 32% of under age compared to 24% of legal age are heavy drinkers. Research from the early 1980s until the present has shown a continuous decrease in drinking and driving related variables which has paralleled the nation’s, and also university students, decrease in per capita consumption. However, these declines started in 1980 before the national 1987 law which mandated states to set the legal purchase age at twenty-one. The decrease in drinking and driving problems are the result of many factors and not just the rise in purchase age or the decreased per capita consumption.These include: education concerning drunk driving, designated driver programs, increased seat belt and air bag usage, safer automobiles, lower speed limits, free taxi services from drinking establishments, etc. Based upon the fact that our current prohibition laws are not working, alternative approaches taken from the experience of cultures who do not have these problems need to be tried. In Europe, two different drinking cultures developed in antiquity.
In the Mediterranean regions, wine consumption with meals by all members of the culture evolved, along with a norm of moderation. In the more northern and eastern regions of Europe, drinking to intoxication of grain-based beverages at feasts emerged, along with ambivalence towards alcohol. Groups such as Italians, Greeks, Chinese, and Jews, who have few drinking related problems, tend to share some common characteristics. Alcohol is neither seen as a poison or a magic potent, there is little or no social pressure to drink, irresponsible behavior is never tolerated, young people learn at home from their parents and from other adults how to handle alcohol in a responsible manner, and there is societal consensus on what constitutes responsible drinking. We can learn from this. Because the twenty-one year old drinking age law is not working, and is counterproductive, it behooves us as a nation to change our current prohibition law and to teach responsible drinking techniques for those who chose to consume alcoholic beverages. Worked Cite: College Alcohol Study. Binge Drinking on American College Campuses: A New Look at an Old Problem.
Drinking Age Did you know that in the year 1980 the legal drinking age was only 18? In 1987 there was a law passed that said in order to drink legally and to buy alcohol a person had to be 21. At the age of 18 people are allowed to buy tobacco, vote, get married without parental consent, and even join the armed forces, so why can't some one who is 18 by alcohol. This is a question I have; I ...
Boston, MA: Harvard School of Public Health; August 1995. Youth, Young Adults, and Alcohol: Key Facts and Prevention Strategies The Minimum Legal Drinking Age: Facts and Fallacies A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among College Students Fact Sheet: Effects of Alcohol on Brains of Adolescents Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Results from the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I. Summary of National Findings.” 2002. Reducing Underage Drinking Through Coalitions: Youth and Adults United for Change Hughes, S. P., & Dodder, R.A.
Changing the legal minimum drinking age: Results of a longitudinal study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 53, 573. Ruth C. Engs, Professor, Applied Health Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405 Why the drinking age should be lowered: An opinion based upon research David J. Hanson The Legal Drinking Age: Science vs.
Ideology Ruth Clifford Engs, ’61 FORBIDDEN FRUIT Jim Hall, Chairman National Transportation Safety Board Lowering the Minimum Drinking Age Is a Bad Idea RUTH C. ENGS Gender Differences in Drinking Patterns and Problems Among College Students: A Review of the Literature*.