Monday, August 18, 2008

Binge drinking

College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus.

This is probably a good idea. Basically, you want to encourage teens to drink moderately--if for no other reason than that their brains are still developing--but moderation isn't going to prevail when they can only drink by breaking the law. If you're breaking the law with one beer, why not with nine? Short of lowering the drinking age in all settings, lawmakers could make it legal for the 18-21 crowd to drink in bars, where most patrons view drinking at a bar with friends as a fundamentally civil, adult activity. In short, you want to find a way to socialize new drinkers and teach them how to enjoy alcohol, and teenagers aren't currently getting those cues at beer-soaked house parties.