Buying booze at 18?

August 20, 2008
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College presidents around the country have come together to unite against binge drinking on campuses. They aren’t working together to develop and implement programs to educate high school and college students about the dangers of binge drinking. They aren’t going to the students’ parents asking them to talk to their kids about drinking.

The higher-ups at the universities want lawmakers to fix the problem.

College leaders have signed a letter asking lawmakers to make it legal for 18-year-olds to drink.

The problem isn’t the age of the students; it’s the attitudes of the students and their parents. Lawmakers could lower the drinking age to 16 or raise it to 30, and teens who want to drink will still find a way to do it. Does it make it right? No, of course not, but it’s a reality that everyone who has ever been to high school and college is aware of.

Instead of curbing the problem of binge drinking in college, it will magnify the issue even more in high school. Eighteen-year-old seniors will be able to buy booze and get it to their younger classmates even easier than finding an older sibling or adult to buy the alcohol for them. Some high school students drink. Some parents even let their kids drink at home.

And that’s the problem.

If colleges and university want to curb binge drinking, reach out to high school parents. Parents can talk to their kids before and while they are in high school and let them know it’s not OK to drink right now and it’s never OK to drink and drive. Being observant of your kids and knowing who they hang out with and what they do on the weekends can help tackle the problem more than lowering the legal drinking age.

Teens love the freedom college gives them – they can stay out late, eat whatever they want, hang out with whomever they want, and they don’t have to come home to mom and dad’s house. But if mom and dad taught Junior the dangers of drinking – especially binge drinking – maybe he will think twice before he bongs his fifth beer. Educating kids at an earlier age and expecting more parental responsibility will help curb binge drinking more so than lowering the legal drinking age.
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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

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  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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