Wednesday, April 13, 2005
The New York Times reports on an interesting public health debate occuring in Vermont over efforts to lower the state's drinking age (yes, it does say lower). According to the article, the former President of Middlebury College, Mr. John M. McCardell, states,
"The 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law," Mr. McCardell wrote, saying it had led to binge drinking by teenagers. "Our latter-day prohibitionists have driven drinking behind closed doors and underground."
He has garnered the suppport of a number of Vermont legislators who agree with his analysis of the current drinking age. As the article notes, the debate is unlikely to go too far due to the federal highway funds that are tied to the state's adoption of a 21-year old drinking age. I don't know that lowering the drinking age would help prevent binge drinking, but it is interesting to see the debate occuring (particularly among university officials) after many years of officials promoting a higher drinking age as the best means of protecting the public from heavy drinking and drunk drivers. [bm]