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Thread: What is a reasonable drinking age?

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    Copper Member Norse_Angel's Avatar
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    What is a reasonable drinking age?

    Well, here we are again. I posted on a different thread, and got so many responses, might as well open up a new thread on the topic.
    Alright friends, here in America, as most of you know, the drinking age is 21. With that being said, your rights as an American citizen are effective the day you turn 18. As soon as you are a legal adult, you can purchase a gun (in most states,) join the military, sign legal binding documents, vote, take out loans, and be rid of curfew. What are your thoughts on the subject of the drinking age being greater than the age of adulthood? I know a lot of you are not from the states, so feel free to put in you input on how your countries policies effect the youth, and how you feel on the states own laws.
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    Sr. Member toxicyarnglare's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    I've always heard humans stop developing at 25, so if we want to be totally scientific about it, well, 25.

    I think the drinking age, at least in American culture, will really make no difference with how people drink. Young people will party and get drunk regardless of the laws or lack thereof. So while countries other than the US have lower drinking ages, and I hear young people can handle themselves better with alcohol, I'm willing to bet it's because of minor cultural differences.

    Feel free to contradict what I've said because I'm mostly just spouting stuff I've heard secondhand.

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    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    I'm fine with the drinking age here: 16 for beer and wine, 18 for alcohol. I think 18 is reasonable, though...I have nothing against places that set it to 18.

    I think that can't be the end all, be all, though. Teaching teens how to drink responsibly is really important. I think that's hard to do in a culture that isn't very flexible about how old you can be to drink. I think it's totally ok (and it's legal in most of Europe) to let your teen have a glass of wine with a special family dinner, and I think that helps teach them that alcohol isn't just some party liquid that you drink in huge amounts when you go out.

    21 is a really stupid drinking age. From what I've seen, it just invites more problems than it solves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toxicyarnglare View Post

    I think the drinking age, at least in American culture, will really make no difference with how people drink. Young people will party and get drunk regardless of the laws or lack thereof. So while countries other than the US have lower drinking ages, and I hear young people can handle themselves better with alcohol, I'm willing to bet it's because of minor cultural differences.
    .
    Yes and no. I think there are a lot of cultural differences between continental Europe and the US when it comes to alcohol, but I don't think that's the only issue. I posted this in the other thread, but I grew up on the west coast of Canada, and there is pretty much no cultural difference between Washington State and British Columbia. Even their cities are pretty much mirrors of each other. You have your more conservative eastern cities, your super liberal coastal cities, etc. Anyway, when I was in university, we obviously used to go out a lot...drinking age in British Columbia is 19. We'd often see American students in bars (there is a passenger ferry that runs directly between Seattle and Victoria and a car ferry that runs between Port Angeles and Victoria, so it's an easy connection). They were always a lot drunker than us. As I said, there is pretty much no cultural difference between the two places, except drinking age. We're allowed to drink at 19-20 so going to a bar is nothing special. They aren't, so they overdo it. I've heard similar things from friends who have lived near the border in other parts of the country (like Southern Ontario). I've also had a couple of friends from Seattle tell me how they used to go to Victoria or Vancouver in college to go clubbing and get drunk, so it's a thing.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    I'm going to copy pasta because I don't want to type this again...so ignore the voting age stuff, please!

    Actually, the voting age here was mostly 21 (as was the drinking age in most localities). It didn't change nationally until they passed the 26th Amendment (signed by the crazy super liberal Richard Nixon, who also passed the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Marine Mammal Act...ah, the days with the GOP could be swayed with science...) in 1971. This is also the same time frame when most states changed lowered their drinking ages. The old "if you can die for your country, you can drink/vote" response to the Vietnam war.

    They re-upped the drinking age in the 80's when Reagan (another crazy invasive Federal big gov't liberal) signed the Minimum Drinking Age Act (or some similarly named legislation) in response to huge drinking and driving problems. Most states upped their drinking ages rather than lose highway money from the feds...I think there may have been a few hold outs, but it (I'm sure combined with other factors) reduced alcohol related accidents by 50%, and reduced 16-20 year old alcohol-related auto deaths by a third.

    The age of majority has always been fluid, and its rarely been consistent, whether its the age of consent or the age of conscription. Basically, the age of majority is not the same as the age of consent, voting age, age you are legally able to decide medical things, age to buy smoking products, age to drink, age to drive, age to marry, age to own fire arms, age you can be charged as an adult with a crime, age to...well, you get the idea. Really, 18 is just the age you are your own legal entity and are no longer the legal entity of your parents.



    Personally, I think it depends on the country. In the US, 21 makes sense. And actually, there are often "family exceptions" (and some other exceptions) when it comes to drinking ages in the US...the big thing is that you can't SELL alcohol to someone under 21 or for someone under 21 that isn't part of one of those exceptions.


    ...it may actually make sense in other places.
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    Sr. Member Carlin's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    Here the legal drinking age is 18, but most people start before then. Or at least, they did when I was a teenager. I was 17, and that was considered a late starter. Still, they've tightened up the selling of it in shops - until fairly recently (I'm now in my mid-thirties) I got ID'd on a regular basis.

    We drink far too much in Scotland. I do wonder if it'd be better if we changed the law and our attitudes...if we made less of a big deal about it and taught our kids how to drink sensibly. It is possible to enjoy a drink or two without getting completely hammered!

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    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    I can't help but think that the drinking and driving issue is better resolved by stricter punishments for drinking and driving and for tougher license regulations. BC has seen its drinking and driving death rates lower due to its license laws, and it introduced stricter punishments for drunk driving. Incident rates have gone up, but as the article I posted below says, that's likely due to the fact that they're policing it a lot more. They also have a new rule that there's sort of a "buffer" blood alcohol level where you can't be prosecuted or lose your license, but they can still impound your car (it's between 0.05 and 0.08...it happened to my friend's fiance).

    And even then, in Canada, the highest drinking and driving rates are in the 20-24 age group, despite drinking ages of 18-19. So, they're not really hitting legal age and driving drunk...they're just making some really poor decisions while they're young. The 16-19 age group is lower than the 25-34 age group, even when they only count licensed drivers.

    Access to public transportation probably helps a lot too. In Canada, drunk driving rates are higher outside of the cities. I'm sure that has something to do with the larger range of alternative transportation in metropolitan areas.

    Sources:
    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-.../11739-eng.htm
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...ntly-1.2549741
    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/imp...182/story.html

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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    I think 21 is an okay age for the everyone. I think it falls on parents to teach their children to be responsible. I was in school for Culinary Arts and I went to a conference at Philadelphia, PA. I was 19 and a friend and I got drunk off several cocktails and went out in our nightwear to a convenience store to get some food. I never got that drunk again and I only drink 2 times a year, once on my b-day and once on New Year's Eve. We have to be responsible and maybe states need to give classes about drinking responsibilities and penalties.
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    Eldritch Priestess Willow's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    This is my f.i.l.'s take on the matter, I'm just going to use his since he's been around longer, seen more things, had 5 kids, and has thought a lot about these kinds of things in his life.

    If you teach someone how to drink responsibly, and allow them the luxury of youth to be able to get sick from alcohol so they begin to learn their limits and how far they really want to go when they drink, before you teach them how to drive responsibly, they are less likely to combine the two.

    Living in a culture that really disdains drunk driving too, instead of just brushing it off with warnings or tickets, really does help. If you go to a bar where he lives, and watch you'll see that only once in a blue moon does someone actually get up from their table and head toward a vehicle they drive themselves. Everyone else plans ahead and walks, gets dropped off, has a ride waiting, or calls a taxi.

    I'm not going to hedge ages. Many start drinking at 16, driving at 18, most people don't start driving until later unless they have parents able to fork up the 5000 euros for lessons and testing.


    Teenagers are only going to behave as maturely as they are shown (i.e. how maturely those around them behave, including parents, elders, and friends). No two people are unique, and teens can make really poor decisions and often look back horrified at some point in their lives. But that's sometimes the best way to learn how not to behave too, by doing something stupid and then seeing how it played out in the end. Better they're able to do that without the option of getting behind the wheel simultaneously.

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    Sr. Member Luna's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    Here in Norway the age is 18 for beer,cider and wine and 21 for vodka (strong alcohol).You are seen as an adult in Norway at the age of 18. Still with allowence from your parents you can get legally married and buy a house when your 16. And by Norwegian law you can have sex at the age of 16 and be a mom.

    My personal opinion on drinking ages is that I think it is conplicated. Because I do not see why you can get pregnant and be a mom (take care of another human being) at the age of 16, but you can not drink untill you are 18. For me it does not make much sence.

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    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: What is a reasonable drinking age?

    Five. I had my first drink at five. Watered down wine (we drank wine on Sundays at home) and advocaat in a tiny, tiny glass for special celebrations.
    My father reckoned that if I understood the taste of alcohol, nobody would ever be able to spike my drink without my knowing.
    Alcohol was never anything special in our home. There was a lot of it about and my father was home brewing back in the day when it was illegal.
    Did I turn into a raving alcoholic? Nope. In fact I discovered I have virtually no tolerance for alcohol. I can get drunk on two pints of guinness.
    So no, I rarely if ever drink any more. But by current thinking, my early start should have damaged me for life.
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    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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