When I reached legal drinking age in the early 1980s, I was 18 and just entering my freshman year in college. Being legal wasn’t nearly the big monumental moment it seems it is today. I mean, we could already drive, and now we could officially drink, vote, and for some, join the army.
In the mid-80s, in response to increasing numbers of drinking-related highway driving fatalities, and with birth and work of MADD (Mothers Agains Drunk Driving), the drinking age was changed to 21.
Perhaps there are less highway accidents since the legal age has changed, but there are a growing number of deaths from alcohol poisoning, and certainly many college kids who are binge drinking and pounding the “forbidden fruit” like there is no tomorrow.
Last winter, 60 Minutes aired an episode about the drinking age controversy, which has provoked great debate since more than 100 college presidents (including those from Dartmouth and Duke) formed a movement to reduce the legal drinking age to 18. Extreme drinking has become increasingly common on college campuses, and students are often consulting You Tube videos which basically instruct underage kids how to concoct potent combinations of alcohol, such as in the “Irish Car Bomb,” where you mix Guiness beer, whiskey and Bailey’s and drink it all at once.
It is unlikely that the drinking age will change, based on the amount of government agencies that are in favor of keeping it at 21. But at least there’s a debate about it, which, I think, is a good thing.
What do you think the legal drinking age should be?