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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Can Lowering the Drinking Age Stop Binge Drinking - Did it Before?

A new study has challenged the theory that lowering the minimum legal drinking age would help curb binge drinking on campuses.

Richard A. Scribner, of the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, one of the researchers on the new study, and colleagues used a mathematical model to estimate the effects that a lower drinking age would have on college binge drinking.

The model, developed based on survey data from students at 32 U.S. colleges, aimed to evaluate the "misperception effect" emphasized by the Amethyst Initiative - that is, the idea that underage students widely perceive "normal" drinking levels to be higher than they actually are

The researchers concluded that the campuses that were most likely to see a decline in binge drinking from a lowered legal drinking age were those that had the poorest enforcement of underage drinking laws - being surrounded, for instance, by bars that do not check identification - and a significant level of student misperception of 'normal' drinking.

Wouldn't it be simpler to just look back to what happened when the drinking age was 18? I realize the world was a different place now but legal drinking at 18 didn't stop anyone I knew from drinking everything in sight and then some. I mean really. College kids binge drink - I personally don't think it has anything to do with the drinking age. It has to do with college culture which is centered around drinking in so many ways it's ridiculous.

I was just reading the Facebook page of a friend's daughter who is living in London. The drinking age there is 18. Many of the posts - not by her fortunately - are about going out and getting wasted. Does she have 5-6 drinks in an hour? She's doing in fine in school. It's culture and the only way to change it is change culture. I am not sure anyone has figured out how to do that.

Here's a link to the study: http://news.oneindia.in/2010/12/11/loweringthe-drinking-age-wont-curb-binge-drinkingstudy.html

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