College presidents got it right

Spinnaker

The Amethyst Initiative, a group formed in July comprised of former and current university and college presidents, has called for a national discussion about the legal U.S. drinking age.

Nearly 130 presidents and chancellors have signed the Amethyst pledge advocating a factual and dispassionate debate about the effectiveness of the 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposes a 10 percent reduction in federal transportation assistance to states with drinking ages lower than 21.

It has been almost 25 years since the federal government coerced states into adopting the act, and after these university presidents witnessed the harm first hand, they claim the draconian prohibition law actually fosters irresponsible drinking rather than the purported goal of stopping young adults from drinking.

Instead of alcohol being considered a social norm, it is placed in the realm of moral taboos.

America has the highest drinking age out of every country that permits the use of alcohol within its borders.

In most eastern cultures, alcohol is introduced gradually over time and usually under the supervision
of parents.

However, in America, alcohol is usually first consumed in unsupervised situations, such as motels, beaches and “ditch” parties.

When peer pressure and the need to not be the first person to quit drinking are taken into account, it
becomes quite clear the other cultures have the right idea.

The government-commissioned Monitor the Future Study stated binge drinking, defined as more than five alcoholic beverages consumed consecutively during a period of two weeks, was actually on a decline years before the 1984 law took effect.

Even though proponents of the current drinking age are correct about the decrease in the number of alcohol related deaths since the enactment of the law, it fails to take into consideration the steady decline in alcohol related deaths since 1969.

Not to mention, the past two decades have seen countless advancements in automobile safety and medical procedures that at least mitigate the claim that prohibition works.

Staunch teetotalers such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have been so enraged in the calls for a debate they have released a press statement urging universities to continue to follow the pseudo-science behind the current drinking laws.

“Parents should think twice before sending their teens to these colleges or any others that have waved the white flag on underage and binge drinking policies,” said MADD National President Laura
Dean-Mooney.

Forget for a second there is a difference between responsibly drinking and illegally driving while impaired – MADD’s argument should be with the non-existent public transportation options in most cities.

Cities that do have some semblance of a public transportation policy usually discontinue operation well before most bars are even open.

It would seem that in light of these administrators’ expertise in the area, MADD should begin advocating greater alcohol awareness and a revamped public transportation policy.