Opinion Divided On Lowering Legal Drinking Age To 18


College presidents from 100 of the nation’s best-known universities want to lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18, reports the Associated Press. They say saying current laws encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus. “This is a law that is routinely evaded,” said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont who started the Amethyst Initiative more than a year ago. “It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory.”

The presidents are facing sharp criticism.Mothers Against Drunk Driving says lowering the drinking age would lead to more fatal car crashes. It accuses the presidents of misrepresenting science and looking for an easy way out of a problem. MADD officials urge parents to think carefully about the safety of colleges whose presidents have signed on. “It’s very clear the 21-year-old drinking age will not be enforced at those campuses,” said Laura Dean-Mooney, MADD president. Research has found more than 40 percent of college students reported at least one symptom of alcohol abuse or dependance. University of Miami President Donna Shalala, secretary of health and human services under President Clinton, declined to sign. “I remember college campuses when we had 18-year-old drinking ages, and I honestly believe we’ve made some progress,” Shalala told the AP. “To just shift it back down to the high schools makes no sense at all.”

Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-college-presidents-drinking-age,0,4330432.story

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