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New initiative to lower legal drinking age

READ MORE: New initiative to lower legal drinking age
College students are moving in, and college partying will not be far behind. Now, a group of educators is proposing a surprising way to deal with campus binge drinking -- lower the drinking age. The following information was reported by ABC's Carla Wohl: On college campuses across the country, students will soon be pounding back beers. Adam Gingrich, college sophomore, said, "I just want to have a good time with my friends. Everyone gets drunk and parties hard." No one disputes that binge drinking among underage students is a huge problem. But now college presidents from 100 of some of the nation's best known universities say the 21-year-old federal age limit for drinking may be making it worse by pushing the behavior into the shadows. They want a national debate about lowering the drinking age to 18. David Oxtoby, President of Pomona College said, "I think if we were able to show responsible drinking and model responsible drinking and educate students about it, that would be very beneficial for everybody." The very suggestion has MADD, mothers against drunk driving, seeing red. They say a lower drinking age would lead to more alcohol-fueled accidents. April Snook of MADD said, "The presidents who signed onto this are not looking at the scientific studies that have been done. Scientific studies have shown that the under- 21 laws save lives." MADD is urging parents to reconsider the safety of schools whose presidents want to revaluate the 21-year-old drinking age. The debate is likely to get louder in the coming weeks as students head back to campus. Student Maurice Santos said, "I think at 18 you're still too immature. Even 21 is still kind of pushing it." Studies show more than 40 percent of college students report symptoms of alcohol abuse, a problem, one educator said, that won't be eliminated by lowering the drinking age. -- End Carla Wohl, ABC news, Los Angeles -- UNCW has yet to respond to an invitation from the Amethyst Initiative, but that has not stopped people from forming an opinion on the issue. WWAY visited the campus today. Everyone we spoke with had an opinion about the proposal to lower the drinking age. Even with classes starting tomorrow, almost everyone wanted to talk about the effort. Today students and parents were busy buying books and last minutes supplies, a quiet scene compared to the nightlife of partying many assume occurs on college campuses. But, while students were 'quick' to respond to a proposal to lower the legal drinking age, signed by 100 college presidents, UNCW Chancellor Rosemary Depaolo will get some advice before making a decision on the initiative. Rebecca Caldwell, Dir. Of Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, said, "I'm going to make some recommendations to her about the pros and cons of signing on with this kind of effort. And we'll continue our substance abuse prevention and education efforts like always, which we've had in place for over 20 years." Caldwell says the current drinking age helps prevent addiction and allows the brain to fully develop. However, she says lowering the drinking age could lead to less high risk drinking among teens. North Carolina Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Craig Lloyd says raising the legal age to 21 reduced traffic deaths by nearly 30 percent in some states. He says if we lower the drinking age, the opposite will be true, and deaths will increase significantly. Duke is currently the only North Carolina school to support the proposal.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


drinking age

I do think they should lower it to 18 years of age, although the law needs to have a bigger punishment for 18-20 year old if they get cough drinking and driving. If they lower the age the nation dosent realize the money that will be mad a year just form the lowering of the drinking age. i really hope they do because i have a 17 year old son, and I want him to have as much fun as he can before he gets older and has his own family to support. The government should really take this law in to consideration....

UNCW grad

I graduated from UNCW in 2007. I think lowering the drinking age is a great idea. As many others have posted, my mom allowed me to drink in our home and wouldn't mind if I did so at a friend's as long as she knew where I was and called her if I needed a ride. I think this is a very effective way to go about introducing your child to alcohol. It allowed me to be safe when drinking and I didn't feel like I needed to go crazy when I started college. More than that, I felt comfortable with calling my mom if I needed to and I think anyone can say they would rather pick up their kid who has been drinking than have them drive or go home with someone who has been drinking. I think many parents shelter their kids and they go to school and get in a bunch of trouble because they finally have that freedom. If we lowered the age, there would be less of that novelty mindset. While studying at UNCW, I also spent a semester abroad in Spain. Its amazing how much more mature everyone over there was about drinking and being smart when they do so and I have no doubt that was largely due to the fact that drinking was never really "banned" for them. It was just another part of life and because of that, it was more of a social thing rather than a "let's get drunk" thing. For everyone that says its a bad idea, that's fine but I think you really need to look at how many more problems we have in the US due to drinking and that is due to the fact that we are one of the only countries that looks at it as a horrible thing.

Drinking leads to heroin

Drinking leads to heroin addiction ...just like pot smoking does! How's that for old news?

Drinking Age

I am 16, live in North Carolina and I drink. Yes, now some of you reading this are alarmed... I drink, but I DO NOT get drunk. I was raised in a family where drinking wine or beer with dinner is acceptable. I believe that the drinking age SHOULD be lowered and I do think that it will help prevent deaths due to alcohal poisoning in the USA. Because I grew up with alcohal being a norm, it's not 'cool' to drink. I think my friends that go out and get drunk are stupid, and I loose respect for them everytime they do it. Also, I don't think they would if they were legally allowed to... no teen rebel wants to do something legal. So by alcohal loosing the 'cool' factor I think teen binge drinking would decrease dramatically.

Drinking at your age...

has certainly impaired your ability to spell words correctly and use punctuation where needed.


that the person legitimately tried to offer their opinion on the matter in a respectable way... and you choose to assault their position with an attempt to point out ignorance. Why not let them provide a justified opinion in this forum for opinions? Keep YOUR own ignorance in check for the rest of us

The drinking age should stay

The drinking age should stay 21. In my opinion, lowering the drinking age will only fill up the rows of those teenagers that end up in an alcohol rehab center. If now they’re drinking like crazy everywhere in campuses, while they know not all of them are 21 yet, imagine how it would be if government legalized alcohol for them. I don’t see this as a solution.

As far as making the

As far as making the drinking age 18 it will not do anything but allow some people drink. A kid can get a hold of alcohol at any age now. 14, 16, 18 it does not matter. if they want to drink they will. it will allow people 18 or older to go to the hospital without fear of consenquences but we will always have a problem no matter what the age limit is. (for example prom, the worst night to drive because of all the drunk teens on the roads)

lower the drinking age??

Ok. Lets think about this and think hard. I have seen and read most of the comments. As a mom, first and foremost I would never allow my kid to drink underage, no matter the legal age. For the simple fact that it is wrong privatly or publicly. Next, it is proven that your brain is not fully developed until 21 or older and it is not so good to let someone start on alcohol of any kind before then. I agree with the point of raising the age of voting and enlistment. Hey lets raise the tobacco age as well. Alcohol is a nasty habit in and of itself. I have seen what alcoholism does to people first hand. I can only imagine how many more DUI's or accidents we would have due to teenagers drinking. I dont care if you can get married or have a kid at 18. At 18 I was still a kid. Most people dont even grow up until sometime in their 20s. And to the college professors supporting this bill, let me say this, my kids will NOT step foot onto your campuses. I was a member of the SADD chapter in high school and as a mom I will support MADD all the way. Do not let them lower the drinking age. We hear all the time of kids dying from alcohol poisoning when they hit 21 and binge, think of all the 18 year olds that might happen to. I would rather see my kid die serving our country than alcohol. Enough said!

It is mothers like you that

It is mothers like you that cause some of the accidents in the first place. Your child WILL experiment with alcohol and if they get too messed up and is afraid to call you and tell you that they can't drive- they will attempt to drive home and crash. good job parenting. and if you believe they won't ever drink- open your eyes. And it's also about trusting and educating your child to make god decisions about alcohol. you have officially FAILED. I'm 17 and I was raised by social drinking parents. NOT alcoholics. I have been introduced at a young age to alcohol and I have turned out to be an intellegent young woman and I don't party because I see no point. Acting like something doesn't exist in the world and not letting your children realize it- is just bad parenting. it will make them rebel. I know. I'm a freakin teenage in this new age of teens. I'm not trying to attack you- more like wake you up. Too many parents like you have children who get hit in the face when they get in the real world.

drinking age

Like several others have mentioned, if you are old enough to fight and die for your country, you should be able to drink a beer. It is obsured. They are going to do it anyway, no matter what the age is. Personal responsibility is the issue here, not drinking.

Drinking Age

At 18 most kids do nopt have the common sense to come in out of the rain as I didn't at that age. Give them the right to drink alcohol and look out for the legal consequenses of thier actions.

raise it

They should raise it to 25. The only reason they want to lower it is to increase alcohol sales to increase taxes for the state. We already have a DWI problem, why fuel the fire?

Here's an idea

Instead of lowering the drinking age, why don't we raise the age of everything else. Not only do I think that 18 is too young to drink, but I think 18 is too young to fight and die for your country and to vote responsibly. Make the age to enlist 21, make the age to vote 21. Problem solved. This way kids (18 year olds) won't get suckered into enlisting and will have a chance to go to college or have some time to be free before signing the papers that enslaves them for four years. Lowering the drinking age is going to increase the amount of drinking not only with 16 and 17 year olds, but kids are going to start even younger.. around 14. This article claims that the reason the drinking age was changed to 21 was because the brain wasn't completely developed at 18.. so what's changed so that now we don't care if our youth's brains are fully developed. I can't even image what the drunk driving and DWI rates are going to become if this law is passed. These are the professors and some of the most intelligent of our country coming up with this law... Way to go America for another brilliant idea.

The government wouldn't even

The government wouldn't even think about raising the enlistment age. Many military men and women enlist at 21 or under. This would greatly effect the number of military persons, and they can't afford for that to happen, especially with the situations we are getting ourselves into overseas.


The law needs to read 21yrs old to purchase liquoir, 18yrs old to purchase beer, and a .00 alcohol restriction for 18 to 20yr olds while operating a motor vehicle

The BAC limit for anyone

The BAC limit for anyone under 21 is already at .oo They need to have stricter DWI laws and laws for those that are under the age.

The BAC limit for persons

The BAC limit for persons under 21 is .02. If BAC was set at .00 make sure you don't use mouth wash before driving!

Make alcohol illegal

Given all the suffering and lives lost to alcohol, isn't it time to consider making it illegal to consume alcohol?

making drinking illegal was

making drinking illegal was already done and guess wat i didnt work out. well any ways the drinking age should be lowered to 18 jus because teens drink because they think they can get away with it. well personaly im 17 and i have been drinking for about 2 years now. now for all the people out there who want to say something dont. i was rasied around beer and liquor. both [arents drink and have taught me to be responabil and not to drink and drive. if the drinking age was to be lowered then alot of the deaths tht happen because of underage drinking would go down jus because we know tht we wont get in trouble cause we are of age. and well if im able to fight and die for this country i want to be able to drink when i want to.

Here's a thought. Maybe you

Here's a thought. Maybe you should have spent the last two years pursuing an education instead of drinking. If you had, it's possible you would now be able to spell, punctuate, and type a coherent paragraph. In addition, any parent who breaks the law by providing beer and liquor for underage children are not responsible and are in no way teaching responsibility. They are breaking the law and should be charged and appropriately punished. You make the argument about fighting and dying for this country. Are you already enlisted or do you plan to enlist in the military within the next year? If not, don't use that argument and try and ride the coat tails of those who are actually making that sacrifice.

Is this a joke?

Have you even HEARD of prohibition? I suggest you do some research and find out what happened when we tried: Read something for once and find out why this is still considered one of the biggest mistakes in American political history. As for lowering the drinking age, I support it with certain restrictions. For one, a .00 limit until 21 like a previous commenter said is essential. The penalties for DUI should stay exactly the same for people under 21. Drunk driving and alcohol poisoning are the biggest concerns, so don't allow people under 21 to buy hard liquor. Remember, students will STILL get it if they want it anyway. The purchase and consumption of alcohol in and of itself IS NOT A PROBLEM. It's the decisions that immature young people make after one too many. If the law's penalties stay the same for drunk drivers, I think the situation would mostly stay the same, save for unnecessary and money-wasting under-age drinking tickets. I personally don't think there will be a significantly larger number of students who will decide to drink JUST because it's legal to buy. Does this make any sense to anyone else...?

RE: Make alcohol illegal

Enjoy your freedom here in America aye?

Why is this even a debate

Why is this even a debate right now? we've got high unemployment rates, unprepared college kids, a sluggish economy and a million foreclosures on homes? and you people are worried about the drinking age? why don't we worry about something and fight for something that matters for a change.

Actually the dismal state of

Actually the dismal state of the economy makes this issue even more relevant. Alcohol is taxable so lowering the age of purchase would help stimulate the economy. Now is as good a time as any to weigh the pros and cons of changing the drinking age.


it SHOULD be 18...I don't care WHAT you think..we hold 18 year olds to the legal standards of a 21 year old..and you are old enough to die to defend the rights of this nation...personally...if an 18 year old soldier wants a drink around me...HE GETS ONE!

I agree 100%

I agree 100%

Grow Up!

Those 18-21 are old enough to "grow up," and those believing that government legislation can dictate morality and common sense, also need to "grow up." Yes, drinking is not a safe and or completely healthy activity. But at 18, American citizens can vote, serve in the military, carry weapons, marry, become parents, buy a home or a car, and do just about everything an adult can do, BUT drink a beer. That's absurd! Not to forget that drinking has always been a part of college/youthful culture. Bottom line: the present age limit does not appear to stop many young adults from just drives it underground, which usually escalates the initial problem. I think the legal age for consumption of beer and wine should be 18 or 19, and hard liquor consumption should be legal at 21.

I have always thought same-

I have always thought same- that at 18 you can vote, marry, drive, serve in the military, etc. If you are old enough to do those "adult" actions, you should be old enough to have a beer.

PoliGuest, gov't legislation

PoliGuest, gov't legislation can and does dictate morality. Always has, if you think about it.