New initiative to lower legal drinking age
uncwdrink300.jpg
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.

"easier" Like...easy to walk into your home or a friends home who's parents drink and just pull it out of the fridge...like THAT easy? You guys are DELUSIONAL if you think underage kids even CARE that the drinking age is at 21...
I do not agree to this, The reason there's to many fights. I witnessed one at the bowling alley last night here in Wilmington and there was a brawl, Between UNCW students and others it was pretty bad. First it started with two guys. One UNCW student and a local here in Wilmington. Then another UNCW jumped on him and then a local joined in, I couldn't believe my eyes,Next thing I see is everyone mostly Collage students were fighting locals. I don't know if they were drinking there maybe half of them. I saw some of them drinking beer. Basically what I'm saying is If they were drinking there they must of been 21 yrs. of age. So if you bring down the drinking age then that is going to cause alot of problems. Fighting, drunk driving, possible death. Please don't make things worse than they are right now. Thanks for your support, Shawna
I know I might catch flack for this but here goes. If our young people are old enough to be sent over seas and old enough to spill blood for our country then let them have a beer, dang. I always found it sad they everyone has an issue with this. I understand the maturity levels of some at 18 through 21 but come on folks, if we consider them mature enough to defend our country, then let's by them a beer for the effort? Jim
You're not the first person, Guest167 to put forth the "going to war" argument -- that one's been around for years and years. Why not then make the legal drinking age 18 (or 19) only for active duty military who are scheduled for deployment? By golly, if someone's going to meet their Maker, everyone knows the only and best way to do that is while they're wasted! (J/K). But seriously, what an irony. Most college students who are in favor of lowering the drinking age support it for obvious (and specious) reasons. Yeah, all the cool kids know the only way to be "with it" and impress your desired fraternity/sorority as a new college freshman is getting plastered and cutting up in the nearby campus bars on weekends -- especially since the initiation (hazing) activities also often involve abuse of alcohol. I see academic performance going way down as well as the previously cited drinking-related violence, drunk driving and public disturbances going up. I actually did consider voting "yes" JUST as a matter of principle, as I realize that not ALL 18-yr-olds are irresponsible; but the whole immature, idiotic "party-hearty" mentality is what's wrong with this picture in the first place. The only way to drink "responsibly" or in moderation, no matter whether you're 18 or 80 (as one previous responder pointed out -- the result is the same) is to NOT GET DRUNK. Enjoy your one or two drinks with dinner or at an outdoor sporting or recreational event, for those who are so inclined; and be done with it. The minute alcohol starts negatively affecting your physical reflexes, personality or impairing mental reasoning and moral judgment is when you've crossed the line -- designated driver or NO "designated driver". Of course that would take all the so-called "fun" out of it for all the campus fledglings who are looking forward to having a raucous time at places like Ft. Lauderdale this coming spring; so they wouldn't even bother participating in the debate. I remember back during the early 1980's when the drinking age was *raised* from 18 to 19, (and eventually to 21). There used to be a distinction made between beer and wine and the "harder" liquors like whiskey and rum (which were reserved for age 21 and over). My father drove a taxicab during these years and I (as an older teenager) would often accompany him to the local taverns while he waited on fares. Observing the silly, irresponsible and sometimes annoying/dangerous conduct of some of the more inebriated patrons, I guess one could say made a "positive-negative" impression on me and just reinforced my inclination that drinking was a pointless activity to begin with. Although I tried alcohol a few times (legally), mostly during my late teens and early 20's, it never really held any appeal for me one way or the other. Even in the bars there were other more suitable avenues for entertainment and socializing, many of which (such as billiards and video games) had better outcomes for sober participants. Too bad I was never a betting individual... ;)
Here's the thing, Jim...there is no "boot camp" for potential drinkers. The discipline these 18 year olds face in the military doesn't exist in civilian land does it? The only way I would support lowering the drinking age is if the penalties for drunk driving and other offenses to do with drinking become more severe starting with the first offence.
I totally aggree with some of the comments. I talked about this with some peers, and my wife of course, and ya know, here is a good compromise. Drop the legal drinking age to 18 for active military and stay at 21 for everyone else. I think that would work. I know some of those kids that want it dropped are just frat boys and such, so unless you are mature enough to make a commitment like armed services you can wait till 21 to drink that beer. Jim
OK, bunch of people use the argument of old enough to serve in the military should be old enough to drink. What about young people that have to support their families at 15 or 16 years old. They are out there. By god, if they are old enough to go out and work and bring home the bacon, then they should be allowed to drink also. I say lower the drinking age to 15. You can drink in England at 16, we should be at least one-up on the Euros.
no you can drink at 18 in England, 16 is the age to buy tobacco
they are children under the LAW...lawfully nothing they do, or very little they do, will follow them after they are 18...18 is the magic number when the feds see you as an adult, where the judicial system sees you as an adult, etc... BTW...wanna know why 14-17 year olds don't care about drinking laws...CAUSE THEY KNOW THEY DON'T HAVE TO...after they turn 18...it all for the most part goes away. From 18-21...I wasn't worried ONE BIT about what ANYBODY thought about me drinking..
face it ladies and gents if your 18,17,16 year old wants a drink they can get it, its reallys not as hard as youd think it would be so why not lower the age? talk to your highschool kids about it you might be suprised what you here