Why Should the Legal Drinking Age Stay at 18 in Australia

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An 18-year-old can exaggerate his loan, he can be subject to seizure, he can be deported, he can choose the wrong partner, he can be killed in combat, he can get a DWI or worse. They can, they can, they can do a whole range of things, but by the age of majority, they should be treated as adults in every way, including the ability to consume alcohol. They should also be held accountable. If, as a society, we don`t think 18 is old enough to be considered adults, well, change adulthood. Fast forward to July 17, 1984, when the National Minimum Drinking Age Act came into force. All states had to set a minimum drinking age of 21 or lose federal dollars on highways. Most states immediately changed their laws. Some states have persevered, with my home state, Louisiana, being one of the last to reluctantly and grudgingly accept. (Even today, you can still enter many bars, clubs, and events in Louisiana at 18, but at some point you`ll need ID proving you`re 21 if you want to buy/drink alcohol — not really easy to apply.) David J.

Hanson, Ph.D., who has studied alcohol and alcohol consumption for more than 40 years, notes in his report, The Legal Drinking Age: Science vs. Ideology, that while it is true that fewer teenagers drink, when they drink, they drink more and drink in excess. Yes, that`s right. Fewer 18- to 20-year-olds can drink, but those who drink more “secretly” as well as excessive alcohol consumption. Check out university parties if you want to understand. But, hey, binge drinking just doesn`t get the publicity that drunk driving gets, even though there`s strong evidence that it`s a risk factor for alcoholism. A group of Australian doctors and academics today called on the Commonwealth government to raise the legal drinking age to 21 to reduce the harms associated with early binge drinking. Raising the age limit for alcohol consumption is just another example of hypocrisy. Too many parents allow their teens to drink at home or on special occasions, or turn a blind eye to college parties their kids are sure to attend. The drinking age of 21 is a denial of the legal age of adulthood, which in fact fosters a lack of compliance with the law, just like prohibition in the past. It is time to make the 18-year-old an adult, with all the rights, privileges and, yes, responsibilities that come with it. No exceptions.

Drinking patterns established in their late teens and early 20s, he believes, form a pattern of lifelong drinking behavior, which is why the legal drinking age is so crucial. I don`t feel comfortable just trying to break the debate about the legal drinking age by pointing to the evidence without artifice. But it`s time to foster informed community debate about effective approaches, acknowledge the evidence and perhaps test new approaches to address the well-founded concern about alcohol-related harm among young Australians. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heavy alcohol consumption. Harms include an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, injuries caused by violence and, as some studies suggest, suicide. In Australia, we have seen an increase in rates of alcohol consumption leading to hospitalizations among young Australians. This tragedy sparked a public outcry about alcohol and its role in violent crime. And with this latest submission to the Senate inquiry into alcohol violence, the public is once again debating the merits of raising Australia`s legal drinking age.

Of course, no one can ignore that one of the benefits of the age limit for 21-year-olds is the reduction in the number of drunk-driving deaths. The numbers speak for themselves. Research shows that about 1,000 lives a year are saved due to the increase in the age of alcohol consumption. However, consider this: According to choosing responsibility.” Twice as many 21-year-olds died in alcohol-related car accidents as 18-year-olds. Such an astonishing statistic speaks volumes: a policy that claims to save thousands of dollars each year can simply redistribute deaths over the life cycle to the point where it becomes legal to drink alcohol – at the age of 21. “If so, what is the solution? Increase the drinking age to 25? 30? 40? The retirement age? The debate could be characterized as a debate about evidence, community expectations, and political risks. The evidence for the benefits of raising the legal minimum age to purchase is strong – it reduces access to alcohol and reduces harm. But high-quality evidence does not always lead to community support or legislative changes. While about half of Australians support raising the drinking age, there is still a lot of controversy. Professor Swartzwelder says the debate over the legal drinking age needs to be broader than just brain research. According to a recent report, nearly two-thirds (63%) of drinkers aged 18-24 say they drink alcohol to get drunk, and one-third (35%) say they can`t quit once they start.

Worryingly, more than a third (39%) don`t remember what happened on the night of a binge drinking. In a country where individuals are required by law to vote at the age of 18, it is unlikely to receive political support. We have written before about the culture of alcoholism in Australia and the pressure it puts on young people. Regardless of where the country decides to set the legal drinking age, it is important that it also takes steps to provide support and rehabilitation programs to those trying to distance themselves from alcohol dependence. Several recent studies have shown this. Australia, New Zealand and the United States have changed their legal drinking age in recent decades. The data collected during this period provide a fertile testing ground for scientists and statisticians. This allows them to test theories about how the legal drinking age affects society as a whole. A few drinks after work.

But not for those under 21, if the state government passes a law that would raise the legal drinking age. Image: Brendan Esposito There`s been a lot of hype lately around an online petition to lower the drinking age to 18. Professor Hickie, one of the country`s most respected young mental health scientists, is a strong advocate for raising the legal drinking age to 21 as part of a range of strategies, including taxing alcohol content in beverages, changing licensing periods and strengthening policing. Many U.S. states have lowered their drinking age from 21 to 18. However, concerns about alcohol-related harm, particularly on the streets, led to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, which tied federal funding of roads to setting a legal drinking age at 21. A unique natural experiment has made it possible to analyse what happens when the drinking age decreases and then increases again: alcohol consumption and road accidents among young people have increased with more liberal legislation that lowered the drinking age, and then decreased with more restrictive legislation that brought down the legal drinking age to 21. As the legal drinking age increased, so did the age of underage drinkers.

The negative effects of what young people do today can last until later in life. Changes in the legal age of purchase in the United States also allowed for careful analysis of two large samples. These are also specific health-related issues. The potentially negative effects of alcohol on the developing brain are already well understood. It is also known that the brain develops beyond a person`s adolescence until the early 20s. According to many doctors and scientists, moving the legal drinking age to the early 20s would help reduce possible developmental problems in the brains of young drinkers.