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Teaching Temperance to Teen Drinkers?

by Elizabeth Ryan 


Tags: Science and Technology, teens, underage drinking, alcohol, ideas, The Atlantic, Elizabeth Ryan,

atl-ideas-covWith binge drinking and alcohol-related hospital visits ever on the rise in young people, perhaps it’s time to come up with a plan B. As professor John McCardell puts it, “Clearly state laws mandating a minimum drinking age of 21 haven’t eliminated drinking by young adults—they’ve simply driven it underground, where life and health are at greater risk.”

As part of The Atlantic’s annual ideas issue, McCardell offers up his solution to curb the prominence of underage imbibing. His first recommendation is to do away with the yanking of highways funds from states who would dare lower the legal age so we make some “adult” adjustments. With that change, he has a few suggestions for states:

They might license 18-year-olds—adults in the eyes of the law—to drink, provided they’ve completed high school, attended an alcohol education course (that consists of more than temperance lectures and scare tactics), and kept a clean record. They might even mandate alcohol education at a young age. And they might also adopt zero-tolerance laws for drunk drivers of all ages, and require ignition interlocks on their cars.

What do you think? Could initiatives like these actually make a difference?

Source: The Atlantic