Title: Drinking Age
Description: Val's a wimp :p
Jesina Dreis - September 6, 2006 03:18 AM (GMT)
Because of all the talking about alcohol in the MMC thread, Val and I were chatting...
What do y'all think about the US drinking age of 21?
Valin_Halcyon - September 6, 2006 03:22 AM (GMT)
I think it's kinda odd that you can drive a tank into battle but can't have a drink at the age of 18... don't think they should lower it below that, though.
Jesina Dreis - September 7, 2006 01:28 PM (GMT)
Isn't there a higher rate of alcoholism in the US versus European nations where there's no drinking age or it's significantly lower? I recall reading that somewhere...
frustratedstudent - September 7, 2006 01:31 PM (GMT)
Where I am, drinking age is SUPPOSED to be 18. But you know how kids can be with alcohol....
I guess where I live, if you can be trusted to vote and drive with a license, you can be trusted with alcohol and cigarettes....
Durell - September 7, 2006 04:14 PM (GMT)
I think the key is to teach the kids the right handeling of alcohol and setting the age up doesn't help the matter. Here in the Germany there is a a huge discussion about alcohol from time to time. I think the whoe problem is that teenager think dinking alcohol and drinking much makes them cool. And if it's forbidden it's even more tempting. I don't kow the exacty numbers of alcoholism in Europe comparing to the US, but I know that if American teenager are visitin Germany they often get horrible drunk. ( Here, beer is allowed from age 16 and the harder stuff from 18) They don't know when to stop and obviously never learned how to handle it and how dangerous the stuff is. And before you think, OMG, are all Americans drinking too much over in Europe, no of course not, but teenager tend to it while here.
I think you should teach teenager early enough about alcohol and the effects of it and how to drink it without being harmfull to them.
Jesina Dreis - September 7, 2006 04:39 PM (GMT)
I just know that while my brother drinks and is underage (he just turned 20, has been drinking since he joined the army, I think, but hey, who can blame him? :p ) and I drank when I was underage, we've never gotten out of control with it, and I owe that in no small part to the fact that alcohol wasn't taboo in our family. Wine with dinner, the occasional wine cooler or Smirnoff Ice or whatnot - those were fine, and our parents gave them to us from time to time. So we were never all "ALCOHOL!!! Must drink as much as we can!!" But then I knew people in college for whom alcohol had been off-limits as kids and they went crazy with it.
That was always my mom's philosophy as well
Durell - September 7, 2006 07:22 PM (GMT)
That sounds perfect to me. Exactly the way I would teach my kids. :)
Mirax_Corran - September 8, 2006 07:46 PM (GMT)
I think they need to lower the drinking age a bit, because if it wasn't illegal to allow kids to have a bit to drink with dinner at home before they go off to college, they're probably less likely to get completely drunk the first chance they have.
It's not like kids aren't drinking, but something's being forbidden does make it that much more exciting.
Spee - September 10, 2006 02:12 AM (GMT)
I think if we could teach our kids responsible drinking from a young age, then we could lower the drinking age--but if we did it as things stand now, it would just cause more alcohol-related deaths. We'd really need to change the "alcohol culture" in this country, make it more European, maybe.
frustratedstudent - September 10, 2006 04:22 AM (GMT)
I guess it's one thing to be drinking responsibly, and (for minors) when someone is making sure that no one does anything stupid when under the influence. What I have problems with are incidents when people just get so drunk and don't remember how they ended up where they were the next day. I've had friends who've almost died of irresponsible drinking, and it's scary.
Jesina Dreis - September 10, 2006 03:13 PM (GMT)
I have too, FS. And I agree, Spee. That's why it worked for my family; it was a little more European because of my mother's upbringing.
-thor- - September 10, 2006 03:56 PM (GMT)
It's probably also a cultural thing. I can say that I've never been drunk in my whole life - not hideously, that is. A little merry now and then, sure, but never filled to the back teeth. That made me an exception in my old school class(es) since most folks - when turning 15 or 16 - had nothing better to do than going to a disco on saturday evening and start the "pressure filling". Some folks left as much as 100DM a night just for drinks - regularly, weekend for weekend.
I always found that behavior confusing, since I could not spot a single sign of that being "fun". OK, I've been an outsider all my life and prefered my solitude to mingling with the crowd, but still I could not (and still can't) see the reason for getting drunk every saturday (or whenever one had the chance).
On the other hand it produced some very amusing episodes, too. There were a "young man" and a "young woman" in my class who hated each other with a passion. After one of these saturdays they woke up next ot each other ... They were keeping that blush for weeks. :jenn:
And to make matters worse they ended up together until the A-level. Don't know what happened afterwards, though. :blink:
CodeName_Targeter - September 10, 2006 09:54 PM (GMT)
The US drinking age is stupid. And no, I'm not just saying that because I'm underaged. I've been to and stayed for a decent amount of time in Italy, Germany, and Greece in the past two years and their drinking policies makes so much more sense. The Italy trip was with school. Most of my fellow americans were piss drunk the whole time. Why? Because ignoring the fact that we technically weren't supposed to drink, it was perfectly legal and until their euros went away, they could drink as much as they wanted. Now with the Italian kids, except for on one occasion, most of the kids knew how much alcohol they could take without acting like a complete idiot and did so.
I think it's pretty much common knowledge here that I drink and I'm a bit more than a year or two underage. I've got a bit over 4 years before I can legally walk into a bar and tell the bar staff that i'll give them money in exchange for a beer. I'm raised in a very Italian family. Up until my grandparents decided to flee to the south, almost everyone on my dad's side of the family would go to my grandparents' house on sunday and have dinner. (I swear there's a point to all this ;) ) Me and all of my older cousins have always been allowed a sip of wine with dinner and once we got a bit older, a small glass of wine with dinner. For the past few years, my dad's made me cocktails that have alcohol in them just not nearly as much as might be in a actual version. For me, alcohol's never been that big of a deal. I like drinking but I could count the number of times on one hand that I've been so drunk that I passed out and one of them was partially due to heat exhaustion. If I'm ever drinking with my friends, I'm careful to not let myself drink too much and I refuse to get in the car with one of my friends who's had anything at all to drink.
As much as I hate to say it, a lot of American teenagers are just plain stupid. Like 'Rell said before, part of it is the whole "forbidden" thing and the fact that it's supposed to make you look cool. I know that at least at my school, we get lectures every now and then on not drinking or doing drugs. Problem is, most teens don't want to listen. I know for a fact that a large portion of the junior and senior classes routinely get piss-face-drunk. The parents, teachers, and other authority figures can talk all they want. If something's forbidden, most teens will try and do it.
And for fear that I'll end up writing an essay on this instead of the chemistry essay that I'm supposed to be writing, I'll try and wrap this up. If the US became more like the Europeans, I believe many alcohol related incidents would drop. Let kids learn about alchol at an earlier age and don't make it seem so forbidden. They'll figure out their limits fairly early on and while some will still insist on being drunkards, the appeal will be lost to a lot of them.
Jesina Dreis - September 10, 2006 11:01 PM (GMT)
:applause: Well said, Jenn :applause:
Valin_Halcyon - September 11, 2006 01:54 AM (GMT)
You drink?! :O :p
In all seriousness though, makes a lot of sense. Only thing is it's much harder to change a culture than a law.
Corellia's Dream - September 13, 2006 01:06 AM (GMT)
21 seems ludicrous to me as a legal age for drinking. At that age, you can join the Army, drive a car, get married and have kids (vote ? don't know the age for voting in America), but you can't buy a beer ?
In the 1920's, Prohibition caused far more problems than it solved, and caused people to drink alcohol just on principle, because they didn't like having the right taken away.
Anyone old enough to drive a car ought to be old enough to drink alcohol. And yes, introducing it sensibly to children and younger teenagers does make it less of a big thing later on.
Are children allowed in bars in the USA ? British pubs have to have a children's licence, and I belive that children aren't allowed within 6' of the bar.
Jesina Dreis - September 13, 2006 01:15 AM (GMT)
First, local law dictates things. There are some towns in the US that are completely dry. States and towns both have license to set their own laws regarding the sale of alcohol. And then, bars can set their own rules, within state and local law, as to whether children are permitted in. Some bars, you have to be 21 to come in at all. Others, you can come in but you can't sit at the bar. One of the bars in South Beach, at night you have to be 21 to come in no matter what. During the day, as long as you don't sit at the bar, you can be underage.
Cobranaconda - September 13, 2006 02:07 PM (GMT)
I've always thought the American drinking age was ridiculously strict. I pretty much agree with Jenn. In the UK, you can legally drink at home from the age of 5, so long as you have parental consent and you're being kept eye on. From about 14, you can drink at home without needing to ask (Though that's unofficial). At 16 you can buy and drink in resaturants, with a meal, and at 18 you can drink in bars, buy at off-licenses, etc etc. It makes sense, it builds you up. It saves you from being completely teetotal until you're 18, then going out on your birthday, getting ridiculously rat-assed and then dying of a brain haemorrhage, which has happened.
If the age in the US was more lax, it may stem the "Oh look I'm drinking because I'm cool" ideal, and also stop the other countries laughing at it, and avoiding the country because they can't drink (Put it this way, if I were to ever go to the US, it wouldn't be until after I was 21 :p )
Mirax_Corran - September 13, 2006 08:13 PM (GMT)
That makes a lot of sense, Cobra. It's a good way to introduce kids to alcohol, and put plenty of control in the parents' hands.
Captain-Kettch - September 15, 2006 07:19 PM (GMT)
My own opinions on drinking are convoluted. Partly I believe that if we didn't have a drinking age there wouldn't be a problem. But then I see my step-brother, who's been allowed to drink since he was in high school, and gets drunk every weekend, and realize that no, we would still have the problem we have. What It hink is more important than the drinking 'age', is the mind set of the country. Ever since the late nineteenth century alcohol has been seen as this horrible evil. When in fact it wasn't all that bad. Most of the problems contributed to drinking, were caused by other sources. Sure the kids were dinking a lot. But kids have been drinking since alcohol was first formented! Hell people used to trust beer more than water, and would give their kids beer! But what's happened, is that idea that alcohol is evil has continued on through the past century or so. And the congress knows that it's a hot button issue, and if they even touch the country will be up in arms. So instead they keep the status quo and allow it to stand.
Now what would happen if congress suddenly decided to remove the drinking age? Schools would be empty next week for one, but also there would be even more drinking. Because they wouldn't have to hide it. But because they wouldn't have to hide it, it would be safer. Teenagers wouldn't be quite so afraid to call their parents and say they were drunk and needed a ride, or call a cab. Hell if the congress were intelligent, they would get rid of the drinking age, increase taxes on alcohol, and let us drink to our hearts content. It'd solve the budget deficit. And help increase the average intelligence of Americans. :pfft:
I guess my opinion isn't quite so convoluted. Basically though, the drinking age comes from a time of less information. Minors have been drinking for ages without problems. If tge congress removed the drinking age people would be up in arms, and the country could make a lot of money on a general alcohol tax.
Spee: edited for language
Valin_Halcyon - September 16, 2006 01:11 AM (GMT)
Hell people used to trust beer more than water, and would give their kids beer!
That was because beer was generally cleaner than water for those people.
frustratedstudent - September 16, 2006 10:47 AM (GMT)
The key word: moderation. Which is, sadly, one thing many young people like me still cannot define for themselves.
Captain-Kettch - September 16, 2006 11:37 PM (GMT)
Hell people used to trust beer more than water, and would give their kids beer!
That was because beer was generally cleaner than water for those people.
I know, that's why I said "trust beer more than water" it suggests that they didn't trust water. Which is basically saying it was cleaner. :rolleyes: They also used a less potent form, too. Which reused the wheat and barley.
Rogue SG-1 - February 1, 2007 11:33 PM (GMT)
Well, Down Under it's 18 for everything, beer, wine, spirits, whatever. But I know that people drink before they're 18 here, hell, my older brother started drinking before he was 16, just not a lot. At BBQ's and family partys, out at the footy or on special occasions. I just don't have any idea how Americans can enforce no drinking before 21. Is 21 also the legal voting age? Cause' here when you turn 18 you're an adult. Voting, drinking, gambling.
I was in Holland over christmas and had my first legal drink there, as there drinking age is 16. My cousin told me he knows 14 year old who go to pubs after school! So I think 18 is a pretty good age.
Jesina Dreis - February 2, 2007 06:29 AM (GMT)
No, the voting age is 18 in the US.
Xellina - February 2, 2007 10:17 AM (GMT)
I only found what the drinking age is in Russia on Law lesson in uni. It turned out to be 21 - we all spend the end of the lecture laughing, since everybody started drinking YEARS before that. Nobody ever asks about your age when you buy alchohol here and even a 10 y.o. can get away with "a bottle of beer for my dad, please".
So you'd think that after being introduced to alchohol at early age people would learn to drink responsible. Hell, no! It get's scary after 8 p.m. at weekends - there's young people everywhere with bottles and cans (and not their first ones in the evening too). And the later it gets, the more drunk they get, fights errupt and so forth.
Young people here don't think drinking is cool. They simply don't think about at all. Forthe majority beer and gin'n'tonic is like coca - they drinking it all the time, including between lectures and after breakfast. My groupmates at uni couldn't *comprehend* why I wasn't drinking. It was absolutely natural for them to do. I wish we had selling of alchohol prohibited altogether.
Jesina Dreis - February 4, 2007 05:14 AM (GMT)
It's interesting to look at the people around me here. There are those of us who grew up around alcohol. That's where I am; my mom is Italian so I've had wine since I was a kid. Those people tend not to go crazy once they're exposed to alcohol sans family.
Then there are those who come from dry houses, or homes where they weren't allowed to drink underage. Those are the people who end up going nuts when they get the chance.
Mia Celchu - February 5, 2007 04:23 PM (GMT)
I do agree that people that have been exposed to alcohol, tend to be less likely to become alcoholics. You can say that about anything though. I really wasn't exposed to alcohol, but generally don't like it, just because it's usually too bitter for my taste and I don't have a high alcohol tolerance. My parents start getting flushed after drinking one cup of wine XD.
The other thing that scares me about drunk people is their lack of control. Had a roomie in college once on the first day I moved in come in at 3 AM, being loud, she denied being drunk the next day, but oh well.