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Raising the drinking age?

22 November, 2009

Should the legal drinking age be raised from 18? About 70% of Courier Mail online poll voters seem to think so.

Or more accurately, readers who got to the end of an article about a 12-year-old girl who was rescued from the surf at Surfers Paradise at the start of “Schoolies” thought so.

Seriously, am I still too young to appreciate the dangers that alcohol can cause to an 18-year-old body? Or that 18 year olds are simply incapable of controlling their drinking? Or is 71% of voters in the above poll naive in thinking that raising the legal limit on drinking will automatically increase the age at which youth actually start drinking? How responsible are people in their 20s and 30s anyway?

About a week ago I was going home on a Tokyo subway only to witness a “salaryman” lose consciousness and hit the carriage floor, with the surrounding young business women quickly making way so as not to obstruct his body from falling. After helping him up and offering him my seat, which he rejected, he again collapsed and the sound of his head hitting the floor was surely heard by all in the carriage. This time I helped him out at the next station and another passenger notified the station master.

It was a clear reminder for me that people of all ages are capable of drinking well beyond their limits. I am sure we have all witnessed something similar. So while the US may restrict drinking under 21 years and Japan 20, does this mean younger people don’t drink or older people drink responsibly? Naturally, not the case.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 23 November, 2009 11:27 am

    I would imagine that none of those choosing the yes option would have been between the ages of 18-20.

  2. 23 November, 2009 5:20 pm

    It’s a difficult question because it seems like such a quick fire “solution” that probably won’t work, to a complex problem.

  3. 25 November, 2009 8:11 am

    it is definitely a knee-jerk reaction, reb, that is bound to gain momentum around schoolies and such events. Clearly the “19” age limit is to directly target those high school seniors in the states of NSW and VIC who turn 18 during their final year of school. I can understand the move from this perspective, but it is sound policy?

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