As I wrote before, several local college Presidents (Syracuse, Cazenovia, Colgate, Elmira and Hamilton), have signed on to a campaign to change the drinking age–as a means to deal with problem drinking on campus.
Dr. Darshak Sanghavi, a pediatric cardiologist and professor at UMass medical school blasts some awfully big holes in the logic behind drinking age reduction theory in this article posted on Slate.com
The number of young problem drinkers and alcohol-related traffic fatalities both plunged after the passage of a nationwide 21 year old drinking age–and have stayed low in the 25 years since passage. So, why change the drinking age when it has been such a successful aid to reducing both the number of problem drinkers and the number of traffic fatalities they commit? According to Dr. Sanghavi, because the 21 year old drinking age hasn’t entirely solved the problem and colleges are desperate to end the significant problems that remain. Desperation doesn’t excuse wrongheaded public policy.
What’s even more interesting are Dr.Sanghavi’s suggestions for more effective approaches to reducing problem alcohol consumption:
Whites and younger students drink much more than minority students and older students, so diversify your campus to reduce the number of problem drinkers
Even small and haphazard alcohol education programs on campus have helped to reduce problem drinking. So make the programs comprehensive.
Regulate large-scale alcohol sales–register keg purchasers and limit number of kegs sold at one time.
Tax the bejeezus out of beer–price increases have a significant effect on youth purchase patterns.