Let’s lower the drinking age…..

teens-drinkingI’m really not sure how to start this post.  I’m pretty agitated so I’m trying to *breath* and stay calm so I don’t sound like a shrew.

Last night the news started with this: Another Push To Lower Minnesota’s Drinking Age.  I’m thinking, well, I don’t “really” have a problem with this issue. I’ve stated in other posts as well as left comments on others blogs, that I never “hid” or “shielded” alcohol from my boys.  When they were teens, if we were at home on a special occasion or at our cabin around a bon fire, if they wanted a beer, they could have one. I was there and they weren’t going anywhere and I just felt, what the heck?  Being that it wasn’t “taboo” they really never once abused it.  They would have a couple and that was it.  No big deal.

I feel this way.  If an 18 year old can vote, get married, become a parent or go to war, they should be able to have a drink or a beer. I also feel some 18 year olds are very immature and won’t be able to handle it but I know MANY 30-40- and 50 year olds who shouldn’t drink.  Some people just shouldn’t drink no matter how old they are.  This is just the way I feel and you may feel differently and that’s fine, we are all different.

But the longer this news story went on, the more *agitated* I became.  The reasoning behind this is the poor economy.  The smoking ban and the “economic crisis” have really hurt the restaurant and bar scene and some people think if we lift the ban on alcohol in those places, it will bring in more “people.”  Okay, fine.  

Wanna hear the kicker here???  It’s only in bars and restaurants!  It will still be illegal for them to purchase alcohol in liquor stores. What??? So, now let me get this straight.  They want the “kid’s” money to help our failing economy and they can drink “out” in public and then have to drive home?  They can’t go buy a six pack and TAKE IT HOME TO DRINK but they can get drunk in a bar and then drive home.  So a bunch of “adults” have ruined our economy and now they want to take kids money so they can get drunk out in public and maybe have to drive home???!!!  To “help” our economy?? Also stated was 16 and 17 year olds can drink if their parents were “around!”  Alrightythen!!

I don’t necessarily oppose having the drinking age lowered.  It’s the reasoning behind it that’s killing me.  It just somehow sounds so wrong.

What the heck is up with this kind of thinking???  If you can enlighten me, please do.

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36 Responses to Let’s lower the drinking age…..

  1. SKL says:

    Wow, that’s pretty amazing. Why don’t they just legalize prostitution in bars – that ought to bring in the customers! I can’t believe they are using youths in this way.

    I agree with you about the drinking age. It has never been a big beef for me – I don’t drink but my parents didn’t ever forbid it at home, nor do I expect to do so with my kids. So to me, I don’t care what age is “the” age. If it weren’t “forbidden” for teens to drink, they wouldn’t be so gung-ho to make drunken fools of themselves and get into trouble.

    But if I “did” believe teens should not be allowed to buy alcohol in a store, I don’t see how I’d justify “sending them into harm’s way” in a bar / restaurant just so someone could make some money. Makes you wonder what’s at stake here – bribes? Favors? Threats?

  2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic says:

    I certainly agree with you. I can’t believe the “logic” of that “reasoning”.

    I was allowed to drink at home as a teenager, and though I sometimes had too much at parties, generally was okay. There were other kids who were absolutely not allowed to drink and they really overdid it when they were out. And when her parents found out that she was allowed to drink at my house, one friend wasn’t allowed to come over any more. And she was one of the worst. Any connection?

    Quite a while ago my teenage daughter said something about drinking. She wants to drink now because when she’s 18 (in Europe it’s 18 for hard liquor), then it won’t be as fun anymore. It’s the forbidden aspect that is so attractive.

    And boy oh boy do I know some 40- and 50-year-olds who would do better without alcohol! Once they get going, they just don’t stop! It’s quite unpleasant. And even though I like some of them very much, I escape upon such occasions at the first possible opportunity. If I don’t drink at the same rate as they do, I lose touch and the humor is totally above my head — or something like that. It gets rather boring actually.

    I’m all for responsible drinking — at any age!

  3. That is disturbing. I’m all for lowering the drinking age in the US – I find it ridiculous that an 18 year old can buy a gun but can’t buy a drink – but you’re absolutely right. The reasoning given in that news reports is just plain WRONG.
    I mean, sure, you can take a taxi to and from a bar, but the question is how many teens really have THAT much money to waste on an outing? They’d probably much prefer taking the car, conveniantly filled with gas by mom or dad, and go out drinking than spend another 20 bucks on taxi rides.
    Do you think this will really pass though, Joy?

  4. Gary says:

    WTF? Lowering the drinking age doesn’t really bother me all that much but like you said, it’s the REASONING for lowering it!

    SOMEONE is getting their pocket’s filled on this decision is what I think!!!

  5. Laura (LS) says:


    This has long been a pet peeve of mine. Two, actually, since you’ve touched on two separate but related issues.

    First, the “blue” laws. When we lived in Texas, we lived in a Dry County – which meant that no one, except bars, restaurants, and I think, county registered sellers (which were places like liquor stores, but designated by the gubmint), could sell liquor. It was more of an inconvenience than anything, because you could drive 10 miles – nothing in Tx – and pick up your sixer or a bottle. Or you could just go to the bar and get your drunk on, and then go on home, drunk as a skunk and behind the wheel.

    As for lowering the drinking age, I’m kind of on the line on that one. On one hand, it gives responsible parents a back-up to their own rules. When all else fails, “it’s against the law” – especially when faced with other parents who disagree with their rules, and serve alcohol anyway, just “under the table.” My husband had a friend like this when he was growing up. His own parents were very strict about underage drinking, but his friend’s mother not only allowed it, but encouraged it. And it encouraged a lifelong problem, with tragic consequences.

    The thing that stuck out for me the most in that news bit wasn’t the ridiculous reasoning with the finances – I expect politicians to be completely ignorant about such things – it was the quote from the MADD representative:

    “In the late 1970s, 16 states lowered their drinking ages and drunken driving rates rose. By the 1980s, those states put the age back to 21 and drunken driving rates fell.”

    I find it hard to believe that it was *only* the altered drinking age that caused drunk driving rates to change. During that time, I was just becoming aware of the world around me (I was 10 in 1980), and remember a HUGE push against drugs and drunk driving. Further, her own organization, M.A.D.D., was ‘born’ in 1980, and very active and public during it’s early years. There are many factors, including heightened public awareness and ramped-up law enforcement activity that would also have played into that statistic. She would have us look at the numbers in a vacuum, when you absolutely cannot. Otherwise it gives a skewed picture. Which is exactly what she wants.

    There has to be a multi-pronged approach to underage drinking that has *nothing* to do with the budget and gov’t finances, and everything to do with personal and public responsibility. Drop the drinking age, either to 18 or altogether. But hold parents responsible for their offspring’s behavior, until they’re 18, just like everything else. Kids drunk? Parents are responsible, even if they’re at someone else’s house. They are *still* the parents, and responsible. And make the public laws prohibitive, swift, just, and enforceable.

    Parents need to step up and be parents. Introduce alcohol to children in a controlled manner, just like anything else. Kids understand from the get-go that they shouldn’t be pawing through the medicine cabinet or drinking bleach, and how do they know that? Mom and dad teach them. Alcohol should have the same introduction based on family history (if there is a history of alcoholism, there is a genetic component, they need to know and understand that).

    Drunk driving laws must be strengthened to be an absolute deterrent. You get a single DUI? License GONE for a year, minimum. You get one before you’re 18? Gone for TWO years. Don’t want that to happen? Don’t get drunk. You get your license back and you drive drunk again, or you DUI while it’s gone? License and driving privileges gone for TEN years. Hurt or kill someone while driving drunk? LONG jail time, mandatory. Too harsh? Tell that to the mother grieving over her dead child. It’s the same as parenting…. you draw the line in the sand. Kid crosses line, consequences are swift and non-negotiable.

    Bars also need to be held accountable. Yes, there are “dram laws” on the books, but often, they’re not very strong, and the public doesn’t know about them. Dram laws, in a nutshell, state that the bar/bartender can be held responsible if a person leaves the bar and drives drunk. I also know that these laws are unpopular with many. “Personal responsibility… people should be responsible for their own actions.” Yep, I totally agree. BUT… we all know that when someone gets drunk enough, suddenly s/he is ten feet tall and bulletproof. S/he can do ANYTHING!!! Invincible!!! Lampshade? Sure, it’s a hat! Married in Vegas? Let’s go!!! Drive that car? Watch me go FAST!!!

    Finally, kids themselves, with the help of their parents, need to step up and stop following peer pressure. And yes, I know how hard this is. But so many kids I talk to tell me, “yeah, I’ve been drunk, and I hated it”. And yet, they’re out there, the very next weekend, getting drunk because ‘everyone’s doing it’. We parents need to give them the tools to be able to say, “no, that’s stupid. It’s gonna make me sick. It may totally compromise my future. I’m outta here.” And walk away.

    Notice that not one single thing I said had anything at all to do with the government balancing it’s budget. Funny how that works. And that’s a rant for another day.

  6. the proposal that you mention seems so typical of government–if there’s money to be made, have at it!

    if under 21s want to drink, they’ll find away to do so, with or without help from the government. they’ve been proving that for years.

  7. SKL says:

    The other thing about this that bothers me is, people from age 18-21 are the last people whose pockets we ought to pick when the state needs more money.

  8. Sue says:

    I also agree with you about the drinking age being lowered, but this news story is something else!!!!! Young people can hardly handle their finances now, but let’s let them help the economy by spending their money on booze! Every business is hurting right now. Every one. It’s not just the auto makers or the bars. It’s everyone, but the government doesn’t want to bail out everyone, just the ones they think are the most important. I’m sorry, but this is the wrong way to do it. People can’t afford food, but they want them to spend money at the bar!!! A chimp can see that it’s not right! I’m going to stop before I give myself a heart attack…..arrrrrrrggghhhh!

  9. Tessa says:

    Wow. Thanks for the heads up on that!! I agree the reasoning behind lowering the age is not right, but I have always thought it makes more sense to not make drinking taboo as you called it. So I like the new law for them to drink only with adult supervision in bars and restaurants.

    Also, the “the can go to war, they should be able to do everything else” reasoning, I do not agree with. Adolescents’ brains, frontal lobes in particular, continue to grow up until 25 years of age. Their judgment, logic, emotions, are not fully developed yet. It makes sense then, since the brain is gradually developing over the span of about 10-12 years, to gradually introduce teens to adulthood. Giving them all privileges all at once is overwhelming. Personally, I like this new law. Teenagers, believe it or not, are drinking and experimenting when with friends.

  10. Joy says:

    Tessa, I would agree with the law if it wasn’t just out in public. Yes they do have “adult supervision” while in the bar with the “adult” bartender trying to sell them alcohol but where is the adult when the kids get drunk and are trying to get home? I would feel much safer if they were experimenting at home and safe and not having to drive. I’m also not saying that drinking is safe anywhere but like has been stated by many above, all kids are going to experiment with it so I hate the thought they have to get home from somewhere.

    Laura said it best: “Personal responsibility… people should be responsible for their own actions.” Yep, I totally agree. BUT… we all know that when someone gets drunk enough, suddenly s/he is ten feet tall and bulletproof. S/he can do ANYTHING!!! Invincible!!! Lampshade? Sure, it’s a hat! Married in Vegas? Let’s go!!! Drive that car? Watch me go FAST!”

  11. Just a Mom says:

    I think the reasoning behind this is money, money, money. It is their way of gaining more money from the sin tax since they shot themselves in the foot with the smokers. They raised the sin tax so much on cigarettes that many people quit smoking them which in turn resulted in a loss for the government. What better way to replace that money than by lowering the drinking age even if it is just in the bars?

  12. mssc54 says:

    My Mrs. just attended some classes last week and learned that the male brain is not fully developed until the age of twenty-five.

    I wonder when the drinking age was established?

  13. Joy says:

    I wasn’t going to write about this but JAM brought up the smoking. First, all of us smokers are really bad people. We’ve been taught our place is to stay home. We aren’t allowed to smoke anywhere anymore. That’s okay with me, I’ll stay home then. But now as more “things” are needed, lets make the smokers pay. Isn’t this bill of Obama’s a great thing: “Obama Signs Children’s Health Coverage Bill. Guess who’s gonna pay for it???”

    Read here:


    They need our money and they need us to smoke so why do they keep making us feel like lepers? We have to pay for sports stadiums and any other time someone needs money for something, lets tax the smokers or the “drinkers.” Now we are having to pay for this: “The bill calls for spending an additional $32.8 billion on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, which now enrolls an estimated 7 million children. Lawmakers generated that revenue by raising the federal tobacco tax.”

    “Federal money for the program was set to expire March 31, barring action by Congress. To cover the increase in spending, the bill would boost the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes by 62 cents, to $1.01 a pack.”

    So now without us, they are targeting kids? This is beyond low. Part of the original news program stated since the “smoking ban,” business’s in the bars and restaurants have crashed! What the hell do they want us to do?? We can’t have a beer and a cigarette while bowling anymore so we just don’t bowl anymore and people are scratching their heads thinking I wonder what’s wrong??!!??!

  14. Laura (LS) says:

    I wonder, truly, how much a pack of cigarettes would be without all the taxes?

    ‘course, I wonder the same thing about a gallon of gas, food, etc, etc…

    I have an idea… Let’s LOWER THE TAXES!!!!!!! Let’s STOP giving stuff to EVERYBODY and let them provide for themselves!!!

    Oh, wait. That makes sense.


    … going back to my corner to rock and moan and babble to myself. pay no attention when I shoot crazy woman looks at you…

  15. Joy says:

    Laura for president!!!!! Oh, your right, it would make to much sense. Let’s just keep giving people everything. I have a feeling it’s going to be a L-O-N-G four years. If the past week means anything that is!

  16. SKL says:

    The more I think about this the madder I get. The lawmakers are rubbing their hands together and laughing with sinister glee, because the young people are going to think the law is a huge favor to them! The more power we give to government, the scarier our society becomes.

    Don’t even get me started on Stimulus III – $75B for mortgage bailouts – 9 million homeowners – did you know there are only 52 million homeowners in this country, and now you’re telling me that more than 1 in 6 is gonna get kicked out of their homes? Wait a minute – I don’t recall the unemployment rate recently increasing by 17% (from 5% to 22%). You gonna tell me the rate of unemployment among homeowners is 22%? What about the fact that lots of homes are paid off? How many troubled mortgages are really out there, and more importantly, how many of them ought to be paid of by ME?? If you read a bit, you find they are talking about including every homeowner whose mortgage is high compared to the current (deflated) value of their house – without regard to whether their means of paying has changed at all! What the heck is this? $75B is $8,000 PER HOUSE if you’re talking about 9M houses, and I don’t see how they get to 9M houses. I wish the media would question things a little. I know they are able, because they did it nonstop while Bush was president.

    But yeah, smokers, they are causing all of our problems – make ’em pay. Did you know Obama is a supposedly reformed smoker? Hmm.

  17. SKL says:

    Sorry, I seem to have been unable to prevent that political rant from escaping. Apparently I need to go hibernate for about 3.5 years.

  18. nikki says:

    Well now that I actually have time to sit down and comment, I’m now #16.
    Why would we repeal or weaken laws that save lives??
    Our country is in some serious need of money so lets hike up cigarette tax, which in turn caused a major slope in sales in the bar and restaurant industries. So now this is our plan, lets get those young kids who are dying to drink legally and put em in a bar to drink as they wish. So what if this will raise the death rate with drinking and driving?? I assure you all…this WILL happen!!

    I can guarantee you if the legal age to drink in a bar was 18 when I was 18…well I’m not too sure I’d be sitting here today! We still did it but we were in a house safe, not in a bar with random people.

    I think lowering the drinking age will only shift the problem back down to the high schools. This will solve nothing and at our kids expense!

    I had a very long comment ready to go and I deleted it. Put it short and sweet…the decisions that the president is making will have a lasting affect on our economy, our children will be paying for this. This won’t be a positive outcome, for the people who are really in need.

  19. nikki says:

    Can I hibernate with you SKL!?

  20. Laura (LS) says:

    ** coming out of my corner with another crazy-woman radical idea ***

    Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if MADD, SADD and whomever else, got all the teenagers together, really fired up, and they boycotted? They wouldn’t be hurting the restaurant/bar scene, because they can’t go in there now. But if the stupid politicians lowered the age simply to prey on the Teens, and the Teens said, “NO WAY!!! You’re not balancing this budget on MY back” maybe it would wake the politicians… oh wait. They’re not asleep. they’re just stupid.

    … back to my corner…

  21. nikki says:

    LMFAO!!! Laura I’m SOOOOOO with you and should probably find a corner myself!!!!!!

  22. nikki says:

    Oh and I should correct my first comment….the tax hike didn’t cause bars to decline in sales it was the Governments stupid ideas…but I guess there is no real difference!

  23. SKL says:

    We can all hibernate together.

    But what I’d really like to know is, what should I be preparing my daughters for? I mean, the way they are working to bring down everyone who has reaped the rewards of extended hard work, do I want that for my kids? If I teach them well, will I be setting them up to be interrogated by Congress about how they could be so arrogant as to fly in a corporate jet?

    Scary – that’s what China did during some of their cleansing eras – demote all the intellectuals to cleaning up buffalo dung. Just how far will this trend go in our country?

  24. javajunkee says:

    if you want logic…america is NOT the place to find it. This is insane.

    I say let’s legalize pot and skip lowering the drinking age! I got a whole lot of ways to make america money with pot! GO POT!

  25. Doraz says:

    When I first read this, I have to be honest and say I did not hear anything about this…I do not watch the news or read the paper! I had not had a chance to read up on this. All I have to say is basically not political, but rather personal. I believe if parents do their “job” and educate their children in “all” aspects of life, the children will be educated and mature enough to make the right choices. Just because something is made easier, it does not mean that “all” children will follow in that direction. I believe that the mutual trust needs to be established early with your children so later on in life, you do not get those “gray” hairs, too quickly! Just my opinion. Thanks, Joy!

  26. Tessa says:

    Joy, the adults watching when they leave to drive drunk is the COPS!! :() And we got to trust in our parenting. And trust there are older people around who are good people looking out for fellow citizens.

  27. Joy says:

    If only the cops where at every bar checking every person who left. Then nobody would ever be killed by a drunk driver or be killed themselves and nobody would ever get a DUI. Then there would be no problems with drinking and driving. But sadly, there aren’t enough cops and that’s not realistic. We have two cops in our town and there are way more than 2 people leaving and going into the bars at any given time. The older people around in bars who are “watching” our kids drink are drinking too. Big help that would be. That’s like the blind leading the blind.

    Do/did you trust your mom’s parenting? So you never drank when you shouldn’t have? That goes only so far when our kids are out on their own. If all kids did what their parents said, wouldn’t the world be a warm and fuzzy place?

  28. nikki says:

    Yes that does only go so far. It is illegal, here anyway, for a cop to sit outside a bar and watch someone pull out and pull them over. They all have their “spots” where they can by law sit and wait but it’s away from any bar. Crazy huh?

  29. SKL says:

    Wow, Nikki, that makes no sense at all that cops aren’t allowed to pull over drunks driving away from the bar!! Where is the logic in that?

  30. nikki says:

    I ask myself that all the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Joy says:

    The thing also is, how can we ask that of cops? Nobody seems to be able to curb drinking and driving. The penalties aren’t harsh enough. How is it fair to them that this huge problem would drop into their lap with 18, 19 and 20 year olds added on top of something that is already out of control? If the cops could “fix” it and see to it everyone gets home safe, wouldn’t you think they would have done that by now? It’s impossible. I feel it should not be put to them to pay for the stupid mistakes the governments make when “declaring” all these new laws like “lets ban smoking!” That was the number 1 reason for this. A mistake on their part trying to tell us how to live our lives.

  32. nikki says:

    You’re absolutely right! I still think it’s nonsense! It shouldn’t fall to the cops and it would make more problems for them. They have enough to worry about, but that “law” is still ridicules!

  33. Perry says:

    An intersting take since people will get the booze no matter what the age level is. The more aware people are towrds booze the less chance yyou have of going overboard. Keeping things even and consistent with all ages for voting, the military and booze should be consistent. You either are of age for everything or you are not. It needs to be the same everywhere for everything

  34. niclake13 says:

    I actually wrote a paper on this back in college… took quite a bit of research, actually.

    The general thesis of my paper was that if suddenly drinking were legal, you’d see a decline in “issues” with alcohol across college campuses. The reason being is that since it’s no longer illegal, it becomes less of a thrill for underage students, and therefore the abuse of it would decline.

    Back when I started college, I started dating an athlete at a nearby university. Obviously with a team around you, you’re gonna have students over the age of 21, and they partied quite a bit. I turned 21 myself after a period of time in this environment, and personally I felt the urge/desire to drink decrease rapidly. Suddenly I wasn’t so keyed on thinking about drinking that upcoming weekend, seeing as I could now get my own booze anytime I wanted.

    I know there’s pros and cons to this story. Since there is this mixture of both, I don’t honestly see a nationwide lowering of the age requirement anytime soon.


  35. They may be talking about going to local bars or bars on college campuses, where they won’t be driving drunk because it would be close enough to walk.

    Young people don’t choose dangerous environments. They just don’t have a choice. If they did have a choice, they’d love to have a chaperone at their parties to keep everyone safe. Because of the drinking age, they have to learn about drinking all on their own, and they often have peers pressuring them to drink more.

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