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Views from across Tennessee

Views from across Tennessee

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 10:45 pm
By: AP

The Jackson Sun; Aug. 24 This week’s move by more than 100 college and university presidents urging state and federal lawmakers to lower the drinking age was a mistake, and perhaps even a selfish move. It should be strongly opposed. The presidents say they are facing significant drinking problems at their schools, including dangerous binge drinking. They say lowering the drinking age would afford them more tools to manage the problem. To begin with, this approach begs the question of why the schools can’t be more aggressive in managing the problem with the age set at 21. Since everyone knows that illegal drinking is going on, why not start a vigorous campaign to address it? You don’t have to lower the legal drinking age to be a strong advocate for responsible alcohol consumption. A more sinister aspect of what the school leaders are proposing is that it would pass the alcohol problem down to high schools. Imagine the prospect of many 18-year-old high school seniors being able to legally buy alcohol. It is a scary thought. Statistics overwhelmingly show that drunken driving deaths fell sharply following the 1984 federal law that forced states to raise their drinking age to 21. Mothers Against Drunk Driving say the statistics show more than 25,000 lives have been saved because of the higher age. We hate to be cynical, but we can’t help wonder whether part of the lower-age movement by colleges might have an economic angle. Lowering the drinking age to 18 could open the door to selling beer at major college sporting events. Imagine the economic impact of 104,000 excited University of Tennessee fans being able to buy a beer at Neyland Stadium. Unlike other potentially dangerous “adult” activities such as sex or smoking tobacco, alcohol is a consciousness-altering drug. Alcohol impairs judgment, slows reflexes, lowers inhibitions, is a depressant, and too much of it is poisonous and can kill the user. It’s just not something that needs to be legally in the hands of people younger than age 21. College and university presidents should be smart enough to find an effective way to manage campus drinking, other than to lower the legal age and drag a lot of non-college students into the picture. ——— On the Net: http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pecs.dll/article?AID/20080824/OPINIO N01/8082 40308/1014/OPINION Published in The Messenger 8.29.08

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