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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

January 22, 2010

FORMER COLLEGE PRESIDENT PUSHES FOR 18 YEAR OLD DRINKING LIMIT

Boston Globe - Appealing to Vermont's independent streak, the former president of Middlebury College said Thursday the state is an ideal place to try returning the legal drinking age to 18.

John McCardell, who also founded the nonprofit Choose Responsibility, told lawmakers at a state house hearing that a federal law that withholds highway funding from states that don't abide by a drinking age minimum of 21 has stifled debate on a worthy idea. . . .

Vermont lawmakers are considering a pair of bills -- one to push the drinking age to 18, the other to ask the state's congressional delegation to urge Congress to authorize waivers to states and not punish them by withholding funding.

Under the current law, states that don't maintain the 21-year-old minimum risk losing 10 percent of their annual federal transportation funding. In Vermont, that works out to about $17.5 million, according to John Zicconi, a spokesman for the Vermont Agency of Transportation

McCardell argues that the higher age encourages unsafe drinking by driving young people into locked dorm rooms, off-campus apartments and farm fields to do their consuming.

"We can either try to change the reality, which has been our attempt since 1984, and which, as is always the case in times of prohibition, has simply failed. Or we can, through enlightened public policy, create the safest possible environment for the reality," he told a legislative committee.

MORE EVIDENCE THAT THE 21 YEAR OLD DRINKING LIMIT DOESN'T WORK

UPI, 2009 - Eighteen U.S. campuses that reported binge heavy drinking in 1993, showed little change more than a dozen years later, U.S. researchers found. Lead researcher Toben F. Nelson, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said in 1993, 58 percent of students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks; in 2005, 56 percent said the same. For the purposes of this study, binge drinking was defined as at least four or five drinks in a row. The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found 28 percent of students in 1993 said they frequently binged on alcohol, while 32 percent of students said they binged on alcohol in 2005. . . Nelson's team found 88.5 percent of the students reported any drinking in 1993, while 86 percent reported any drinking in 2005. In 1993, 37 percent of students said they had driven after drinking, and in 2005, the figure was the same, the study said

15 REASONS WHY THE DRINKING AGE SHOULD BE 18

DRINKING AGES IN SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Albania No minimum age
Austria 14
Denmark No minimum drinking age
Finland No minimum drinking age
France 16 (beer, wine
Germany 16 (beer, wine
Hungary No minimum age
Italy 16
Poland No minimum drinking age
Portugal 16
Romania No minimum drinking age
Russia No minimum drinking age
Spain 16
Switzerland 16
United Kingdom 5 (on private property with parental consent)


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