I recently had a conversation with the father of a college age female. Through the course of our conversation, which turned to college drinking, he noted that he had attempted to “teach” his daughter to drink before she matriculated as a college freshman. While we’re not condoning a behavior that’s illegal in many states (serving to minors), he raised a relevant point about sending young men and women to college. Although he offered his daughter mild alcohol beverages, she seemed disinterested in consuming alcohol. However, he glibly noted that she probably “learned to drink” from her friends when she arrived at college.

College is, for me, a thing of the not too distant past, and I recall vividly the “peer” education that occurred during that first semester. With high school comfortably behind them, the playing field was, in a strange way, leveled for all students–high school drinkers and non-drinkers were suddenly socializing in the same space. But the social setting looked nothing like that which had been left at home. There was no risk of someone’s parents busting a party, a beer was never too far out of reach, and drinking practices like “tequila circles” (where a handle is passed around and everyone takes a pull) pervaded the campuses my friends and I inhabited.

Whether or not students drank in high school was really irrelevant as college really was a whole different animal. And problems began to present themselves when students inexperienced with most aspects of living away from home began “teaching” their friends how to drink. It was an initiation of sorts, but an initiation by an equally inexperienced initiator. It seems strange, when I consider it, that a parent might spend more time teaching their son or daughter how to do laundry than they do how to drink. Unfortunately, parents are disenfranchised from showing their children how to experience alcohol safely and responsibly. It is not impossible to ruin a load of laundry, but it’s (obviously) incomparable to the dangers that can follow irresponsible alcohol consumption.

[CR]’s proposal supports a drinking license, and it supports parents. Take a moment to read the proposal (found here) and let us know what you think.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Ajax the Great Says:

    In other words, the blind leading the blind. And both fall into a ditch–sometimes quite literally in fact. (No offense intended for the visually impaired of course)

    However, I respectfully disagree with the drinking license idea, and think it should be jettisoned, for several reasons:

    1) It has become a lightning rod for criticism from both sides, especially the pro-21 groups like MADD and GHSA.

    2) It makes us look quixotic.

    3) It makes us look ambivalent about lowering the drinking age and about whether 18-20 year olds can be trusted with alcohol.

    4) It adds unnecessary complexity to the issue.

    5) It would be a bureaucratic nightmare to actually enforce.

    6) Other countries with a drinking age of 18 (or lower) don’t have a drinking license rule, and the sky has not fallen. In fact, many of those countries have fewer problems with alcohol than the USA.

    7) But most importantly, since it applies only to 18-20 year olds and not those over 21, it is just as ageist as the current 21 drinking age.

    In contrast, my proposal for Twenty-One Debunked would allow 18-20 year olds the same drinking rights as people over 21 currently enjoy, with the following safeguards:

    1) The age limit for the zero tolerance law for DUI will remain as it is now, at 21. That should alleviate any fears of increased DUI among 18-20 year olds.

    2) The purchase age for kegs, cases, and other large bulk quantities of alcohol will remain at 21 (or at least be no lower than 20). That should alleviate any fear of increased high school keggers.

    3) DUI laws would be tightened for all ages and enforcement would be significantly increased.

    4) Any person of ANY age who is convicted of DUI, drunk violence, drunk vandalism, furnishing to minors under 18, or repeated drunk and disorderly conduct would be blacklisted and banned from purchasing alcohol (or even entering a bar) for a year or until they turn 21, whatever is longer. And their ID would have to read “Do not serve alcohol under penalty of law” in big red letters. In addition, problem drinkers can also have themselves voluntarily added to the blacklist for a period of time, much like problem gamblers are currently allowed to do.

    5) Alcohol education would be increased for all students at all levels. (It needs to start a lot earlier than 18)

    6) In addition, the alcohol taxes should be raised and equalized to the inflation-adjusted 1991 spirits level ($21 per proof-gallon) for all alcoholic beverages, proportional to alcohol content.

    Do all or even some of these things and there will really be no need to have a drinking license.

    Let America be America again, and lower the drinking age to 18. If you’re old enough to go to war, you’re old enough to go to the bar. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Edwin Bonilla Says:

    Learning to drink from other college students is a likely approach for young women and young men to binge drink. I think that parents should teach their daughter or son how to drink even if it is illegal so I commend the father. To avoid, the drinking age should be lowered to 18 and monitored. If the drinking age was 18, university adminitrators could significantly discourage students from binge drinking. There would also be penalties that could be better enforced.