In the United States today, the unsupervised, uninformed, and often abusive use of alcohol by our nation’s youth has reached a crisis stage, and poses substantial public health, civic and ethical challenges for our entire nation. We think it’s time to do something about it.
Where do we start? Reconsidering the drinking age…

The prevalence of today’s dangerous drinking practices among many young people demands the nation’s attention and requires a fresh response to the rules regulating alcohol consumption. Out of concern for the well-being of young American adults, we embrace this need for change and offer a unique approach to this national problem. Young adults who choose to drive must be properly taught; so, too, must those who choose to drink. We call for a strategic reform of the laws governing alcoholic beverages. The reform would permit the lowering of the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 when coupled with a comprehensive program for young adults that requires education and licensing, offers personal incentives for adherence, and enforces responsible and ethical adult behavior among all those—regardless of age—who make choices about drinking.

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