Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lowering the drinking age in MA

The Amethyst proposal is one written by 100 college presidents opening up the discussion about lowering the drinking age to 18. The research in the field is very clear. An overwhelming number of research studies focus on the inability of the adolescent body to handle alcohol. In addition, the young person who consumes any alcohol is unable to make clear decisions. The combination of neuro-biological inability to process the drug and emotional immaturity will surely be a contributing factor to accidents and even death.


AJ Gerritson said...

Dr. Alicen,

I am glad you took a scientific approach to this old debate. How do you feel about the position that our government trusts these young men and women to fight in the armed services at the age of 18
and considers them legally responsible for their actions in the court of law, but not able to to purchase alcohol?

Dr. Alicen said...

Dear AJ,
I am delighted to read your comment. This is a discussion point we looked at in the 1970's when the drinking age was lowered to 18. It is provocative one. The difference in the discussion is the added factor of impairment in the brain when substances are added to the body of a young person.
An 18-yr-old can be trained to do most anything, hold a gun, shoot on command and even drink responsibly. But once a substance is consumed (usually in excess of three drinks in the adult), the decision-making ability is impaired. Teens would have to drink even less than an adult because their bodies are not able to process alcohol in the same way as an adult. Combine that with the high-risk, impulsive behaviors of younger adolescents and the number of teens driving after drinking will increase. Nationally, statistics for auto accidents shows that teens are the highest contributing group - without alcohol. In the 1970's, the combination was lethal. Thanks for writing! Dr. Alicen

sasha said...

Dr. Alicen,

Do you think the 18-20 year olds will drink more or less than they do now as a result of the decision?

Sincerely, Sasha

Dr. Alicen said...

Dear Sasha,
The issue will be demonstrated in a 'trickle down' effect. Over the past ten years the age of first drink has moved on average, from 12years old to 10 years. Younger people always want to emulate those a little older. 18 and 19 year-olds ask 21 year-olds to purchase liquor for them. If 18-year-olds are legal then the 15 and 16-year olds will want to have liquor. Their bodies and their brains are not equipped to handle alcohol neurobiologically. This is also the time when risk-taking is encouraged. We will most likely have more teens getting behind the wheel when impaired. Thanks for the comment!

lindsay said...

Hey dr.
way to not answer Sasha's question and totally just change the topic to purchasing alcohol.

I can tell that you are very knowledgeable in your field, SO YOU OBVIOUSLY MUST HAVE JUST BEEN CONFUSED ABOUT THE QUESTION, RIGHT? so i,ll ask you again

Do you think 18 to 20 year old will drinkmore or less now that the decision was made?

Sincerly, questioning your authority.

lily said...

hi dr alicen, its lily.. just needed to talk to you in private. let me know if this is possible thanks. miss hearing from you...