License to drink? College presidents think legal drinking age should go lower


Remember how seriously you took the test to get your driver's license? What if the same hoops and hurdles to putting 16-year-olds behind the wheel was applied to letting 18-year-olds drink alcohol? This is the solution to the abysmal failure of the 21-and-over drinking law discussed on CBS's 60 Minutes.

According to the segment, more than 100 college presidents, "including the heads of Dartmouth, Virginia Tech and Duke - signed a declaration stating that the 21-year-old drinking age is not working."

They argue the current drinking law pushes drinking underground, where alcohol abuse, in the form of binge drinking games, is rampant. (Maybe if they were allowed to go into bars they'd be socialized to drink moderately). One of the solutions is to lower the drinking age to 18, in the hopes that young people will lay off the binge drinking, which will no longer be criminalized, and learn the responsibility of drinking like they do driving.

Former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, John McCardell, told 60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl he wants to lower the drinking age to 18 and have "mandatory classes in high school that would include the chemistry of alcohol, the physical consequences of abuse, and sitting in on AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) sessions. Passing an exam would result in a license to drink."

A license to drink? I thought about this one for a while. My first reaction was: brilliant. Makes perfect sense. I sweated over getting my driver's license and have never, knock on wood, gotten into an accident. If being able to get into the bars meant passing a test, and my social life is on the line, I would pass with flying colors. Those classes would stay with me, and make me least likely to try to break any records on a kegstand--(see picture).