The well-known phrase “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear” isn’t necessarily accurate.
Recent studies show that students under the age of 21 often rely on hard liquor to get drunk and are more likely to participate in binge drinking. These behaviors can lead to harmful health effects, thus raising the debate of a lowered drinking age.
In 2005, a study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 85 percent of 20-year-old Americans reported that they consumed alcohol. In addition, two out of five said they had binged – consumed five or more drinks in a two-hour time frame – within the previous month.
Danna Bodenheimer, educational coordinator for Temple’s Campus Alcohol and Substance Awareness program, explained that experience with alcohol consumption helps students mature.
“Alcohol usage will level out and lessen in intensity with experience and age,” Bodenheimer said. “We find that sophomores drink less than freshmen, juniors less than sophomores and seniors less than juniors. It seems that experience, sometimes bad, helps students create a judgment system that protects them over time.”
Many Temple students can relate to the current debate and feel that a lowered lor Franco said.
“It’s easier to get and leaves you drunk longer. The drinking age should be lowered because it would eliminate a lot of the temptation surrounding alcohol. When you know that you can do something at anytime, you won’t overindulge as much.”
Freshman pre-pharmacy major Katie Battista agreed and pointed to Europe and Canada as prime examples of how a lower drinking age can be effective.
“I have watched many underage peers suffer negative and sometimes deadly consequences from their binge drinking,” Battista said. “If we made the legal drinking age 18 and taught healthier attitudes about drinking, we would have less binging and the health problems that come with it.”
Senior kinesiology major Lee Kronmiller agreed that a lowered drinking age might cut back slightly on binge drinking.
“I think it would only change where students drank,” Kronmiller said. “For example, instead of basements of frats, it would be in bars. I don’t think it would make a very big difference at Temple because too many irresponsible people go here anyway, and they can’t control themselves if they are 18 or 21.”
Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charles Leone said no positive outcome would result from lowering the drinking age.
“A lowered drinking age would make things worse at Temple,” Leone said. “The majority of destructive behaviors are direct results of alcohol consumption. Fighting, disorderly conduct, sexual assault and even worse case scenarios such as suicide are all often associated with drinking. A lowered drinking age would have a direct impact on increasing these behaviors.”
Bodenheimer summed up the debate by reasoning that whether or not the drinking age is lowered, the key to the dilemma at hand is education. With organizations like CASA on campus, students can inform themselves on what exactly defines a “binge” and the consequences of binge drinking, she said.
“It is with information like this,” Bodenheimer said, “that students can start to make better informed and educated
Rachel Knorr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.