Majority support for higher drinking age

The majority of respondents to this week’s webpoll question agreed with a call from the Opportunities Party to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 20.

The legal purchase age for alcohol was lowered from 20 to 18 in 1999.

“Until we find some way of persuading young people to treat alcohol with respect then they need to be protected from themselves,” said one person who was in favour of the proposed change.

“Adults find it pretty difficult to drink in moderation, so how can we expect youth to do so?”

Brain development was cited as a reason by two of the 63 percent (221 out of 353 respondents) who voted to raise the legal drinking age back to 20.

“At 18 their brain development is still maturing, so at 20 this allows for maturity to catch up to a more even playing field with respect.”

“Nothing good has come out of lowering the age, other than alcohol companies making a larger profit,” said another respondent.

One person saw a middle ground.

“Yes, but happy for this to apply only to off-licence sales. Allowing drinking on licensed premises provides a safety valve for those who want to drink, in a supervised environment with adults around to model sensible drinking behaviour.”

Which obviously raises the further question of what to do about adults who model drunken, senseless behaviour.

Among the 34 percent (119) who did not agree with the proposal to lower the legal drinking age were those who said the issue was around sensible, responsible alcohol consumption.

“It’s not the age, it’s the attitude that’s the problem!”

One respondent said more education was needed on binge drinking, while another rolled out the perennial argument that if a person is allowed to vote and fight for their country, he or she is entitled to a drink.

“Because people are legally allowed to drink at the age of 16, but under parental supervision, they know how to drink alcohol properly,” said one person in the no camp.

“What’s the point in that law if it’s going to be raised to the age of 20?”

Three percent, or 13 of the 353 respondents, said they didn’t know whether they agreed or disagreed.

The majority of respondents to this week’s webpoll question agreed with a call from the Opportunities Party to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 20.

The legal purchase age for alcohol was lowered from 20 to 18 in 1999.

“Until we find some way of persuading young people to treat alcohol with respect then they need to be protected from themselves,” said one person who was in favour of the proposed change.

“Adults find it pretty difficult to drink in moderation, so how can we expect youth to do so?”

Brain development was cited as a reason by two of the 63 percent (221 out of 353 respondents) who voted to raise the legal drinking age back to 20.

“At 18 their brain development is still maturing, so at 20 this allows for maturity to catch up to a more even playing field with respect.”

“Nothing good has come out of lowering the age, other than alcohol companies making a larger profit,” said another respondent.

One person saw a middle ground.

“Yes, but happy for this to apply only to off-licence sales. Allowing drinking on licensed premises provides a safety valve for those who want to drink, in a supervised environment with adults around to model sensible drinking behaviour.”

Which obviously raises the further question of what to do about adults who model drunken, senseless behaviour.

Among the 34 percent (119) who did not agree with the proposal to lower the legal drinking age were those who said the issue was around sensible, responsible alcohol consumption.

“It’s not the age, it’s the attitude that’s the problem!”

One respondent said more education was needed on binge drinking, while another rolled out the perennial argument that if a person is allowed to vote and fight for their country, he or she is entitled to a drink.

“Because people are legally allowed to drink at the age of 16, but under parental supervision, they know how to drink alcohol properly,” said one person in the no camp.

“What’s the point in that law if it’s going to be raised to the age of 20?”

Three percent, or 13 of the 353 respondents, said they didn’t know whether they agreed or disagreed.

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