Should New Hampshire lower the drinking age?
By: LFDA Editor
Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, which imposed a 10 percent reduction in federal highway funds on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21.
All 50 states abide by the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. However, New Hampshire has considered lowering the drinking age as recently as 2009.
According to the Amethyst Initiative, a national coalition of college presidents in favor of lowering the drinking age:
- Twenty-one is not working
- A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”—often conducted off-campus—has developed.
- Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.
- Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.
Arguments against lowering the drinking age include:
- Brain development continues through the age of 21, and may be disrupted by alcohol consumption.
- Some studies have found an association between higher drinking age and lower rates of traffic accidents.
- If 18 year-olds are allowed to buy alcohol, they will become suppliers for even younger adolescents.
- State laws often restrict other activities to adults over 21, including casino gambling, purchasing a handgun, adopting a child, and renting a car.
For addition pros and cons on raising the drinking age, check out this report compiled by a state government class at UNH.
Rep. J.R. Hoell
(D-Dunbarton) has requested a 2014 bill to lower the the fines for underage possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Do you think the state should lower the drinking age?