Wednesday 23 July, 2014

Lowering the drinking age won’t curb college binge drinking: Study

Published On: Sat, Dec 11th, 2010 | Addiction | By BioNews

A new study has challenged the theory that lowering the minimum legal drinking age would help curb binge drinking on campuses.

Richard A. Scribner, of the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, one of the researchers on the new study, and colleagues used a mathematical model to estimate the effects that a lower drinking age would have on college binge drinking.

The model, developed based on survey data from students at 32 U.S. colleges, aimed to evaluate the “misperception effect” emphasized by the Amethyst Initiative – that is, the idea that underage students widely perceive “normal” drinking levels to be higher than they actually are

The researchers concluded that the campuses that were most likely to see a decline in binge drinking from a lowered legal drinking age were those that had the poorest enforcement of underage drinking laws – being surrounded, for instance, by bars that do not check identification – and a significant level of student misperception of ‘normal’ drinking.

If misperception levels were not present or were at the levels shown by the survey data, these campuses would likely see more binge-drinking if the legal age were lowered.

On ‘drier’ campuses, the study found, student misperceptions would have to be even greater.

“The higher the level of enforcement of underage drinking laws, the higher the level of misperception would have to be for the Amethyst Initiative to have any hope of being effective,” explained lead researcher Jawaid W. Rasul, of BioMedware Corporation.

And without data supporting the existence of such high levels of student misperception, Rasul said, lowering the legal drinking age would be unlikely to curb college binge drinking.

The study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. (ANI)

Reference:
Heavy Episodic Drinking on College Campuses: Does Changing the Legal Drinking Age Make a Difference?
Jawaid W. Rasul, Robert G. Rommel, Geoffrey M. Jacquez, Ben G. Fitzpatrick, Azmy S. Ackleh, Neal Simonsen, Richard A. Scribner
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs., January 2011: Volume 72, Number 1

Displaying 6 Comments
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  1. John says:

    Yes, do a mathematical model and ignore experience. Ignore the fact that in other countries where the drinking age is lower, (France, Italy, Germany etc.), binge drinking (not other alcohol related problems) is not as common. This study sounds like a doctor saying "according to my model, the patience is alive.. while attending the funeral"

  2. Gino says:

    Only reason it works in those countries is the culture there. Here they sell sex and alcohol as a cool thing, and our culture dictates it as a bad thing. So of course there will always be a debate.

  3. Will says:

    The patience is alive!!!

  4. Benny says:

    John, I agree with you to an extent.

    However I think this study is useful to challenge perceptions and more specifically reflect the true root of responsible drinking – the culture. Some campuses in the US have a culture of binge drinking and changing the drinking age will not create a change immediately. It will take time for the effect to grow and develop. Culture outside of colleges and universities will play a role as well.

    These effects are less quantifiable and this study leads us to consider those things rather than use the lowering of drinking age as the silver bullet to solve the issues on college campuses.

  5. Stan says:

    The younger you start drinking the more likely you'll have a lifetime problem compared with the general population. If anything the legal drinking age should be raised to 25. I also doubt very much that countries with lower drinking ages have less of a binge drinking problem than the US.

    Could I hazard a guess that the only people that think the drinking age should be lowered are naive children?

  6. Jack says:

    That's why pot should be legal. You wouldn't have kids with addiction problems after they get out of school. Plus they'd be less likely to try hard drugs if pot was legal. But the USA is run by a criminal oligarchy and the citizens are fat and lazy.

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