Tuesday, 24 April 2007

VOTE: Should the legal drinking age be raised to 21?



The UK has one of the worst problems in Europe with a fifth of children aged 11 to 15 drinking at least once a week.
The Public Policy Research (PPR), the journal of the IPPR think-tank, says it is time to practice "tough love", such as reviewing the minimum drinking age. Others say Britain should consider making the legal drinking age 21.

Jasper Gerard, a columnist in the PPR says: "When it comes to booze, society seems to have lost its senses." If the drinking age is raised he believes: "It is at least possible that those in their early and mid teens will not see drink as something they will soon be allowed to do so therefore they might as well start doing it surreptitiously now."

Mr Gerard has also proposed that if the drinking age is not raised, then 18-year-olds should carry smart cards to record how much they have drunk each night, with a legal limit of three units of alcohol.

A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said: "There is a sense that the regulatory landscape is lopsided. Licensing reform, resistance to a debate on taxation, the cancellation of the Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaigns which raised the profile of underage drinking issues - all happening at a time when alcohol-related harm is rising - seem to suggest the government is more concerned about making sure the drinks industry operates with as little interference as possible than with seriously grasping the nettle."

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, said: "What we really need to do is change the drinking culture through education rather than making drinking a social taboo by raising the legal drinking age."

A government spokesman said: "The majority of people drink sensibly and responsibly and the government has no plans to raise the minimum drinking age. Instead, we are using a combination of effective education and tough enforcement to change the behaviour of the minority that don't."

The number of under-18s taken to hospital with alcohol related diseases and injuries rose in 2005-2006 to 8,299, a jump of 40% on figures three years ago. Alcohol Concern found in 2005 that more than one in five 11-year-olds admitted to drinking. By the age of 12, drinkers start to outnumber non-drinkers.

Q. Should the legal drinking age be raised to 21?

Click: HERE to view the results.

(The results are archived by the British Library)

30 comments:

Karen Street said...

I’m not sure whether raising the legal drinking age to 21 will have much effect. Most of the larger retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco now already have a strict policy of not selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, so strict in fact that at the age of nearly 30, I am still frequently asked for ID when purchasing alcohol. I think the problem still lies with the fact that many underage drinkers simply ask their older friends or even parents in some cases to purchase alcohol for them. In my opinion it’s not the age limit that’s a problem it’s the whole culture that it’s acceptable to go out and drink huge amounts over the course of an evening. I also think that Television programs that highlight young people binge drinking to the excess only serve to highlight the problem further by making them into heroes who have appeared on TV.

Chip Dale said...

I would say 31. It would solve so many problems...

Anonymous said...

No way. I think 18 is old enough as it is. The government should take a backseat and lay off needless laws. If anything, illegal drugs should be their main concern.

Put an end to this "Big Brother" society. It is up to the idividual whether or not they wish to take the risk of drinking alcohol because at the end of the day, it is their own health at stake.

How can you possibly be allowed to get married at 16, yet not allowed to drink until you're 21! It is ridiculous. No way can a twenty one year old be told what they can and can;t do regarding alcohol and their health.

If the main concern is underage youths drinking in the street and causing trouble is the problem then this should be tackled as a seperate issue and the responsble citizens of this country should not be penalised.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the larger retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco now already have a strict policy of not selling alcohol to anyone under the age of 21"

'Think 21', they still sell alcohol to those 18 years or older, but ask ID for those under 21 in order to protect the cashier.

As has been said, if you are apparently adult enough to make the decision of marriage at 16, then how dare anybody tell a 21 year old whether they are allowed to drink or not. The government needs to stop creating blanket laws that effect the responsible individuals more adversely than the irrisponsible minority in the country.

Anonymous said...

I sit here wondering... if there is a big problem with drinking between the ages of 10 and 15, what genius figured out that by raising the drinking age to 21, that will suddenly stop?

If it's already illegal to drink under the age of 18, how does raising the limit to 21 correct the situation with pre-teen and early teen drinking?

All this change will do is criminalize a whole new age of people. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Raising the drinking age to 21 is ridiculous and won't solve anything.
Ok, I'm going to be slightly biased seeing as I'm nearly 18 and cannot wait to be able to drink legally but I have been drinking for a couple of years and raising the age would not stop me drinking, it would just stop me being able to go out and socialise which is what angers me the most to be honest.
If the government is thinking of raising the drinking age to 21 does that mean that you would have to be 21 to go into a club or a bar? If so then this is unfair because many gigs are held at places where you have to be 18 and I beleieve the government have no right to deprive people of seeing live music. Why can't they just ID at the bar?!
Also, how borrrring would Uni be if you couldn't drink? It's just a stupid idea.
Children need to be educated and the culture needs to be changed not the law. The drinking age in France is 16 and they do not have as many problems as the UK because children are brought up with alcohol.
Most people I know do not cause the police any trouble, it is just the people that drink in parks or the streets that are the problem because they have nothing else to do.
Sort them out.
Make sure shops ID EVERYONE if there's doubt like the Sainsbury's under 21 policy. It works because I work there and it helps you decide whether to ID of not.
Anyway I needed to get that off my chest.
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I turned 18 recently, and for my birthday I treated myself and a few friends [all 18] to a meal at a local restaurant. We finally were able to enjoy an alcoholic drink with our meal, and left with no problems whatsoever. However, when it comes to underage binge drinkers, instead of raising the leagl drinking age, more attention needs to put into community service officers and tackling the unruly behaviour. Harsher punishments should also be introduced. I know from expreience that underage drinking in England isn't particulary 'a crime' - I was let off with no punishment at all. Raising the legal drinking age will not aheive anything, as teenagers will find another way to get their 'fix' - possibly turning to drugs instead?

Anonymous said...

why should the age limit go up this wont solve anything when you turn 18 your legal to vote and are now a responible adult i dont see why it should go up.

Anonymous said...

You could just leave it how it is. Kids would still get alcohol and you will punish people like me (who will be 18 soon) as I will be unable to sensibly enjoy a drink.

Anonymous said...

Raising the drinking age will have no affect on the cultute that has built up within Britain. If anything it will just increase problems and make underage drinking wven more common. This is due to the fact that their will be three more age groups who will attempt and probably succeed in getting alcohol no matter what restrictions are in place. It's a ridiculous thought and would probably cause more problems because there would be more young people drinking on the streets because they can't go into bars so alcohol related problems would further increase.

Anonymous said...

I think raising the drinking age is a BAD idea as the amount of people going to university will decrease dramitcally as part of university life involves socialising in student unions and clubs etc... raising the drinking age will not only cause more problems with regards to drinking on the streets it will end up decreasing the amount of people choosing to further their education

Anna and Elesha x

Anonymous said...

I don't think the drinking age should be moved to 21. I don't think it will make a difference. If you are allowed to smoke, vote and drive, you should be allowed to drink. Id should just be asked everywhere at all times for alcohol!! That will help the problem, but highering the age wont.

Anonymous said...

If they do raise the drinking age to 21 you guys should all have a sit in it worked against segregation why wont it work against a bad law like this.

Anonymous said...

I think that the legal drinking age should not be changed to 21. It is down to parents to act responsibly for thier children and prevent them from abusing alcohol at a young age. My parents allowed me to drink on occasion before i was 18 but it was limited and supervised and i dont find myself getting wasted all the time at uni but we have do have fun at times but stopping people being able to drink would seriously reduce the amount of people going to uni and the revenue the government makes to fund illegal wars and they would have to put the tax on petrol and other things needed and enjoyed by most!

Anonymous said...

I am 19 years old, live away from home, have a career. I enjoy going out with my friends, however am old enough to drink responsibly. I think by putting the legal age of drinking up to 21, it is just stereotyping all the responsible drinkers in with the irresponsible one. I don't believe age has a big effect on it, I know plenty of people in their 30's who don't drink responsibly, so what's next alcohol banned al together ? Meanwhile every junkie is bein handed everything on a plate.... using taxpayers money...The whole thing is ridiculous, and I think it's about time the government took a look at prioreties.

Anonymous said...

there' no point changing they age limit to 21 as no body is going to take notice anyway.

most people say treat teens like an adult so whats the point not letting them be free and do what they want at 18 its their decision whether or not the want to ruin their life

Anonymous said...

It would just encourage more youngsters to get fake ID or drink on the streets and it's not fair on the people who are aged 18-21 now to have to wait longer. It's silly. There are things you can do at 16 which hold far more responsibilty than drinking alchol.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh so you can have a kid at 16, yet you can't have a drink or dance in a club until you are 18, or if this happened 21. Makes perfect sense. D:

Anonymous said...

In my opinon the idea of raising the drinking age upto 21 is ridiculous, if 18 year olds are allowed to go out to places such as iraq and afghanistan to fight conflicts then why should they not be allowed to come back home to enjoying a drink out with friends, the whole idea is just stupid and clearly hasnt been thought about.

Anonymous said...

How would this work for people (like me) who are already between 18 and 21 and have already been allowed to legally drink for the past year/two years/three years? Will this suddenly take away our right to drink and socialise in pubs with friends?

Anonymous said...

proposals such as this simply further represent the division between politicians and poloice with the rest of the country.
I'm sick of hearing your an adult at 16 for certain things, same with 18 and now 21. 18 should be the age you are an adult and be free to make your own decisions.

Anonymous said...

No one seems to point out that you can make alcohol u're self,which some teens may do and also may turn to drugs.

An upset 17 year old. said...

This is bullshit.. This takes me back to when I turned 16.. a few months later guess what, the legal smoking age is taken up to 18. The last few months have been horrible, when it comes to the weekends all my friends are 18 and head to the pub, so i am pretty much the last 17 year old in my group.. On December 11'th everything is going to change! I'm finally 18!.. C'mon, it just wouldn't be fair on me (lmao).

I'm just kidding off coarse, I'm not really that self centered... Kind of.

But anyway what is happening to this country? Its so sick.. It really makes me sad, our laws are so messed up, sure i can have kids, Get married, drive, defend my god dam country.. but HEY not old enough to buy freakin firelighters or have a drink... !

You know what.. screw you britain I'm leaving,

shove your big brother laws up your ass!

Anonymous said...

The people suggesting to raise the age are most likely middle aged, well at least over 21 and like to have someone to blame for this binge-drinking/alcoholic culture we supposedly have today in Britain. I think if the person looks under 21, they should be ID'd, which is what is done in most places anyway, in some cases 25, as it is in the pub I work in. I think if anything, a system should be developed where if a person aged 18 to 21 gets in trouble from something alcohol-related, he or she should be banned from pubs and clubs in that area (or even anywhere) for six months, and then the next time this happens it should be until they are 21. This isn't therefore making it unfair for the sensible under 21s who just go out to have a good time. However, the pub I work in, whenever we have any trouble, its not under 21's, its always 20 somethings or in the last case a 40 something man tried to beat someone else up after one too many drinks. If the drinking age is raised, an increase on kids drinking on the streets, not just kids, but anyone aged from 18 to 21 as well, will most probably resort to this. This will result on higher alcoholic crime rates, and therefore the government aren't thinking this through, just trying to blame youths as a whole for this culture, which it just isn't true. More illegal ID's will be used, resulting in pubs and clubs losing their licenses if they're caught out, which will make Britain a very boring place. Think how much money we make for the British economy from 18 to 21 year olds drinking! You've thrown your weight around with the smoking ban and raising the age with that, which to be honest, all the under 18 smokers I know still get their fags, so this isn't gonna make a blind bit of difference. So have fun trying to stop young Brits from having a good time, but it's not gonna work to be honest.

Chrissy said...

Its not going to work. Just think about the people with ages ranging from 18 to 21 who were able to drink. They will be having a privelage taken away from them. These young adults wont stop drinking because of some law, all it will result in is binge drinking in the streets and more violence. Why cant these people see that. Its just asking for trouble.

takara.truan said...

Takara Truan, you cannot put drinking age up!!! how can you just expect people to stop going out with their friends and having a good time enjoying a drink and a laugh every weekend!!! They are used to drinking and going out clubbing!!! You can't just expect people to then have too wait aanother two years to enjoy that again! You are classed as an adult at 18, now are we just going back to being children again until 21??? You can't just take the title of an adult away!! so if I am classed as an adult how come I am not allowed to drink! as I see it you are just making 18-20 year olds children again!

Anonymous said...

no i wanna leev it

liil g said...

i wood say thirties

Anonymous said...

i dont no wot it will do i think it wont make a difference

Anonymous said...

Well in swcientific research, if the drinking age inncreases from the year of an 18 to a 21 year age old person then. it would particularly make the brain implode with hydroglobin. So in conclusion i dont think we should be able to eat carrots on the farm, because the goat gets gelous.