Argument: American kids binge drink; lowering drinking age would be chaos

Issue Report: Lowering US drinking age from 21 to 18


Sean Flynn. “Should The Drinking Age Be Lowered?”. 12 Aug. 2007 – “They don’t drink the way we drank a generation ago,” says Cynthia Kuhn of Duke University, an expert on the effects of drugs and alcohol. “There’s an increasing minority who establish blood-alcohol levels that are nearly lethal.” A practice known as “front-loading”—getting drunk on cheap liquor before a night out—is common, and alcoholic blackouts are no longer rare. “It used to happen to the weird, stupid kid who couldn’t hold his liquor, and he did it once,” says Kuhn, who teaches alcohol education to student groups. “Now, it’s typical.”

At the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., front-loading is called “pre-gaming,” explains Melissa, a senior who drank illegally for three years. “We’d sit in our dorm rooms—18- and 19-year-olds—and try to drink as much as possible before going out. I think it goes on at every college. No one cares, even when they get caught. They think a speeding ticket is worse.”