Vail Daily letter: Disagree with proposal
Back in January, a Colorado state senator, Greg Brophy, wrote a bill proposing the legalization of serving alcohol to adults 18 years old and above if they are supervised by their parents/legal guardians in restaurants and bars. Many people oppose the idea of lowering the drinking age in a public setting, while others support it and the idea of introducing alcohol to 18-21-year-olds responsibly and under supervision. I am a sophomore at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy and I personally disagree with the proposal.
The idea came to Sen. Brophy when he took his daughter out for dinner, celebrating her 20th birthday, and he realized he could not buy her a glass of wine for the occasion. Currently in Colorado, parents can serve their children alcohol, even below the age of 18, as long as they are on private property. Brophy feels as though this law should extend to public sites as well. Brophy argues that between the age of 18-21, most kids at college have almost unlimited access to alcohol and parents should be able to introduce alcohol to them responsibly before this time.
The bill can be easily abused and has many potential negative outcomes. The first major con is the negative effects alcohol has on a developing brain. Alcohol can permanently damage a brain’s frontal lobes and impede on abilities like regulating emotions, planning, and organizing. Ninety-eight percent of 102 cases in a 2002 study of the legal drinking age and traffic accidents found that states with higher legal drinking ages had lower rates of traffic accidents. Eighteen-year-old drivers can only possibly have had their driver’s license for a maximum of two years, making them the least experienced and most prone to accidents. Also if parents can already give their kids alcohol on a private residence, why can they not introduce alcohol to them responsibly there? This bill could easily increase the amount of underage drinking accidents and the dangers to normal citizens.
Currently the bill has not been passed or rejected. It has been assigned to the State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which usually rejects bills voted unpopular by the majority. Many legislators did not support the bill upon initial statements, saying it is unnecessary. This bill can affect you even if you are above the age of 21, and your children. If this bill passes, it is more likely that one mistake by an inexperienced, intoxicated, 18-year-old driver on his way somewhere from the bar with his parents can change your families’ life.
• Alexander C. Wagenaar and Traci L. Toomey, “Effects of minimum drinking age laws: Review and analyses of the literature from 1960 to 2000,” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 2002
• US Federal Trade Commission, “Dangers of Teen Drinking,” http://www.dontserveteens.gov.
• “The Daily Caller, http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/17/colorado-state-senator-drink-up-18-year-olds.
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