UK : Legal drinking age should be lowered

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UK : Legal drinking age should be lowered

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-03-07 06:53 ... be-l.ehtml

16 Oct 2007

Legal drinking age should be lowered

UK: Lowering the legal drinking age could help tackle the country's binge

Flying in the face of chief constables, doctors and psychiatrist, who have
over the past few months all called for a rise in the legal drinking age to
21, a leading medical expert has suggested it should in fact be lowered to 16.

Professor John Ashton, director of Public Health at Cumbria NHS Primary
Care Trust, claims allowing teenagers to drink alcohol in pubs is the best
way to encourage them to drink responsibly, and thereby tackle the UK's
binge culture.

He said: "Teenagers are drinking in risky circumstances. They go to parks,
open spaces, or out on the street. They get drunk and have unprotected sex.
"We need some creative solutions and what we haven't tried is to treat them
like adults, and to expect them to behave like adults in return.
"We also have to find ways of setting realistic ambitions, such as not
drinking every night of the week or drinking with food, rather than just to
get drunk."

In August, chief constable of Cheshire police, Peter Fahy, called for the
drinking age to be raised from 18 to 21. A similar conclusion was drawn by
thinktank within the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Leading medical journal, The Lancet, also published an article calling for
the drinking age to be raised to 21, with Dr Russell Viner, a paediatrician
at University College London claiming that binge drinking was a 'serious
problem' among young people. His call, however, was rejected by industry
bodies including the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association, (BEDA) which
said that raising the drinking age would 'simply further drive the trend
towards unmediated access to alcohol'.
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