A few random but important points emerged from our conversation:
- The debate about lowering the drinking age back to 18 is a real one, especially on college campuses (and initiated by college administrators)
- The culture among teens has become one of binge drinking, often with the goal being drunkenness, just shy (hopefully) of illness.
- We need to consider carefully the value of "teaching our kids how to consume alcohol" even if that takes place in our own homes and with us before they go off to college.
- We need to look at how we adults consume alcohol. Recent US government-sponsored programs are helping folks Rethink drinking
- Data shows that binge drinking before age 16 increases the risk of alcoholism in a vulnerable child by eight fold.
- It is possible to enforce certain absolutes: curfew time, checking in upon returning home; never, ever, driving after drinking; protecting friends from dangerous alcohol poisoning or vulnerable social situations;holding off on drinking altogether until at least age 16 (or more).
- It is possible to teach some safe drinking rules without endorsing illegal imbibing. Kids should be taught to avoid alcohol when tired, depressed, hungry, angry, thirsty, sad, or alone.