Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lowering NZ Drinking Age to 18 Not a Disaster After All

According to a new study, it turns out that New Zealand's lowering of the drinking age from 20 to 18 in 1999 had essentially no impact on the drinking behaviors of young people, contrary to what some people have claimed.  By studying a combination of survey data, hospital admissions, and road crashes, researchers found little to no change for 15-19 year olds relative to 22-23 year olds between 1996 and 2007.  Although there was a short-term spike in alcohol-related hospital admissions (involving a small number of individuals) immediately after the law change, the overall impact of the law change was found to be minimal.  Food for thought.

This was not the only study that found little to no effect of the drinking age change.  Last year, when NZ was debating whether or not to raise the drinking age (which they ended up keeping at 18), another study came to a similar conclusion about the drinking behaviors of young people.  And contrary to what the fearmongers have been claiming, teen drinking has actually declined in recent years.  So it looks like the wowsers were wrong, at least about the drinking age.  But don't expect MADD and their ilk to agree with these studies.

1 comment:

  1. It's good that New Zealand also has a drinking age of 18. The study is correct in that young women and young men were about as responsible as before the drinking age was lowered in 1999. That's the truth. Most young women and young men are responsible regarding alcoholic beverages because that's in their self-interest. If the drinking age were lowered to 18 in the United States, the fear makers would be wrong about their opinion. As the article said, some of them probably wouldn't notice.