Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Latest Rat Study Repeats Same Old Mistakes

A recent rat study has been done that appears to justify the 21 drinking age at first glance.  But here's why it really doesn't:

1)  First of all, the study was done on rats, and rats are NOT people.
2)  There is no rat equivalent for 18-24 year old humans, as the "adolescence" in all rats essentially overlaps with infancy and does NOT overlap with adulthood.
3)  The human brain actually continues to develop well into the 30s and 40s, so 21 is an arbitrary age limit.
4)  Human brain development before 18, and especially before 15 or so, is qualitatively different and occurs on a much more fundamental level than that which occurs afterwards.

That's not to say that excessive drinking isn't harmful.  It is, at any age in fact, and especially so before 18.  But there is really no conclusive scientific evidence that drinking at 18 is any more harmful than at 21.

Besides, if the results of the numerous rat studies of the past actually did translate to humans in like fashion, then Canada, Australia, and Europe would all be nations of brain-damaged alcoholic felons!


  1. Always bad news. When do we rebuild the movement?

  2. I'm always surprised when rats are substituted for young adults in studies to justify the age discriminatory drinking age of 21. Rats are very different from humans. To use rats as a substitute ignores human decision making skills. As we all here on this blog can agree on, the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Another method of research that supporters of the drinking age use is the chemical composition in the brain. That is a weak argument because humans are humans first and not mind controlled people.