Group wants to lower drinking age to 18 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Group wants to lower drinking age to 18

Leon Richards Leon Richards
Leah Marx Leah Marx
Sheri Tavares Sheri Tavares
Wolf Levine Wolf Levine

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Underage drinking is everywhere. That's why a coalition of more than a 100 college administrators across the country are pushing to lower the legal drinking age to 18.

Alcohol. It's often called the cause of and solution to all of life's problem, but one group says lowering the alcohol age to 18 raises responsibility.

At The Varsity bar, drinkers sip up the 99-cent drafts, but you must be 21 to join in on the fun.

Kapiolani Community College Chancellor Leon Richards is one of more than 100-college administrators across the country that signed the "Amethyst Initiative," aimed at giving the luxury for 18-year-olds to consume libations.

He says he just wants to open the issue up to student debate.

"Our job is to educate, it's to promote discussions," said Chancellor Leon Richards.

Promoters of the initiative say 18-year olds have liberties like voting, being on juries and serving our military. But those opposed to the movement say it needs to stop.

Groups like "Mothers Against Drunk Driving" oppose lowering the age to 18.

Statistics show since it was upped to 21 more than two decades ago, alcohol related fatalities are down 60%.

"It is not safe for youth and it's not going to decrease binge drinking. All those things that it's proposed to do, we have the research to show it's not going to do that," said Executive Director Leah Marx.

"I don't think 18-year olds are ready to handle everything that comes with drinking," said Student Sheri Tavares.

"It's up to the person to take care of themselves," said Varsity Bar General Manager Wolf Levine.

But bars like The Varsity say it's up to the individual to show maturity.

"People not serving underage, being careful about not driving," said Levine.

An earned responsibility or what should be a given right, the drinking debate continues on whether or not to give 18-year-olds the liberty to liquor.

States are given federal funds for their highways as an incentive to keep their drinking age 21. Administrators say that would be just another part of the debate for students to discuss before making their decision.

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