“Underage Drinking is Never Harmless”

by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

“Underage Drinking is Never Harmless” is the headline. A “prevention specialist,” Melissa Garrison, alarmingly contends that young people “don’t know how to drink moderately.” 1 Ms. Garrison’s uninformed prohibitionist view is actually counterproductive.

A common denominator of those groups around the world in which most people drink alcohol but in which few people abuse it is that they all teach their young people how to drink in moderation. And they teach them at home from a young age. These successful groups, which include Italians, Jews, Greeks, Portuguese, Spaniards, and many others, would all agree that it’s better to learn to drink in the parent’s house than in the fraternity house. Fortunately, many states specifically permit parents to serve alcohol beverages to their children of any age. That, of course, reduces alcohol problems.

The experience of people around the world also demonstrates the falsity of her belief that the brains of young people are too “fragile” for light or moderate alcohol consumption. She’s also apparently unaware of the fact that all people of all ages produce a substantial daily supply of alcohol to the bloodstream and the brain.

The assertion that underage drinking is never harmless is itself a misleading and harmful message. So-called “prevention specialists” need to follow the scientific facts rather than ideology.

 

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