great gretzky wrote: knapplc wrote:
Art Vandelay wrote:I'd like to see ...a more Europeanesque approach to alcohol use among minors.
(sorry for the edit)
Agree totally here. Europe's take on alcohol isn't perfect, but it's a far sight better than ours.
I disagree with this conclusion, even though I agree with the idea that its time to lower the age to European standards.
The per capita consumption in Europe blows us away, as does their rate of alcoholism, maybe its functional, but its there. America is not really that high on the consumption list, so I'm not sure its a "far sight better" in many respects. Philosophically, I agree with their mindset. But in terms of everyone deferring to their sophisticated superiority, I'm not sold, because the raw numbers don't support it.
But everyone ALSO has to factor in that european teens also have a far better public transit situation than we do, so there is less risk in terms of car accidents and the like for them to have a lower age.
Not only is the transit system well networked in Europe but with towns split apart, usually drinkers aren't too far away from home given they're within their own city limits. However, drunk driving is actually increasing in Europe despite extremely tight rules, France in particular.
As for the drinking age, personally I'd like to see the drinking age back to 18 but there's such a cultural difference in the philosophy of drinking between Europe and America in general. In America, parents tend to treat alcohol as some kind of mystical substance that their kids must not touch, which actually raises the intrigue of consuming alcoholic beverages. In Europe, it's a bit different. At about 11-12, it tends to be OK to consume a glass of wine or one beer in moderation, especially in celebratory events. Several years ago, my English cousin was underaged at the time but yet could have a few glasses of wine because his father was remarrying. Perfectly normal. Of course, the moderation is in control of the parents there but you don't find that kind of intrigue about booze in Europe than you would in the States. As a result, I'd say parents here should be more pragmatic that if their high school aged kids go to a party, it's a given that there's booze and that their kids are going to have a drink or two. That should be OK but moderation must be practiced. The fundamental difference is, and it's the same purpose in Europe, is that kids get drunk not so much to get wasted but the feeling of getting wasted.
As pragmatic as Europeans are with booze, they're finding hard alcohol to be a massive problem in Europe. They've covered beer and wine but teenagers and college age students have a massive fascination with hard alcohol, no different from the States. It's no strange thing to see drunken driving incidents increase in France over the last few years in my experience, seeing that a lot of what was downed were vodka-based cocktails. The pressure to drink hard alcohol when you're 12 or 13 is also much greater in Europe compared to the States, from what I've seen.