We are facing a growing public health crisis with binge drinking. The roots of this problem are deeper than any one cause or policy—they are cultural. In order to address binge drinking, we need to consider both our laws and our societal attitudes about alcohol use. Drinking to get drunk, for anyone at any age, is unacceptable.
Over the last 25 years, some drinking laws were intended to help alleviate alcohol-related problems among young people, but may have had the unintended effect of increasing reckless drinking behavior. Under Legal Age 21, for example, we have seen a movement away from moderate consumption and towards drinking to get drunk. While there is little in the research to indicate that moderate consumption represents harm to young people, abusive consumption – binge drinking – spells trouble for our nation’s youth and for the public at large.