We’ll Drink to That!

You might expect teenagers to chafe under laws that prohibit drinking before age 21. Instead, a poll conducted for the Associated Press by International Communications Research finds 68 percent of them want the legal drinking age to stay at 21 and another 16 percent favor raising it. Is this because they feel a Talibanic hostility toward drink? On the contrary: It’s more likely because they’re able to get around such laws. In The New York Times, an AP article on the survey quotes a researcher at Boston University’s School of Public Health as saying a majority of high school seniors drink. But he notes that few drink heavily. Thus, teens may feel the current laws “will reduce the risks to themselves”—without leaving them high and dry. Can it be that slack enforcement of strict laws has achieved a kind of moderation?