Kids get drunk… because they’re allowed to!

From the Southland Times

An Invercargill Youth Court judge has expressed his frustration that many people believe it is acceptable for minors to get drunk if they are supervised by adults. Judge Dominic Flatley yesterday disqualified a 16-year-old from driving for six months after he recorded a breath alcohol level of 1118mcg – almost three times the adult legal drink-drive limit. The judge asked the teen why he thought he was able to drink alcohol when he was 16. The teen, who had been at his sister’s place where he was drinking before driving, replied he thought minors could drink under the supervision of an adult family member. “Where do you get that from? This does my head in because I get it all the time,” the judge said.

The intention of the law was that minors could have an alcoholic drink if they were at a function with their parents or guardians, he said. It didn’t cover allowing minors to get “completely legless”.

The problem is that the intention of the law is irrelevant to a teenager who has been given the green light to drink alcohol and is their last consideration when the effect of the alcohol has kicked in.

This is why split-age and parental supervision proposals by the government are flawed. They fail to account for the effect of a drug (alcohol) on a developing teenage brain. The medical evidence is clear – the drinking age should be raised to at least 21.


3 comments for “Kids get drunk… because they’re allowed to!

  1. Massoud
    27 May 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I do not think for a minute that the problem here is the intent of this law. There is absolutely nothing wrong with children having an alcoholic drink occasionally at a function or at home with their parents. There are photos of me having a drink at age 2, all harmless fun as far as my family members were concerned. And it was. They knew the difference between taking an amusing photo of a toddler and allowing a toddler to get sloshed.

    What we see in the story above is a brief transcript of a larger incident. My guess is that the sister who supplied the drink was probably young herself. And for all we know, this whole family could have a raft of social problems not even mentioned above or connected to alcohol. It is also already against the law for someone this young to drink and drive, yet it appears that the sister, or noone else, cared less about it.

    As for the drinking age being raised to 21? It used to be 20 in 1984. Do you seek to make it more draconian?

    Sometimes you just have to accept that the intention of a law will be abused by certain people in certain situations. The drinking age could be 25 and yet this scenario would still be repeated. After all, we have had a strict law against murder for centuries and, I posit, we still have murder despite the best intentions to the contrary.

  2. Bob
    27 May 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Perhaps we should drop the murder age then?


  3. Amerikiwi
    29 May 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I was shocked when I came here from the states to see kids yes kids (18 is still a kid) walking around in groups to the alcohol shops sloshed to get more
    drinks walking around with open containers. There is an alcohol problem I’m this country. As it has in many ways become ingrained into the culture of this country you have to start somewhere no one will change unless there is reprocussions with the laws there should be a law against providing to minors because it does give them a green light no matter if your family or not, there should be a law against open containers in non prohibited areas (including cars just an accident waiting to happen), drinking age
    should be lifted as teens brains are still developing the adage the older the drinking age the older the kids are who are sneaking it applies. And just because you see on TV and movies party life in the states does not mean it is like that it is so sad how often I am asked if life in the states is like Jersey Shore or a MTV video. This country is a wonderful place to live let’s give the kids a chance

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