the daily doyle

Should a 15-year-old Be Allowed to Drink?
June 16, 2011, 12:19 am
Filed under: Fun stuff

In Albania… sure! Albania has no legal limit on what age a person can buy or drink alcohol. Same thing for Armenia, Viet Nam and a few other places. In Russia there is no restriction on the age to drink it but you must be 18 to buy it. Most places restrict what age someone must have achieved in order to legally drink.

For the USA, the drinking age is 21. However, just as there are exceptions to every rule, there are exceptions to the rules about underage drinking. In most states, it is legal for persons under 21 to drink, but only in certain locations and if their parents are serving it to them.

So, if someone is 15 years old, is that too young to drink alcohol, at all?

I decided to take an informal survey. These were the responses:

“Hell yeah, party on, wooooohoooooooooo! Gimme!” -from 15-year-old Monica, staggering out of Señor Frog’s club in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

“No, hell no, F… no! She needs to be 15, not grown up. She also needs to keep her … in her pants and her … in her shirt, damn it.” -a concerned parent

“It should not be miscontrued that I do not disagree with a youth’s right to not be free from the freedom to drink alcohol.” -politician

“Uh… what?” -stoned 16-year-old

“It’s up to the parent and no one should have any right to interfere” -another concerned parent

“I’d say YES, and even younger!” -Jose Cuervo salesman, Cancun

The survey results weren’t really conclusive. It seems there are differing positions on the subject, each completely valid when viewed from a particular viewpoint.

Possibly the real question hinges on how drinking now will affect the future behavior and life of the teenager who will get older. The jury is definitely still out on that question. On the one hand, it can be considered bad to encourage alcohol use and by setting that kind of example. Of course it’s probably just as bad for the teen to see adults drinking, even if they themselves don’t. Young people learn some behavior by example. If they see that adults drink alcohol to have a good time, that’s the lesson they learn.

On the other hand, not allowing young people to drink at all could also have poor consequences. The drink you cannot touch is “forbidden fruit”. It’s human nature to desire that forbidden fruit and this can lead to more alcohol use, now and into the future. If alcohol is made available, some teens will certainly take advantage of that fact. Others will gradually just lose interest.

In the end, it’s a matter of opinion on which of the above applies to any particular 15-year-old. Certainly people are very different from each other. And parental rights are certainly paramount. No one has a right to interfere with the parents’ choice on whether the teenager will get to drink, or will be forbidden.

Alcohol in moderation can certainly add some zest and interest to life. Alcohol can just as well be a gateway drug to harder stuff, ruining your liver and straining your relationships.

“If drinking is interfering with your work, you’re probably a heavy drinker.  If work is interfering with your drinking, you’re probably an alcoholic.” -Author Unknown

Personally, I rarely drink. And I did not let my kids drink at 15. But as above, it’s a personal choice.



1 Comment so far
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Doyle, I think your decision is a good one.

Mary Collins

Comment by Mary Collins

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