Just want to give a shout-out here to an eye-opening deconstruction of the latest "study" of alcohol abuse by what we at stats.org like to call the Center for the Abuse of Statistical Analysis. My colleague, Rebecca Goldin, has found a surfeit of errors, that, as usual, the media missed when covering their latest report.
Yes, teen drinking can be a problem and the alcohol industry certainly profits from sales to alcoholics as well as social drinkers. But we already tried having those sales done by the Mob-- and that didn't work out so great.
Let's stop attempting to scare people into drastic policy change with trumped-up data and start looking at real numbers and realistic measure we can take to deal with the real problem, which is alcohol-related harm. We could reduce the toll of "underage" drinking overnight by setting a more realistic drinking age, like 19, the way Canada does. It's true, more young Canadians drink than do Americans. But, on average, they drink less.
And, for those who think it's the 21-drinking age that has cut our drunk-driving rate-- well, Canada's rate is exactly the same.