Commentary: Lowering drinking age isn't the answer

"It's time to rethink the drinking age," said more than 100 college and university presidents, including Duke University's Richard Brodhead, last year in a statement about campus drinking. "Twenty-one is not working."

Wrong. It is working — everywhere but on college campuses.

That's the conclusion of a study released this month on binge drinking by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, published in The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The report showed binge drinking among 18- to 20-year-old men who did not attend college had declined more than 30 percent over the past three decades. But the rate remained steady – and significant – among male college students. And it went up among female students.

The report punches a big hole in the argument of some that lowering the age for drinking to 18 will help officials better address binge drinking among young people. On the contrary, the increased drinking age (it began going up in the late 1970s) is at least partly responsible for the decrease in binge drinking, researchers said.

We're not surprised. This editorial board opposed lowering the drinking age when supporters pressed for it last year. Evidence showed raising the age had helped decrease drinking and driving accidents among young people. And research was beginning to show binge drinking was down too.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Charlotte Observer.