- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 23, 2001

How sad that a leader in the health field advocates such unhealthy policy as legalizing teen-age boozing (“Girls just want to have fun,” Op-Ed, June 21). On what planet was columnist Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, when teens were allowed to drink during the 1970s?

When states lowered the drinking age to 18, teen alcohol-related traffic fatalities skyrocketed. Child alcoholism soared as then-legal teen boozers shared their alcohol with younger friends.

When the nation finally woke up to the tragedy wrought by that unfortunate policy, states returned the drinking age to 21 in the early 1980s. Subsequently, teen alcohol-related traffic fatalities dropped precipitously. Many lives have been saved each year since the more rational standard was restored.

Unfortunately, a residue of teen appetite for booze has remained, causing great damage to the teen population and their families. Parents such as the Bushes whose children get caught up in that dangerous teen-booze culture experience much anguish.

Lower the drinking age to authorize teen drinking again? America has been there and done that and it was an unmitigated health and safety disaster. America learned its lesson the hard way, and it´s not going to happen again. Case closed.


DEFOREST RATHBONE

Chairman

National Institute of Citizen Anti-drug Policy (NICAP)

Great Falls

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