Raising Drinking Age to 21 'Regrettable': Key Doctor

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2009 7:03 PM CDT
A doctor instrumental in the law that raised the drinking age to 21 says "collateral damage" like binge drinking have him regretting the effort.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A psychiatrist who was part of a presidential committee that recommended raising the US drinking age to 21 now calls those efforts “the single most regrettable decision,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Morris Chafetz, in an opinion piece being shopped for publication, says seeing the “collateral, off-road damage”—binge drinking, date rape and the like—wrought by the1984 law has left him disillusioned.

“Legal Age 21 has not worked,” Chafetz writes. “To be sure, drunk driving fatalities are lower now than they were in 1982. But they are lower in all age groups. And they have declined just as much in Canada, where the age is 18 or 19, as they have in the US.”