Increase drinking age to save lives says Australian Medical Association

“…every day we see the devastating results in emergency departments” AMA Queensland President Dr Chris Zappala said.

Trading Hour Push Ahead of Summer Drinks Toll, Australian Medical Association Queensland Media Release 2015.

In 2009, Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Mason Stevenson said the surge in teenage binge drinking has worrying implications for Australia, as that generation carries their bad drinking habits into adulthood.
“We are going to expect a substantially increased rate of alcoholism,” he said.
Prompted by such concerns, one Queensland school – St Edmund’s College in Ipswich – is proposing to randomly breath-test students arriving at the school dance.
Mason suggests an even more radical intervention. “There is a cogent argument for increasing the legal age of drinking in Australia from 18 to 21,” he said. “You also as a result of that policy would save 100 Australian lives every year and an extra 1000 from severe maiming and permanent injury.
“On medical grounds, it’s a no-brainer.”

Melanie Christiansen, “Queensland’s serious alcohol problem revealed”, The Courier-Mail, October 17, 2009

72% liquor outlets failed to ask proof of age “absolute disgrace” says WA police chief

The social responsibility code requires ID checks if a person looks under 25 and asks to buy alcohol. So the Western Australian police sent cadets to test compliance. The results? WA police chief says “…the conduct of the outlets can only be described as an absolute disgrace.” The supposed commitment of outlets to this code “turns out to be a joke.”

“Not one cadet was challenged on entry and none was stopped from browsing the store. In 72 cases (72%) the cadets were able to make a purchase without having to produce ID. This is in direct contravention of the industry’s social responsibility code and provides strong evidence that they are incapable of self regulation.”

(Western Australia Police, 31 July 2013, Liquor compliance)

Increase drinking age from 18 to 21 to save lives in Tonga!

“The House was unanimous in their support of the Bill to Amend the Manufacture of Intoxicating Liquor Act to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21 years, with votes of 15-0.”

Cook Island News, 28 July 2014, Tonga raises drinking age

But in New Zealand (where the drinking age was lowered from 20 to 18 in 1999),
“A study found that after the drinking age was lowered to 18, there was a significant increase in traffic crashes among youth affected by the law change. The study found that the rate of traffic crashes and injuries to 18- to 19-year-old males increased 12 percent and increased 14 percent for males aged 15 to 17 comparing 4 years before and after New Zealand lowered the MLDA to 18. For females, the effect was even greater—rates increased 51 percent for 18- to 19-year-olds and 24 percent for 15- to 17-year-olds. The study estimated that 400 serious injuries and 12 deaths could be prevented each year among 15- to 19-year-olds if the nation raises the MLDA back to 21.”

“NHTSA estimates that minimum drinking age laws [in USA] have saved 26,333 lives since 1975 [till 2007 inclusive].” [In USA, the minimum age was increased to 21.]

Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws in the United States from a Traffic-Safety Perspective“, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Oct. 2008

NHTSA’s New Zealand source:
Am J Public Health. 2006 January; 96(1): 126–131. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.073122 PMCID: PMC1470436
Minimum Purchasing Age for Alcohol and Traffic Crash Injuries Among 15- to 19-Year-Olds in New Zealand
Kypros Kypri, PhD, Robert B. Voas, PhD, John D. Langley, PhD, Shaun C.R. Stephenson, BSc[Hons], Dorothy J. Begg, PhD, A. Scott Tippetts, MS, and Gabrielle S. Davie, MBios

“Several studies in the 1970s found that motor vehicle crashes increased significantly among teens when the MLDA was lowered.”
Australian Family Association, 21 Nov. 2011, Revisiting the minimum legal drinking age
AFA source: Shults RA, Elder RW, Sleet DA, Nichols JL, Alao MO, Carande-Kulis VG, Zaza S, Sosin DM, and Thompson RS. (2001) Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 21(4 suppl 1): 66–88.

Australian Family Association on benefits of drinking age increase

“Several studies in the 1970s found that motor vehicle crashes increased significantly among teens when the MLDA [Minimum Legal Drinking Age in Australia] was lowered.”

“Recent neuro-imaging studies show that the human brain is still developing through to the mid 20s. Episodes of heavy alcohol use that are common amongst young adults have detrimental implications for healthy brain development. Research shows that when the MLDA is increased to 21, people under age 21 drink less overall and continue to do so through their early twenties. Decreasing the MLDA below age 21 has also been shown to result in population increases in other alcohol-related harms including suicide and youth crime.”
Australian Family Association, 21 Nov. 2011, Revisiting the minimum legal drinking age

Teen Challenge Qld calls for drinking age to be raised to 21

“the Queensland based rehabilitation organisation sees the problem as being a result of deeper fundamental cultural issue that won’t and can’t be solved by treating the symptoms…”
“The organisations Executive Director, Joanne Hobbs, believes the most impactful way we can see a change in this culture is to include raising the drinking age to 21 as part of this strategy, and fears that if this doesn’t happen, the cost to our nation will be great.”
“Education, access to the right services and restricting alcohol promotion are all fantastic initiatives but without a hard lined approach to the drinking age, Teen Challenge Qld fears its services will be needed more, and more.”

(Teen Challenge Queensland Media Statement Issued 11 Nov. 2014)

Survey shows increasing support for increasing drinking age

“According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, support for raising the legal drinking age to 21 years has increased from around 41 per cent in 2004 to 50 per cent in 2010.”

(Australian Medical Association, 21 Oct. 2013, No Drinks Before 21: Call For Debate)

2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report, Table 13.4, p. 174

Seeing this survey in 2010, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared supportive of calls to increase the minimum age to 21 though other parties have made it official policy.

ABC News, 9 Feb. 2010, Rudd wants drinking age lifted to 21

“In WA, 64 per cent were for the limit to be increased and 36 per cent against. In NSW and Queensland, more than 66 per cent of online voters were on Kevin’s more teetotal team.”
“Many readers who backed an older age limit said it would reduce booze-soaked violence, decrease binge drinking and cut the national road toll.”
(PerthNow, 9 Feb. 2010, Increase drinking age to 21, say News web readers)

Election: Australian Christians WA helpful alcohol policies

  • “Australian Christians will introduce legislation to increase the drinking age to 21. Alcohol is a gateway drug.”
  • “Australian Christians will introduce an Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Prohibition Bill in WA.”
  • “Australian Christians will introduce an amendment to the Liquor Act to restrict extended trading hours by hotels and liquor stores, and increase the penalties for selling alcohol to under aged or intoxicated people.”
  • “Australian Christians will work to increase the penalties for drink driving offences, particularly for repeat offenders.”

Australian Christian Lobby asks political parties their alcohol policies for 2013 West Australian Election. (Source: WA Votes, Justice, 3. Alcohol Abuse)

“An inquiry into the impact of Western Australia’s booze culture has sparked calls for Australia’s legal drinking age to be raised to 21.

A West Australian parliamentary committee investigating alcohol and illicit drug problems has urged the state to raise the drinking age and increase the price of alcohol.”
(Sarah Collerton, 24 Jun. 2011, Should Australia’s legal drinking age be 21?, ABC News.)

Seventh Day Adventist Church vs Alcohol

From the very inception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, temperance has been a major focus and the Church has played a key role in struggling against the inroads of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other drugs. While some Christian denominations have lessened their emphasis on temperance, Seventh-day Adventists have continued to vigorously oppose the use of alcohol, tobacco, and improper drugs. The stand of the Church advocating abstinence from harmful substances is well established in the Church’s fundamental beliefs.

There is evidence indicating that in some areas there has been a relaxation in the promotion within the Church of the principles of true temperance. This development, coupled with the relentless advertising campaigns of the alcohol and tobacco industries, has revealed that some Seventh-day Adventists have not been impervious to such negative and insidious influences. Continue reading “Seventh Day Adventist Church vs Alcohol”