More than two decades after the country established a uniform drinking age of 21, a nascent movement is afoot to allow 18- to 20-year-olds to legally buy alcohol under some circumstances.
Proponents say the higher age hasn’t kept young people from consuming alcohol and has instead driven underage consumption underground, particularly on college campuses.
“Our laws aren’t working. They’re not preventing underage drinking. What they’re doing is putting it outside the public eye,” Vermont state Sen. Hinda Miller said. “So you have a lot of kids binge drinking. They get sick, they get scared and they get into trouble and they can’t call because they know it’s illegal.”
On Thursday, a committee of the Vermont Senate approved Miller’s bill to have a task force weigh the pros and cons of rolling back the drinking age and make a recommendation to the Legislature early next year.
Organizations and lawmakers in other states are toying with similar ideas.