The ideal legal drinking age is 25, says a British doctor

The Dominion Post 06/08/2010

A British doctor says the ideal legal drinking age is 25, but recommends New Zealand should adopt a drinking age of 21. New medical evidence had shown that brains were damaged by alcohol for much longer than previously thought, according to visiting British psychologist and biologist Aric Sigman. Dr Sigman said that, in Britain, people in their early 20s were now needing liver transplants – something New Zealand was likely to see if it had not already. He is calling for New Zealand to adopt a drinking age of 21. A legal drinking age of 25 would work in an “ideal world”, as brains did not fully develop until age 24 1/2 and risk-taking behaviour was at its worst from the ages of 18 to 24. “If you’re asking me as a health professional what age we should raise it to … I would raise it 25.”

…Dr Sigman, who is in New Zealand to speak at a forum organised by Family First, said that, although raising the age would not be a magic bullet, it was an exercise in damage limitation. “If you can delay the amount and the frequency with which they can drink, this will be an improvement.”