Study shows drinking age should be raised – health experts

NZ Herald 24 November 2011
University of Otago health experts say a study showing a correlation between suicide, homicide and a lower drinking age in the US is further evidence the drinking age should be raised here.

The study, in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, looked at data gathered before 1984 when a blanket legal drinking age of 21 was applied across the US.

It showed a higher risk of suicide and homicide persisted into adulthood among women born after 1960 who came from states that had permitted under-21 drinking.

Women had a 12 per cent higher risk of suicide and a 15 per cent higher risk of homicide if they grew up where drinking was permitted at younger ages, making a new argument for keeping the legal minimum drinking age at 21, the researchers said.

The director of the University of Otago’s National Addiction Centre, Prof Doug Sellman, speaking with other medical professionals for Alcohol Action New Zealand said the research was “startling” and was evidence the drinking age needed to be raised in New Zealand.