Representative Max Abramson of Seabrook, New Hampshire recently introduced a bill that would lower the state’s drinking age from 21 to 18. Under the proposed bill, individuals under 21 still would not be permitted to drink hard liquor, but they would be able to purchase and order beer and wine so long as they are accompanied by someone 21 or older. In addition, the bill would lower the legal threshold for those aged 18 to 20 to 0.05% blood alcohol content, in an attempt to limit binge drinking. While advocates describe the bill as a way to increase adult supervision of alcohol consumption for younger people, opponents fear that the measure will lead to an increase in alcohol-related deaths and other injuries among the 18-21 crowd.
The New Hampshire bill has been referred to committee hearings. Similar movements to lower the state drinking age are afoot in Minnesota and California. It remains to be seen whether any of these efforts will be successful, but they certainly bear watching.