Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rethinking the Drinking Age; Health Committee Reviews Vivitrol

Did we hear right? Six college presidents in Maryland, including the president of Johns Hopkins University, say the drinking age of 21 is not working and that it's time to consider lowering the age. Or, at least rethink it. Their logic is that trying to enforce the age limit is impossible and only serves to drive kids to binge drink.

While each state has the authority to set its own drinking age, Congress passed a National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984 which penalizes states that lower the drinking age below 21. States that do will lose 10% of their federal highway monies. Since then, no state has lowered their drinking age. Here's the Hawaii statute.

According to this article in the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland college presidents will work toward repealing that law as part of next year's transportation authorization bill.

Meanwhile, here locally, the House Health Committee will hold an informational briefing next week on the issue of drunk driving and the efficacy of the drug Vivitrol. According to the hearing notice, a single monthly dose of Vivitrol, given by 300 mg intramuscular injection, is purported to reduce the craving for alcohol. A pilot program for employers, which includes retaining employees while in treatment and using Vivitrol, will be discussed.

When: Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 10:00 a.m.
Where: State Capitol, Room 309

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