Religion and Alcohol Brain Damage
Some activists insist that the brain continues developing until
age 21. They argue that because of this, alcohol consumption damages
the brain before the 21st birthday. 1
Then why don’t they object to underage Roman Catholics and
Orthodox Catholics celebrating Holy Communion and underage Jews
celebrating the Kiddush?
And if alcohol really damages the brain before age 21, why aren’t
Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics and Jews developmentally harmed
through brain damage? 2
Furthermore, why aren’t Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese,
French and many other groups around the world similarly damaged
from drinking before the age of 21?
- 1. Some activists assert that the brain
continues to develop until age 21 although some write that it develops
until around age 21. Mothers Against Drunk Driving categorically states
that “The brain continues to grow through the age of 20” (that
is, until age 21). MADD. “Did you know...” Mothers Against
Drunk Driving website (www.madd.org). However, MADD is not totally consistent.
See Swartzwelder, S. Brain 101. Driven (a magazine published by MADD)
posted on Mothers Against Drunk Driving website (www.madd.org). Center
on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Consequences of Underage Drinking. Center
on Alcohol Marketing and Youth website (www.camy.org). Center on Addiction
and Substance Abuse (now often called the National Center on Addiction
and Substance Abuse at Columbia University). Teenage Tipplers: America’s
Underage Drinking Epidemic. NY: National Center on Addictions and Substance
Abuse at Columbia University, 2002.
- 2. Keller, M. et al. Alcohol
in Italian Culture. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958; Snyder, C.R. Alcohol
and the Jews: A Cultural Study of Drinking and Sobriety. Glencoe,
IL: Free Press, 1958. Greeley, A.M. Ethnic Drinking Subcultures.
NY: Praeger, 1980. Hanson, D.J. Preventing Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol,
Culture and Control. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995.