“Choose Responsibility” to Reduce Underage Alcohol Abuse

What is Choose Responsibility?

Choose Responsibility is a nonprofit group. It promotes public awareness of the dangers of  reckless drinking by adults age 18-20. It does this through a program of research, education, and related activities.

The founder of the group is Dr. John M. McCardell, Jr., President emeritus of Middlebury College.

choose responsibility
Dr. John McCardell

The group seeks to stimulate informed public discussion about alcohol. It promotes policies that enable young adults age 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about alcohol.

Its supporters argue that alcohol is a reality in the lives of young people. That’s a simple fact. We can’t deny, ignore, or legislate it away.

For this reason, Choose Responsibility supports a series of changes. They would  treat 18, 19 and 20 year-olds as the adults the law otherwise says they are. It believes that current drinking laws infantilize young adults. That promotes immature behaviors.

The group supports a series of changes. They’re designed to allow young adults to consume alcoholic beverages.

The Proposal

Choose Responsibility proposes combining education, certification, and provisional licensing. Tthat’s for 18-20 year-old high school graduates who choose to drink alcohol.

It proposes a comprehensive program. It combines incentives and rewards for responsible, lawful behavior. On the other hand, the policy applies punitive measures for illegal or irresponsible behavior.

Learn more at Drinking Learner Permits for Adults Under Age 21.

The Amethyst Initiative

Dr. McCardell also established the Amethyst Initiative. It’s a group of college presidents across the US. They encourage public discussion about the unintended results of current alcohol policies. This includes the minimum legal drinking age of 21. Amethyst Initiative presidents invite new ideas on how best to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol.

These ideas might include the following.

    • Issuing drinking learner permits to qualified adults aged 18 to 20. They would be similar to driving learner permits.
    • Permitting adults serving in the armed forces to consume alcoholic beverages. That’s under certain conditions.
    • Permitting states to develop their own programs to reduce alcohol abuse. And to do so without reducing their federal highway funding.
    • Lowering the drinking age to 18, 19 or 20.
    • Ideas not yet suggested.
    • Some combination of the above.

If we think creatively, we can develop wise policies. That can greatly reduce yuuthful alcohol abuse.