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The argument to raise the drinking age to 21 after study reveals link to adulthood drinking

3AW Mornings

Leading psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg has raised the prospect of increasing the legal drinking age in Australia to 21.

It comes after a new study linked regular teen drinking to alcohol problems in adulthood.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute led study of 9000 teens found those who drank weekly before the age of 17 were two to three times more likely to binge drink, drink drive and be dependent on alcohol in adulthood.

The 3AW Mornings program psychologist told Tony Jones there is an argument to support it.

“Only because I want to protect young people from mental anguish, from traffic trauma and violence,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

“Because all of the states in America have drinking ages of 21 have lower levels.

“In terms of what should we base our public policy on, I reckon it should be science and experience.”

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Co-author of the study, Professor George Patton, said the idea that allowing teens to drink regularly at home promoted good relationships with alcohol was misinformed.

“That was the old way of thinking, if you provide alcohol for adolescents they might learn to drink sensibly because they are drinking in a non binge drinking sort of way,” he said.

“The research is pretty clear developing a regular habit around alcohol isn’t protective at all.”

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3AW Mornings