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Fifth-annual Dartmouth symposium on substance use examines the minimum legal drinking age

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 04/28/09 • Media Contact: Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

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Louise Erdrich
Download the symposium poster (3.41mb, PDF)

This past year advocates of a lower U.S. minimum legal drinking age submitted bills to lower the drinking age in numerous states across the country, including New Hampshire and Vermont. The fifth-annual Dartmouth Symposium on Substance Use on May 1 will consider the U.S. minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) from a public health policy perspective.

This day-long event at Dartmouth’s Alumni Hall features prominent figures in the MLDA debate who will present diverse perspectives and aims to engage attendees and speakers in thoughtful discussion of the issues. The symposium welcomes health advocates, educators, students, legislators, judicial activists, and others interested in policy.

The event is free, but space is limited. Registration is required.

Speakers include:

  • Alan Green, Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School
  • John McCardell, former President of Middlebury College; President, Board of Directors of Choose Responsibility
  • Ralph Hingson, Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research
  • Jeffrey Miron, Director of Undergraduate Education, Department of Economics, Harvard University
  • David Jernigan, Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, author of World Health Organization report “Global Status of Youth Alcohol Use”
  • C Everett Koop, Dartmouth Class of 1937 and U.S. Surgeon General 1981-1989
  • Amy Wallace, Director, Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Affairs Medical Center

“People on all sides of the drinking age issues are interested in the well being of young people; they differ on how best to achieve it,” says Seddon Savage, director of the Dartmouth Center on Addiction Recovery and Education (DCARE), adjunct associate professor of anesthesiology at Dartmouth Medical School, and a pain consultant at the Manchester (NH) Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “While available public health data appears unequivocal in support of the current 21-year drinking age, many concerned parents and educators question whether the MLDA marginalizes the role of parents and educators in supervising young people and wonder about the justice of a non-uniform age of majority that allows 18 year olds to marry, vote, and fight and die for their country, but not legally use alcohol. Such concerns are not satisfactorily addressed with data alone. We at Dartmouth felt it was important to bring together people on all sides of the issues to identify areas of consensus and to move forward building on these.”

The Dartmouth Symposium on Substance Use is hosted by the Dartmouth Center on Addiction Recovery and Education (DCARE), in association with the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth, the Dartmouth College Health Service, Dartmouth Medical School Department of Psychiatry, and the Dartmouth Greek Houses Bones Gate, Delta Delta Delta, Epsilon Kappa Theta, and Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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