The DA’s news conference earlier in November for the launch of its "position paper" on the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill struck several discordant notes. Most jarring was the banner: "Increasing drinking age makes it more difficult to prevent minors from drinking". This is not a well-informed position. A scan of the evidence shows that increasing the minimum drinking age to 21 years decreases drinking among 18 to 20-year-olds; reduces the number of high school dropouts, and increases protection from alcohol and other drug dependence, adverse birth outcomes, car crashes, suicide and murder. Making it more difficult to prevent minors from drinking is not one of the reported effects. The paper acknowledges the evidence: "studies prove that increasing the age limit results in the reduction of harm caused by alcohol abuse, notably in the targeted age group", but then adds "the reduction is often found to be disappointingly minor and short-term in nature, even in countries where enforcement...

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