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Legal drinking age is up for debate

HEALTHY DEBATE: Associate professor Kees Nydham and associate vice chancellor CQU Professor Andy Bridges. Associate professor Kees Nydham will be discussing the drinking age at CQU University tonight. (Friday September 5). Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
HEALTHY DEBATE: Associate professor Kees Nydham and associate vice chancellor CQU Professor Andy Bridges. Associate professor Kees Nydham will be discussing the drinking age at CQU University tonight. (Friday September 5). Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

DO YOU think the legal drinking age should be raised to 21?

The CQUniversity is asking for your opinion in a debate to be held at the Bundaberg campus tonight.

CQUniversity student Ruth Pickton is currently studying a diploma of psychology at the university and is looking forward to attending the debate.

"I have a 17 year old son and I have a science degree, so realistically with the understanding we have of the development of the juvenile brain, I would encourage raising the drinking age to 21," she said.

"Because the brain is too precious a body organ to damage too early in life."

Ms Picketon said another issue she had with the current drinking age was its closeness to learning to drive.

"We allow our youth to get a drivers licence at 17, then essentially a year later they're allowed to drink, but you can't drink and drive at the same time," she said.

"Don't give a kid a new toy if you can't play with it, let them drive for a while and get sensible with that before you introduce this new novelty.

"It scares the living daylights out of me."

Two of the universities new adjunct associate professors, Dr Kees Nydam, clinical director, alcohol and other drugs service at the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and former Bundaberg Police Superintendent Rowan Bond along with Michael Walters of MRH Lawyers, will present their views at the debate.

Dr Nydam said he sees both sides of the debate.

"I'm a specialist in addiction medicine, I get to see the dark side," Dr Nydam said.

"Having said that, I also know alcohol plays an important role in our society - an important positive role.

"A lot of people wouldn't have the courage to ask a girl to dance if it wasn't for alcohol."

Mr Bond said his views on the debate may surprise people.

"I can certainly see value and argument both ways, particularly in relation to the violence in the streets you see these days," Mr Bond said.

"Whether there's a direct link to that and the age people can start drinking, that's open to conjecture in my opinion.

"I look forward to putting forward my views and having a good interaction with everyone there."

CQUniversity professor and associate vice chancellor Andy Bridges encouraged the community to take part in the debate.

"This topic is one that's relevant to the local community at the moment," Mr Bridges said.

"What we want to do is just present the evidence; we're a university so we don't have an opinion on way or the other.

"People have different opinions all over the world so why shouldn't Bundaberg debate it."

The drinking age debate will be held at CQUniversity Bundaberg Campus from 7pm tonight.



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