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Underage drinking under parental supervision?

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New Hampshire legislators have considered allowing adults between age 18 and 21 to drink under the supervision of a parent or guardian, but no bill has passed.

Recent bills

Most recently, in 2016 Rep. Max Abramson sponsored a bill that said, "It is the intention of the [legislature] that minors between the age of 18 and 20 be permitted to consume only beer or wine while in the presence of responsible adults who are over 21 so that younger people will no longer be initiated to alcohol consumption in the absence of adult supervision." 

The House killed that bill, in large part because it did not define a "responsible adult."

The next chance to vote on the issue could come in 2018, if a legislator chooses to sponsor a bill.

In favor of allowing drinking with a parent

Supporters of the concept argue that current underage drinking laws encourage a culture of secret, excessive drinking among young adults. If young adults are instead introduced to alcohol in the presence of their parents, they may be more likely to drink responsibly.

About half of states have a law allowing underage drinking at home and/or restaurants under the supervision of an adult family member. 

Arguments against allowing drinking with a parent

Opponents argue that brain development continues well into the twenties, and alcohol consumption - even under parental supervision - can hurt young adults under age twenty-one. 

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) also argues that allowing drinking with parental supervision creates a permissive environment that encourages teens to drink without their parents. 

Learn more and have your say

For more information on the drinking age, visit our issue page

Should New Hampshire allow adults between age 18 and 21 to drink alcohol under the supervision of a parent or guardian? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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