Brown professor says drinking age should be lowered

A Brown University anthropology professor and author said he believes the legal age to drink alcohol should be lowered.

"As we look around the world and throughout history, we find that those places where people learn to drink earlier there are fewer problems with what people associate with dangerous drinking," Dwight Heath said.

Thirty years ago, the drinking age increased to 21. Heath said he believes the drinking age should be reduced to at least 18.

"At least down to 18, which is the age of the majority for everything else. It makes no sense to have a drinking age higher than the majority. I'd be just as happy if it were 5 or 6 years," he said.

Heath said children at that age learn to drink around the family table with meals and culturally supported situations.

Advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving disagree.

"The reason the law was enacted in the first place was because there were so many traffic fatalities, and since the law has been enacted in the past 30 years we have seen upwards of 25,000 lives saved. And for that reason alone the law should stay exactly the way it is," said Nancy DeNuccio of MADD.

Heath said he's just looking at the facts.

"As an anthropologist, I'm looking historically and cross-culturally," he said.