Are Punitive Summer Crackdowns on Young Festival Drinkers Really the Way to Go?


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New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning to crack down on underage drinking during the summer concert season.

Apparently, special squads will be out there conducting unannounced “sweeps” of summer concert venues to check for fake IDs. This bold raiding of our youth will be conducted by representatives of the Department of Motor Vehicles, New York State Park Police, the State Liquor Authority and the New York State Police.

“With this crackdown, we are not only sending the message that this behavior will not be tolerated in New York State, but we are taking steps to help prevent avoidable tragedies,” says Gov. Cuomo.

Among other punishments, the state will be suspending the driving licenses of kids under 21 found to be using fake IDs to buy liquor, for periods ranging from 90 days to one year. How drinking at a concert while not driving is directly related to whether someone should be able to drive is anybody’s guess.

The US is something of an outlier by banning booze until the age of 21. Most people in the world are allowed to drink a few years earlier—yet the US hardly stands out for its elimination of alcohol-related problems.

In any case Cuomo’s “Operation Prevent”—an inaccurate name for a plan that is more about punishment than prevention—is going right ahead.

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