Teenagers are still drinking, despite last April's increase in the legal drinking age from 18 to 20, many Boston-area residents said yesterday.
"Go down to the beaches at Lynn--all you see are kids drinking beer. You can't even find a parking place," Joseph Cardile from Randolph, said yesterday. He added that he believes the drinking age should be raised to 21 years because teenagers cannot handle alcohol. "Kids stole my tools to get money to buy booze. I caught them. They don't want to work, they just want to drink booze," he said.
Jude DiGiovanni, a parking attendant from Newton who just turned 20 years old, also said yesterday teenagers are having no more difficulty obtaining alcohol than they did when the legal drinking age was 18. He added that only about half of the bars he has visited check identification. "And all you have to do is go up to anyone who is 20 and they'll buy it for you," he said.
The drinking age should be even higher. Linda Derian of Watertown said yesterday. The most important factor in assessing the effectiveness of the higher legal age is whether it reduces automobile accidents among teenagers, she added.
A Californian in Harvard Square looked at the new law from a different perspective, saying teenage drinking as well as racial violence are not problems in themselves but manifestations of teenagers' boredom. "So long as everything around here is so stodgy, stuffy and provincial, teenagers are going to seek escapes--they have nothing else to do but get a drink." J. Adams-Stuart said yesterday.
He suggested government-sponsored sports programs and concerts with audience dancing as partial solutions to the "repressive milieu" in Massachusetts.
However, a Cambridge Police spokesman said yesterday drinking among teenagers has stayed at its usual high level. Sgt. Richard Rule added that the only decreases in public drinking by teenagers have been in the public parks, where the police have clamped down. "I don't know where the 18-to-20 year olds are drinking," he said, adding that alcohol consumption in the home has probably increased.
Bars and discos have reported little difficulty enforcing the new drinking age laws, and most of them are complying with the law, Rule added. "I don't think the 18-year-olds could afford to drink in bars anyway," he said.