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      Debate over drinking age

      Presidents from around 100 of the nation's top universities have recently asked lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, which has sparked a heated debate between different groups. Locally, it's no different, and many people have opinions on the subject.

      For many students, going to college is the first time they've been away from home and leaves a lot of choices at their disposal. For some, the opportunity to drink is too tempting to refuse. Research shows that more than 40 percent of college students show at least one symptom of alcohol abuse. The officials petitioning to have the drinking age law reviewed think that making the change will decrease the amount of binge drinking on campuses.

      Some students from Marquette County, however, don't think it would have much of an impact.

      "I think students are going to be irresponsible either way; if it's (age) eighteen or twenty-one," said Danielle Brandreth, a junior at Northern Michigan University.

      There are some officials that oppose the move because they believe that lowering the drinking age would make alcohol more accessible to even younger kids.

      "Young kids, fifteen, sixteen years old, who easily could pass for eighteen will have even more access than ever," said Lenny Shible, a health promotion specialist at Northern.

      Not all students agree.

      "It's become more accessible now," said Amanda Hawkins, a senior at NMU. "I mean, there are younger kids drinking at younger ages."

      Many feel that where there's a will, there's a way--regardless of age.

      "Just because they can't buy it doesn't mean someone else isn't going to buy it for them," Brandreth said.

      Most universities like Northern offer alcohol-free events and programs as an alternative to weekend parties, but some students believe that the problem will still exist, and it's time to look at other avenues.

      "I think it's time we look at making a change," Hawkins said.

      Currently, the group proposing the change is asking lawmakers across the nation to debate the issue.