RIGA - A petition to raise the legal drinking age in Latvia to 21 years, which has been posted on Manabalss.lv public initiatives website, has managed to gather 10,000 signatures.
Raivis Ievins, the author of the initiative, has been collecting signatures under the petition since 2012.
Ievins proposes to ban persons who have not reached the age of 21 years from buying or consuming alcoholic beverages. Punishments for selling or giving alcohol to persons under 21 years of age would be the same that are currently applied for selling or giving alcohol to persons under 18 years of age, which is the legal drinking age currently effective in Latvia. Ievins also wants the youngsters being punished for drinking before reaching the legal age.
The petition cites scientific studies according to which a human brain develops until the age of 23 or even 25. “The damage caused by alcohol to the brain at this age is much more serious than the damage caused to an adult brain, and because their brains are immature, youngsters run a higher risk of developing addiction to alcohol,” Ievins argues.
“Our country needs strong and healthy youths who are able to provide taxes to the state budget and not empty the budget as a consequence of alcoholism. These legislative amendments are a step towards a healthy, prosperous and happy society,” said Ievins.
Since the petition has gathered 10,000 signatures, it can be submitted to Saeima for deliberation.