YOUNG SCOTS should sit a theory test and apply for a licence to drink alcohol, says a former World Health Organisation adviser on alcohol.
Dr Jonathan Chick, a senior lecturer at Edinburgh University, has written to Shona Robison, minister for Public Health, in response to the Scottish government's proposal to increase the age for buying drink from off-licences from 18 to 21.
There has been widespread criticism over the plan since it was first suggested by the government in June. In his letter, Chick says rather than prohibiting those under 21 from purchasing alcohol, they should introduce a "licence to purchase or consume alcohol.advertisement
He said this would allow the "20-year-old soldier returning home from the Afghan frontline to buy a bottle of wine."
The licence scheme would work as follows:
Those who wish to purchase alcohol from their 18th birthday would apply for a licence. The applicant would be required to pass a theory test on responsible drinking. The applicant would sign a declaration that the holder would not abuse the privilege and responsibility of being able to purchase and consume alcohol. This license would be immediately removable by any presentation to police, health or social work as a result of excessive and dangerous alcohol use. (This would not require prosecution) Retailers of alcohol would be prosecuted for selling to unlicensed young people.
The theory test, much like those which people sit when applying for a driver's licence, would be administered by schools, colleges and community education centres, where a small fee would be payable to the school or college by the applicant.
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