Steven Ireland (Readers' Forum, Jan. 23) gives the examples of France, Italy and Spain as liberal nations that have allowed youths to have access to wine and spirits. However, because of the current explosion of youth binge-drinking throughout their nation, legislators in Spain were recently obliged to pass a national law outlawing open liquor containers in public and drinking by groups in parks and on the streets. Older citizens were shocked at the drastic change, but they understood the need to modify laws because of changes in the culture.

Lon Pearson

professor of Spanish