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  • v.20(4); 1996

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The Minimum Legal Drinking Age

Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws provide an example of how scientific research can support effective public policies. Between 1970 and 1975, 29 States lowered their MLDAs; subsequently, scientists found that traffic crashes increased significantly among teenagers. Alcohol use among youth is related to many problems, including traffic crashes, drownings, vandalism, assaults, homicides, suicides, teenage pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of a higher MLDA in preventing injuries and deaths among youth. Despite laws prohibiting the sale or provision of alcohol to people under age 21, minors can easily obtain alcohol from many sources. Increased MLDA enforcement levels and deterrents for adults who might sell or provide alcohol to minors can help prevent additional injuries and deaths among youth.

Science can play a critical role in developing effective policies to address health issues, including those focused on alcohol-related problems ( Gordis 1991 ). In an ideal world, public policy development would be based on the identification of a problem and the scientific evidence of the factors that are most effective in reducing that problem. In the real world, however, public policy results from economic and political forces, which occasionally combine with good science. Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws provide an example of how scientific research can support effective public policies. This article shows how science has influenced MLDA policies in the past and summarizes research contributing to the ongoing debate on the MLDA.

History of the MLDA

Following the repeal of Prohibition, nearly all State laws restricting youth access to alcohol designated 21 as the minimum age for purchasing and consuming alcohol ( Mosher 1980 ). Between 1970 and 1975, however, 29 States lowered the MLDA to age 18, 19, or 20. These changes occurred at the same time that minimum-age limits for other activities, such as voting, also were being lowered ( Wechsler and Sands 1980 ). Scientists began studying the effects of the lowered MLDA, particularly focusing on traffic crashes, the leading cause of death among teenagers. Several studies in the 1970’s showed that traffic crashes increased significantly among teenagers after the MLDA was lowered ( Cucchiaro et al. 1974 ; Douglass et al. 1974 ; Wagenaar 1983 , 1993 ; Whitehead 1977 ; Whitehead et al. 1975 ; Williams et al. 1974 ).

With evidence that lower legal drinking ages were associated with more traffic crashes among youth, citizen advocacy groups led a movement to restore the MLDA to 21 in all States ( Wolfson 1995 ). In response, 16 States increased their MLDA’s between September 1976 and January 1983 ( Wagenaar 1983 ). Many States, however, resisted pressure from these groups and ignored Government incentives to raise their MLDA’s ( King 1987 ). The Federal Government became concerned about the safety both of youth in States that had lower MLDA’s and of youth who lived in neighboring States. Persons who were below the MLDA in their own State could drive across State borders to purchase alcohol in a State with a lower MLDA and then return home, increasing the likelihood of being involved in traffic crashes.

Because the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed States’ rights to regulate alcohol, the Federal Government could not mandate a uniform MLDA of 21. Instead, in 1984 the Federal Government passed the Uniform Drinking Age Act, which provided for a decrease in Federal highway funding to States that did not establish an MLDA of 21 by 1987 ( King 1987 ). Faced with a loss of funding, the remaining States returned their MLDA’s to age 21 by 1988.

Effectiveness of the MLDA

Reductions in drinking.

Following the end of Prohibition, each State developed its own set of policies to regulate the distribution, sale, and consumption of alcohol. In addition to the MLDA, examples of other alcohol control policies include excise taxes, restrictions on hours and days of sales, and server training. Many of these other alcohol policies have only recently been evaluated (see Toomey et al. 1994 for a review of the research literature). Of all the alcohol control policies, MLDA policy has been the most studied. Since the 1970’s, at least 70 studies have explicitly examined the effects of either increases or decreases in the MLDA, with some studies using more robust research designs than others. MLDA policies may have been evaluated sooner and more often for a variety of reasons, including: (1) a growing concern about youth drinking and driving; (2) availability of archived, time-series data on traffic crashes; (3) the fact that many States first lowered, then raised, their MLDA’s; and (4) preliminary research showing the large effects of changes in MLDA’s. Thorough literature reviews by Wagenaar (1983 , 1993) , the United States General Accounting Office (1987) , and Moskowitz (1989) provide detailed summaries of many of these studies. MLDA laws have been evaluated mostly in terms of how changing the MLDA affects rates of alcohol use and traffic crashes among youth.

Methods used to study the effect of the MLDA on alcohol use have varied widely, contributing to differences in conclusions among studies. For example, some studies used convenience samples, such as students in introductory psychology classes, whereas other studies used sophisticated, random sampling designs to obtain nationally representative samples. Wagenaar (1993) concluded that studies employing strong research and analytical designs typically observed increases in alcohol use among youth following a lowering of the MLDA. In contrast, when many States raised the MLDA, alcohol use among youth decreased.

Beer is the alcoholic beverage of choice for most youth. As a result, reduced rates of alcohol use among youth after the MLDA was increased were primarily evident in decreased rates of beer consumption ( Berger and Snortum 1985 ). Rates of wine and distilled spirits use among youth did not change dramatically following the rise in the MLDA ( Barsby and Marshall 1977 ; Smart 1977 ).

Opponents of the age-21 MLDA theorized that even if a higher MLDA reduced alcohol use among minors, drinking rates and alcohol-related problems would surge among those age 21 and older. In other words, opponents believed that a “rubber band” effect would occur: When youth turned 21, they would drink to “make up for lost time” and thus drink at higher rates than they would had they been allowed to drink alcohol at an earlier age. A study by O’Malley and Wagenaar (1991) , however, refutes this theory. Using a national probability sample, O’Malley and Wagenaar found that the lower rates of alcohol use due to a high legal drinking age continued even after youth turned 21.

Although the MLDA’s effect on youth alcohol consumption is important, a key consideration is whether the MLDA ultimately affects the rates of alcohol-related problems. Alcohol use among youth is related to numerous problems, including traffic crashes, drownings, vandalism, assaults, homicides, suicides, teenage pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases. Alcohol use is reported in one-fifth to two-thirds of many of these problems ( Howland and Hingson 1988 ; Plant 1990 ; Roizen 1982 ; Smith and Kraus 1988 ; Strunin and Hingson 1992 ). As drinking rates increase or decrease, rates of alcohol-related problems may change in response.

Decreases in Traffic Crashes

Using various research methods, at least 50 studies have evaluated the effect of changes in the MLDA on traffic crashes ( Wagenaar 1993 ). Some studies assessed policy changes in only one State, whereas others analyzed the MLDA’s effect across multiple States. These studies evaluated the effect of MLDA changes on a variety of outcomes, including total traffic crash fatalities for youth; drinking-driving convictions; crashes resulting in injuries; and single-vehicle nighttime crash fatalities (the crashes most likely to involve alcohol).

Most studies on the effect of lowering the MLDA found an increase in traffic crashes and traffic deaths among youth ( Wagenaar 1993 ). Of the 29 studies completed since the early 1980’s that evaluated increases in the MLDA, 20 showed significant decreases in traffic crashes and crash fatalities. Only three clearly found no change in traffic crashes involving youth. The remaining six studies had equivocal results. Based on results from research studies such as these, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that in 1987 alone, 1,071 traffic crash fatalities were prevented because of the MLDA of 21 ( NHTSA 1989 ).

Since 1984 researchers have been investigating whether changes in the MLDA also affect other alcohol-related problems. Of the four studies conducted to date that focused on other social and health consequences of alcohol use, three found an inverse relationship between the MLDA and alcohol-related problems: A higher legal drinking age was correlated with a lower number of alcohol problems among youth. The New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (1984) found a 16-percent decrease in rates of vandalism in four States that raised the MLDA. In a study of an increase of the MLDA in Massachusetts, Hingson and colleagues (1985) did not find significant changes in the rates of non-motor-vehicle trauma, suicide, or homicide. Smith (1986) , however, found an increase in non-traffic-related hospital admissions following decreases in the MLDA in two Australian states. Jones and colleagues (1992) found lower rates of death caused by suicides, motor vehicle crashes, pedestrian accidents, and other injuries in States with higher MLDA’s. More research is needed to characterize the full effect of the MLDA on rates of alcohol-related injuries and on problems other than motor vehicle crashes.

The Role of Enforcement

Research indicates that a higher MLDA results in fewer alcohol-related problems among youth and that the MLDA of 21 saves the lives of well over 1,000 youth each year ( NHTSA 1989 ; Jones et al. 1992 ). What is compelling is that the effect of the higher MLDA is occurring with little or no enforcement. A common argument among opponents of a higher MLDA is that because many minors still drink and purchase alcohol, an MLDA of 21 does not work. The evidence shows, however, that although many youth still consume alcohol, they drink less and experience fewer alcohol-related injuries and deaths than they did under lower MLDA’s ( Wagenaar 1993 ). A more appropriate discussion, therefore, is not whether the MLDA should again be lowered but whether the current MLDA can be made even more effective.

Despite laws prohibiting the sale or provision of alcohol to people under age 21, minors throughout the United States can easily obtain alcohol from many sources. Buyers who appear to be younger than 21 can successfully purchase alcohol from licensed establishments without showing age identification in 50 percent or more of their attempts ( Forster et al. 1994 , 1995 ; Preusser and Williams 1992 ). In addition, although many youth purchase alcohol themselves, most youth indicate that they generally obtain alcohol through social contacts over age 21 ( Wagenaar et al. 1996 b ; Jones-Webb et al. in press ). These social contacts—who include friends, siblings, parents, coworkers, and strangers approached outside of alcohol establishments—purchase alcohol and then either provide or sell it to minors.

Commercial establishments licensed to sell alcohol, as well as social sources, face potential criminal penalties, fines, license suspensions, and lawsuits for selling or providing alcohol to minors. So why do they still supply alcohol to youth? One reason is that policies are not actively enforced. For policies to deter specific behaviors effectively, people must believe that they have some chance of being caught and that they will face swift consequences for noncompliance ( Gibbs 1975 ; Ross 1992 ). Wolfson and colleagues (1996 b ) found that only 38 percent of the alcohol merchants they surveyed thought it was likely that they would be cited for selling alcohol to a minor. Further research is needed to determine whether social sources are aware of their legal liability for providing alcohol to youth and whether they perceive a high likelihood of facing penalties for doing so.

Laws prohibiting the sale and provision of alcohol to minors are not well enforced ( Wagenaar and Wolfson 1995 ), and systems for enforcing the legislation vary by State. Typically, however, enforcement systems use both State administrative agencies, usually called State Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agencies, and local law enforcement agencies, such as police departments and county sheriffs. Enforcement of MLDA laws has focused primarily on penalizing underage drinkers for illegal alcohol possession or consumption ( Wagenaar and Wolfson 1995 ), an unintended and unanticipated consequence of the MLDA ( Mosher 1995 ; Wolfson and Hourigan in press ). For every 1,000 minors arrested for alcohol possession, only 130 establishments that sell alcohol to them have actions taken against them, and only 88 adults who purchase alcohol for minors face criminal penalties. Wagenaar and Wolfson (1994) estimate that only 5 of every 100,000 incidents of minors’ drinking result in a fine, license revocation, or license suspension of an alcohol establishment.

An in-depth review of enforcement actions in 295 counties in 4 States (Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Oregon) showed that in a 3-year period, 27 percent of the counties took no action against licensed establishments for selling alcohol to minors, and 41 percent of those counties made no arrests of adults who provided alcohol to minors ( Wagenaar and Wolfson 1995 ). The States were selected for their diversity of alcohol-control systems and availability of data. Although the majority of counties took at least one action against alcohol establishments and adults who provided alcohol to youth, many did not take actions frequently.

As noted earlier, only a tiny proportion of incidents of minors’ drinking results in fines or other penalties for establishments that sell alcohol. Some reasons that enforcement agencies do not cite or arrest illegal providers include (1) perceived acceptance of underage drinking by community members, (2) lack of community encouragement to increase enforcement of the MLDA, and (3) lack of resources ( Wolfson et al. 1995 ).

Given the low level of enforcement activity, it is not surprising that many adults do not hesitate to sell or give alcohol to minors. To create a deterrent effect, we need to increase the likelihood of facing negative consequences for illegally selling or providing alcohol to youth. One approach is to encourage ABC and local law enforcement agencies to increase enforcement against illegal alcohol providers. Preusser and colleagues (1994) found dramatic reductions in alcohol sales to minors (from 59 percent at baseline to 26 percent 1 year later) following an enforcement campaign involving three “sting operations” in which underage males attempted to purchase alcohol.

In addition to increasing enforcement of the MLDA, other procedures and policies can be implemented to improve the effectiveness of MLDA laws. To ensure that adults do not sell or provide alcohol to minors, both public and institutional policies can be developed that complement MLDA laws ( Wagenaar et al. 1996 a ). Alcohol establishments, for example, can implement several policies and practices, including (1) requiring all alcohol servers to receive responsible service training on how to check age identification and refuse sales to teenagers, (2) establishing systems to monitor servers to prevent illegal sales to youth, and (3) posting warning signs ( Wolfson et al. 1996 a , b ). Wolfson and colleagues (1996 a , b ) found that establishments adhering to these policies were less likely to sell alcohol to young women who appeared to be under age 21 and who did not present age identification.

The Ongoing MLDA Debate

Despite an abundance of research demonstrating the effectiveness of the age-21 MLDA at saving lives and reducing alcohol-related problems, several States are again considering lowering their legal age limits for drinking. Louisiana’s MLDA of 21 was recently challenged in court on the premise that it violates the State’s constitutional law regarding age discrimination. Louisiana’s State Supreme Court concluded, however, that “. . . statutes establishing the minimum drinking age at a level higher than the age of majority are not arbitrary because they substantially further the appropriate governmental purpose of improving highway safety, and thus are constitutional” ( Manuel v. State of Louisiana [La. 1996] ). In other words, because the MLDA was based on empirical evidence that such laws saved lives, the court decided that the law was not arbitrary and thus did not violate Louisiana’s constitution. Despite the Louisiana decision, the MLDA of 21 also may be challenged in other States.

The same arguments used to lower the MLDA 20 years ago are being used today (see sidebar , pp. 216–217). Despite ongoing debates about the MLDA, research demonstrates the effectiveness of a higher MLDA in preventing alcohol-related injuries and deaths among youth. As the MLDA’s were lowered, rates of injuries and deaths increased; when the MLDA’s were raised, injuries and deaths significantly decreased. The benefit of using environmental (i.e., external) approaches, such as the MLDA, is further supported by the fact that drinking rates were reduced even after youth turned age 21. In contrast, individual approaches (e.g., school-based programs) have generated only short-term reductions in underage drinking. This finding suggests that to create long-term changes in youth drinking and alcohol-related problems, strategies that change the environment should be used.

The Public Debate Over the MLDA

The public debate over reducing the legal drinking age has remained essentially unchanged since the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) was first lowered in the 1970’s. Following are some frequently asked questions concerning the MLDA, along with answers based on the research findings to date.

Question: If States are the only entities that have the right to establish a minimum drinking age, does Federal legislation concerning this policy area infringe on State powers?

Answer: The initial movement to raise the MLDA to 21 was largely fueled by citizen action groups in several States, which raised their drinking ages before the Federal Government passed any legislation on the matter. Moreover, the Federal Government encouraged States to increase their MLDA’s to 21 to reduce traffic crashes caused by people driving to States that had lower MLDA’s. The Federal Government did not mandate the change. Polls continue to show strong public support for the drinking age of 21 ( Wagenaar 1993 a ).

Question: Many Europeans let their children drink from an early age, and European countries do not have the same alcohol-related problems that we do. Therefore, how can people claim that MLDA’s are a major factor in helping to prevent alcohol problems in the United States?

Answer: Research confirms that European countries do experience alcohol-related problems. For example, European countries have rates of alcohol-induced diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver, similar to (or higher than) the United States ( Single 1984 ). Drunk driving among youth may not be as great a problem in Europe; compared with youth in the United States, European youth obtain their drivers’ licenses at an older age, are less able to afford automobiles, and more often use public transportation. Youth in Europe thus may be at lower risk of traffic crashes simply because they drive less frequently than their U.S. counterparts. Other alcohol-related problems are significant enough in Europe that those countries are examining the U.S. experience regarding MLDA policy and are initiating a debate over the most appropriate age for legal access to alcohol ( Wagenaar 1993 a ).

In reviewing another country’s success with a given policy, one cannot simply compare international rates of alcohol-related problems without assessing the role of factors that contribute to the problems. Many cultural, political, and social conditions, which differ from country to country, affect drinking rates. The most robust research, although conducted in the United States, has shown a strong inverse relationship between MLDA and alcohol consumption and its related problems: As MLDA increases, alcohol-related problems among youth decrease. As MLDA changes occur in Europe, researchers will be able to determine more accurately the effect of a higher MLDA on alcohol-related problems among European youth.

Question: If a person is old enough to serve in the military, how can he or she not be old enough to buy alcohol?

Answer: Different activities have different ages of initiation: A person can drive at age 16, vote in elections and serve in the military at age 18, and serve as President at age 35. These restrictions are based on the requirements of the specific activities (e.g., motor skills, capacity for judgment, and experience) and take into account the risks and benefits of participation at different ages ( Fell 1985 ). For example, research shows that at a given blood alcohol concentration, youth are more likely to be impaired than adults. Underage drinking is strongly related to serious public health problems, including injuries and death resulting from motor vehicle crashes, homicide, assault, and recreational injury. Consequently, policymakers and researchers have come to believe that risk both to youth and to society in general can be reduced by restricting people below age 21 from drinking.

Question: How can researchers be sure that the drop in rates of alcohol-related crashes among 19-and 20-year-olds following the increase in the MLDA to 21 was related to MLDA policy?

Answer: When the age-21 restriction was initiated, alcohol-involved highway crashes declined among 18- to 20-year-olds. This decline occurred with limited enforcement of the MLDA laws. The decline is therefore not attributable to drinking-driving enforcement and tougher penalties but directly results from lower consumption levels ( O’Malley and Wagenaar 1991 ).

Question: If people cannot legally drink until they are 21, will they just drink more when they reach the MLDA?

Answer: Research indicates that the opposite is true ( Wagenaar 1993 b ). In fact, early legal access to alcohol (i.e., at age 18) is associated with higher rates of drinking later in life. Research shows that when the MLDA is 21, people under age 21 drink less and continue to do so through their early twenties. Those who are inclined to drink do not “make up for lost time” after turning 21 ( O’Malley and Wagenaar 1991 ).

—Carolyn Rosenfeld

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Despite the MLDA of 21, minors still have easy access to alcohol from commercial and social sources. The observed benefits of the MLDA have occurred with little or no active enforcement; simply by increasing enforcement levels and deterring adults from selling or providing alcohol to minors, even more injuries and deaths related to alcohol use among youth can be prevented each year.

This research was funded in part by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grants R01AA10426 and R01AA09142 to Alexander C. Wagenaar.

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Why the drinking age should be lowered

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Why the drinking age should be lowered: an opinion based upon research.

Engs, Ruth C. (1997, 2014). “Why the drinking age should be lowered: An opinion based upon research. Indiana University: Bloomington, IN. Adapted from: IUScholarWorks Repository:  http://hdl.handle.net/2022/17594

The legal drinking age should be lowered to about 18 or 19 and young adults allowed to drink in controlled environments such as restaurants, taverns, pubs and official school and university functions. In these situations responsible drinking could be taught through role modeling and educational programs. Mature and sensible drinking behavior would be expected. This opinion is based upon research that I have been involved in for over thirty years concerning college age youth and the history of drinking in the United States and other cultures.

Although the legal purchase age is 21 years of age, a majority of college students under this age consume alcohol but in an irresponsible manner. This is because drinking by these youth is seen as an enticing "forbidden fruit," a "badge of rebellion against authority" and a symbol of "adulthood." As a nation we have tried prohibition legislation twice in the past for controlling irresponsible drinking problems. This was during National Prohibition in the 1920s and state prohibition during the 1850s. These laws were finally repealed because they were unenforceable and because the backlash towards them caused other social problems. Today we are repeating history and making the same mistakes that occurred in the past. Prohibition did not work then and prohibition for young people under the age of 21 is not working now.

The flaunting of the current laws is readily seen among university students. Those under the age of 21 are more likely to be heavy -- sometimes called "binge" -- drinkers (consuming over 5 drinks at least once a week). For example, 22% of all students under 21 compared to 18% over 21 years of age are heavy drinkers. Among drinkers only, 32% of under-age compared to 24% of legal age are heavy drinkers.

Research from the early 1980s until the present has shown a continuous decrease, and then leveling off, in drinking and driving related variables which has parallel the nation's, and also university students, decrease in per capita consumption. However, these declines started in 1980 before the national 1987 law which mandated states to have 21 year old alcohol purchase laws.

The decrease in drinking and driving problems are the result of many factors and not just the rise in purchase age or the decreased per capita consumption. These include: education concerning drunk driving, designated driver programs, increased seat belt and air bag usage, safer automobiles, lower speed limits, free taxi services from drinking establishments, etc.

While there has been a decrease in per capita consumption and motor vehicle crashes, unfortunately, during this same time period there was an INCREASE in other problems related to heavy and irresponsible drinking among college age youth. Most of these reported behaviors showed little change until AFTER the 21 year old law in 1987. For example from 1982 until 1987 about 46% of students reported "vomiting after drinking." This jumped to over 50% after the law change. Significant increase were also found for other variables: "cutting class after drinking" jumped from 9% to almost 12%; "missing class because of hangover" went from 26% to 28%; "getting lower grade because of drinking" rose from 5% to 7%; and "been in a fight after drinking" increased from 12% to 17%. All of these behaviors are indices of irresponsible drinking. This increase in abusive drinking behavior is due to "underground drinking" outside of adult supervision in student rooms, houses, and apartments where same age individuals congregate. The irresponsible behavior is exhibited because of lack of knowledge of responsible drinking behaviors, reactance motivation (rebellion against the law), or student sub-culture norms.

Beginning in the first decade of the 21st century, distilled spirits [hard liquor] began to be the beverage of choice rather than beer among collegians. Previously beer had been the beverage of choice among students. A 2013 study of nursing students, for example, revealed that they consumed an average of 4.3 shots of liquor compared to 2.6 glasses of beer on a weekly basis.

This change in beverage choice along with irresponsible drinking patterns among young collegians has led to increased incidences of alcohol toxicity - in some cases leading to death from alcohol poisoning. However, the percent of students who consume alcohol or are heavy or binge drinkers has been relatively stable for the past 30 years.

Based upon the fact that our current prohibition laws are not working, the need for alternative approaches from the experience of other, and more ancient cultures, who do not have these problems need to be tried. Groups such as Italians, Greeks, Chinese and Jews, who have few drinking related problems, tend to share some common characteristics. Alcohol is neither seen as a poison or a magic potent, there is little or no social pressure to drink, irresponsible behavior is never tolerated, young people learn at home from their parents and from other adults how to handle alcohol in a responsible manner, there is societal consensus on what constitutes responsible drinking. Because the 21 year old drinking age law is not working, and is counterproductive, it behooves us as a nation to change our current prohibition law and to teach responsible drinking techniques for those who chose to consume alcoholic beverages.

Research articles that support this opinion are found in the Indiana University Repository at: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/17133/browse?type=title

and https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/17130/browse?type=title

Some material here also used in: Engs, Ruth C. "Should the drinking age be lowered to 18 or 19." In Karen Scrivo, "Drinking on Campus," CQ Researcher 8 (March 20,1998):257.

Alcohol Research and Health History resources

(c) Copyright, 1975-2023. Ruth C. Engs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405


Research Paper Drinking Age

Persuasive essay on drinking age.

The legal drinking age is a highly debated topic in the United States and Canada. The drinking age refers to the age when people are allowed to buy and consume alcohol. The drinking age varies from country to country, and in some cases state to state. South Dakota, for example, allows teens to drink at 18 with adult permission unlike many other states in the U.S. Many people are happy with the current drinking age where it's at, but many want it lowered to 18. Those people that want it lowered think that when people turn 18, they are considered adults and should have all the rights and privileges that 21 year olds possess. Many people disagree with this and think adolescents are not fully responsible until they are 21. This has become a major debate in our country over the past few years as we have seen an increase in underage drinking. Being a legal drinker requires lots of responsibility and smart decision making.

The Legal Drinking Age Of The United States

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21, while in other countries the legal age ranges from 16-18. The argument in the United States is “Should the United States lower its drinking age?” There are many sides to this argument but research has given many good points to back up both sides of the question. First thing is the difference between a teen’s brain with alcohol and an adult’s brain with alcohol. Another thing is drinking at a younger age can help teach culture. Lastly the more alcohol exposed the increase in death rate. I believe that it is a good idea to keep the legal drinking age at age 21 because in our past we have had many problems with death increases due to the drinking age being at different ages and the research used uses pathos, logos, ethos and Kairos to help persuade the reader support that 21 should stay the legal drinking age.

The Problem Of Teen Drinking

Every 51 minutes in America, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. A dangerous issue facing society today is the problem of teen drinking and driving. Currently an approximate of 10,076 people die in drunk driving crashes per year. If positive progress to ceasing this act does not happen, teens will continue to drink and drive putting everybody on the road at risk. Teens who drink and drive put everyone on the road at risk, causing serious crashes that could be preventable.

The Drinking Age Should Stay At 21

In the United States, 18-year-olds are considered adults. They can vote, get married and get a license for a gun yet they are not allowed to drink. Many people think that the drinking age should be 18, but others strongly believe it should be 21 for doing all kinds of things. Drinking in the United States has become a controversy for the drinking age; 18 or 21. There are many reasons why the drinking age should stay the same and many of why it should be 18. Even though many Americans think that people under 21 do not have the capacity to handle drinking, in my opinion, drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18 because teenagers at the age of 18 can make important decisions, so drinking should be a decision they can too decide whether to

Throughout the world, the age when a child becomes an adult is at the age 18. Most people gain the right to vote, start to work for themselves, drive in certain countries. All of this being said, an additional privilege is the ability for one to be able to legally drink. The United States is one of the only countries who´s legal drinking age is separate from the declared age of an official adult under the law. The idea of putting restrictions on a “legal” adult, makes the issue more complicated for that their are still restrictions that make an adult like a child. The legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered to the age of 18 because it will not only give the full right of passage into adulthood, but it is important to keep on par with our international community in terms of underlying laws to each government and their respective cultures.

Drinking Age Annotated Bibliography Essay

The legal drinking age in the United States is the only age that is above 19 years of age. Everywhere else in the world the age is 19 and under and some countries don’t even have a drinking age. The drinking age should be lowered to 18 because it will help all the problems that come with underage drinking. There is a numerous amount of reasons to change the drinking age to 18 and there are also many opposing thoughts on it as well. Three reasons to lower the drinking age in the US is to stop all of the illegal issues involved with underage drinking, Stop or cut down on the overuse of alcohol and drugs and the changing of adulthood when you turn the age

The Legal Drinking Age

In the United States the legal drinking age is 21 years old, while quite drastically all over the world the drinking ages in many countries are 18. If these countries have lower drinking ages and statistically better education scores and crime rates it could be beneficial for the government to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18, or it may be detrimental to the society.

Drinking Age Research Paper

People acknowledge that the United States should lower the legal drinking age or keep it at twenty-one years of age. The cancellation of the alcohol Prohibition by the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933. Which allowed the states to make their own alcohol consumption laws. All of the states in the US have set there legal drinking age to twenty-one but there are some exceptions in states for consumption of alcohol at home, under adult supervision, and other reason falling in that category.I feel that the US should keep the drinking age at twenty-one years of age.

Teenage Drinking And Driving Essay

The sobering fact is drivers under the age of 21 are responsible for 17% of fatal alcohol related accidents, even though they represent only 10% of licensed drivers (Stim, R. Teen Drunk Driving: The Sobering Facts of Underage DUIs (n.d.). There are approximately 2000 deaths associated with under aged drinking and according to the blood alcohol content of the victims, the main contributing factor is binge drinking, averaging 5 times the legal limit. Research has also shown that more times than not, the underage drunk driving is not wearing seat belts, increasing the chances of a fatal accident. They have found that this # is 74% of the population of drunk drivers involved in fatal

Does drinking alcohol make you an adult? In the article called,¨Drinking age laws affect teen accident rate¨ on cdc.gov some provinces in Canada were recommended to change the drinking age to 21 due to many teen drunk driving accidents. If only the provinces of Canada would change the official drinking age to 21 then this change can save teen lives from devastating car accidents. This big change can help other countries from around the world decide the official age to drink alcohol.

Changing The Drinking Age

The drinking age has been a controversial issue for many years. Each democratic country has imposed a certain legal drinking age. The government of the United States of America has an uncompromising and conclusive prospect on the matter; they insist the legal drinking age be 21. As set laws are typically imposed to serve a specific demographic, there will constantly be certain minorities or groups who possess conflicting views. Teenagers exploit the system in many ways by buying alcohol with fake identification cards, drinking illegally, and going into bars. There are multiple factors for the reason that the legal drinking age should be changed to 18. One of the most obvious reasons for changing the drinking age would the amount of people who

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21, while in other countries the legal age ranges from 16-18. The argument in the United States is, “Should the United States lower its drinking age?” There are many sides to this argument but research has given many good points to back up both sides of the question. First issue is the difference between a teen’s brain with alcohol and an adult’s brain with alcohol. Another concern is that drinking at a younger age can help teach culture. Lastly, the more alcohol that people are exposed to, there is an increase in death rate. I believe that it is a good idea to keep the legal drinking age at age 21 because in our past we have had many problems with increased deaths due to the drinking age being at different ages. My research used uses pathos, logos, ethos and kairos to help persuade the reader that 21 should stay the legal drinking age.

Effects Of Lowering The Drinking Age To 18

Many teenagers and young adults drink and drive because they often drink in secluded and irresponsible environments where they are allowed to leave in vehicles, even while under the influence. This has caused an incredibly large amounts of horrific wrecks, many of which claimed the lives of teenagers and young adults. Also, the majority of alcohol related injuries are not even caused by underage adults. There are also countries who have fewer alcohol related wrecks, even though the legal drinking age is eighteen in these countries. By lowering the legal drinking age many underge adults would not have to drive to such secluded and irresponsible locations. Underage adults could consume alcohol in locations where driving under the influence could be prevented. By preventing under the influence driving, many vehicular accidents could be prevented and lives could be potentially

Under The Drinking Age Essay

Movies often portray college or even high school parties consisting of alcoholic beverages. Falling not far from reality, it is very common for college students to have a diverse age group of friends, meaning a person over the legal drinking age.The reason for most underage DUIs is because of the fact that they would rather drive influenced on the contrary to risking punishment from the law or even being kicked out of their college. According to the New York Times magazine since the National Minimum Drinking Age passed the copious amount of DUI’s for those in the age of 18 to 21, has increased by 53% of fatal DUI’s. In England, where the drinking age is eighteen, the present of fatal DUI’s is 17%(2) lower then the United States for those in the same age group.

Research Paper On Underage Drinking

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Related Topics

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