The conclusion of this latest study is not too surprising, according to Dr. Donald Vereen, director of the Center for Addiction Research at the University of Michigan. “Magic bullets don`t work for problems or problems that affect people,” he tells Shots. And lowering the drinking age won`t stop minors from drinking, he says. In the decades since 1991, however, America has experienced several problematic trends in the drinking culture of its youth. For example, while men have traditionally had higher rates of binge drinking than women, this gender gap is now narrowing. Research shows that rates of alcohol consumption and heavy drinking among women and girls are now on the rise. The article, published Monday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, even goes so far as to say “case closed” – the minimum drinking age saves lives. But when the U.S. Heath and other researchers still dare to ask an unpopular question: Would America be better served by lowering its drinking age — or at least by encouraging states to set their own borders? “On the other hand, we have created a real dilemma on the university campus, where almost half of the people are allowed to drink legally and the other half are not allowed to drink legally. And I think that creates all sorts of dysfunctional and strange consumption habits as a result. I think setting an age where it would be legal for [all] students to drink would probably improve things,” he said. Lawmakers in seven states are actively considering legislation that would lower the legal drinking age.
But McCardell doesn`t give up. He believes legal limits on alcohol consumption should be set by the states, not the federal government. NIH studies also found that teens who started drinking before the age of 15 were four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence during their lifetime than those who started drinking at age 21 or later. There has been a slight increase in traffic violations committed by drivers around the currently prescribed age of 18. However, the analysis found little evidence that 18- and 19-year-olds committed more alcohol-related crimes after reaching the legal purchasing age. Proponents of lowering the legal drinking age argue that the laws have not discouraged teens from drinking and actually contribute to excessive drinking behind closed doors and in places unsupervised by an adult. They also argue that current laws have not resulted in fewer motor vehicle accidents caused by alcohol consumption. In a recent study, researchers found that monthly consumption increased significantly when individuals reached the age of 18 and could legally purchase alcohol.
Since the `80s, groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and why21.org have cited research findings for their continued support at 21 as the legal drinking age. “These people stand out,” said Rep. David Floyd of Kentucky, who supports lowering the drinking age to 18 and believes the responsibility recruits take on with military service shows their ability to make mature decisions about alcohol. The report also examines drinking patterns in other countries, with particular attention to New Zealand, which lowered its drinking age from 20 to 18 in 1999. Several studies have found an increase in alcohol-related car accidents and an increase in alcohol consumption among minors aged 16 and 17. The declaration proposed numerous changes to reduce easy access to alcohol, including raising the legal purchasing age from 18 to 20. Since then, alcohol consumption by high school students has decreased significantly, from 66% to 42% (see chart). Over the same period, binge drinking among high school graduates, that is, five or more drinks occasionally, decreased from 37% to 24%. In 2004, a group of more than 100 university presidents and chancellors launched an initiative to lower the minimum drinking age, saying that if students could drink legally, colleges would be able to better monitor their alcohol consumption and help them reduce the habit. Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, which sets the legal purchasing age at 21. “Clinical trials have shown that when university towns go more to enforce the law — and make this fact known to students — students` alcohol consumption decreases,” DeJong said.
Floyd views his efforts to lower the drinking age in Kentucky as military law rather than a liquor law, and would oppose extending the law to non-military personnel. Any state that plans to lower the drinking age could lose up to 10 percent of its federal money for highways. “If we decide to lower the legal drinking age, there will be consequences,” said William DeJong, lead author of the study and professor of health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. The Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) sets the legal age at which a person can purchase alcoholic beverages. The MLDA in the United States is 21 years. However, prior to the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, the legal age at which alcohol could be purchased varied from state to state.1 When asked what the legal drinking age should be in the United States, Heath answered 8 or maybe even 6. In this way, he says, parents educate their children about alcohol and deprive drinking of its taboo appeal, which can lead rebellious teens to sneak into basements and woods to drink away from adult supervision. A U.S. study examined the evolution of crime rates around the legal drinking age of 21 in states where drinking and purchasing alcohol before the age of 21 is not allowed.
Experts say lowering the drinking age remains a tough sell to politicians worried about re-election. A 2007 Gallup poll found that 77 percent of Americans opposed lowering the drinking age to 18 in all states. “In short, based on research, current alcohol laws are counterproductive. For this reason, I recommend lowering the drinking age in controlled environments such as campus restaurants and pubs or at all times with parents, in addition to not allowing young adults to buy alcohol in retail stores to take drinks home, as this is not responsible drinking behavior.” said Ruth Engs, professor emeritus of applied health sciences at Indiana University. On the other hand, many studies have shown that a higher legal drinking age leads to lower alcohol consumption. In one of the most recent studies, researchers found that in 2011, 36 percent of college students reported drinking alcohol in the past two weeks, up from 43 percent of college students in 1988, the first year the Age 21 law was passed by all states. “Research shows that this saves lives,” agreed Jan Withers, national president of MADD. In fact, it`s one of the best-researched public health laws on books. When the law was raised to 21, alcohol-related deaths among youth decreased; As the drinking age has been lowered, deaths have increased. Eighty percent of students say they drink, even though laws prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from drinking alcohol.
Critics of this drinking age say reduce alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol-related deaths. U. States may differ in the details of their laws regarding alcohol possession, adult alcohol monitoring or home drinking, but all 50 states have maintained a minimum drinking age of 21 since at least 1988. However, the merits of these laws continue to be debated. Proponents say higher drinking age reduces alcohol-related crashes However, the new study found that young people have been drinking less since the legal drinking age was set at 21 and are less likely to have traffic accidents. As two decades of data show, allowing young people to drink has led to an increase in some, but not all, types of crime. Understanding the impact of lowering the drinking age in New Zealand can influence the ongoing policy debate and give policymakers insight into how these types of thresholds can change society in unexpected ways. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that between 1998 and 2005, the number of deaths from alcohol poisoning among 18- to 24-year-olds nearly tripled, from 779 cases to 2,290.