In the United States, the minimum legal drinking age is 21. According to David Hanson of the New York State University in Potsdam, it was officially changed July 17, 1984 when President Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimum Legal Drinking Age Act (Hanson “Minimum Legal Drinking Ages Around the World”). To guarantee states’ compliance with the law, Congress punished any state that chose to maintain their below 21 legal drinking age with a ten percent cut to their federal highway fund (Hanson “Minimum Legal Drinking Ages Around the World”).
Although the minimum legal drinking age is technically 21, there are many exceptions to the law. For example, in most states, underage drinking is permitted for established religious purposes. Other less common exceptions include drinking with a parent’s consent, and drinking for educational, governmental, or medical reasons (Alcohol Policy Information System).
Throughout the years, the legal drinking age has accumulated great criticism. Many believe the legal drinking age has not done enough to solve the problems of alcohol, and some go as far as to say it has been counterproductive. However, the legal drinking age has saved lives, and keeping it at 21 will continue to keep youths safer as well as help prevent and decrease alcohol related injuries, traffic accidents, and deaths.
As stated previously, a large number of people believe the legal drinking age’...
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O'Donnell, Mary A. "Research on Drinking Locations of Alcohol Impaired Drivers: Implications for Prevention Policies." Journal of Public Health (n.d.): 512-25.
“Reducing Underage and Young Adult Drinking.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NIAAA. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
“The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.” US Department of Human Health and Services. DHHS. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
“Traffic Safety Facts.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. < http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811870.pdf>
“Why 21?” Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD. Web. 13 Feb. 2014
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