The United States Should Lower the Legal Drinking Age to Eighteen Essay

The United States Should Lower the Legal Drinking Age to Eighteen Essay

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The United States’ minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) of twenty one is almost a perfect example of a policy with unrealistic expectations and serious unintended consequences. The current policy that the United States has in effect criminalizes youth who consume alcohol at less than twenty one years of age. Young adults are going to drink under twenty one, so why shouldn’t the United States lower the MLDA to eighteen? Following Prohibition in 1933, many states made their MLDA twenty one. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, many states lowered it to eighteen to match the drafting age (Alcohol Policy MD). President Reagan passed The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 which required all states to raise their minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol age to twenty one. States that did not comply faced a reduction in highway funds by ten percent under the Federal Highway Aid Act (US Senate 125). Society surely understands that people drink and drive, but why should the federal government threaten each state with reduction of highway funds if they don’t raise their MLDA to twenty one? Head of the Sociology department of State University of New York, Professor David Hanson writes that there are many countries in the world that have MLDA’s at eighteen, eighty two to be exact. The United States is one of eight countries in the world with the MLDA of twenty one; the rest of the countries are lower. Between 1996 and 2006, in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, where the MLDA is 16, drunk driving accidents actually reduced 10% every year on average (European Transport Safety Council 1). I feel that MLDA is ineffective as persons under twenty one will drink whether or not a law is in place and enforced. Others may feel that MLDA twent...


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...eb. 04 Nov. 2013. .


Parish, Jill. "Alcohol Information Directed at Underage Students: Abstinence or Education." N.p., Spring 2004. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. .
US Senate. "Title 23 U.S.C. Highways." US Senate Committtee Environment and Public Works. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 Nov. 2013. .
Wechsler, Henry, and Bernice Wuethrich. Dying to Drink: Confronting Binge Drinking on College Campuses. [Emmaus, Pa.]: Rodale, 2002. Print.
White, Lyzi. "You Can Go to War, But Can't Drink Alcohol." The Spectrum. N.p., 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. .

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