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How to Write a Research Paper

Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.

Start the Research Process

Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.

Develop Your Thesis Statement

When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.

Create an Outline

Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.

Organize Your Notes

When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.

Write Your Final Draft

After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.


research paper on drinking age

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Will Increasing Alcohol Availability By Lowering the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Decrease Drinking and Related Consequences Among Youths?

H. Wechsler was the principal investigator of the College Alcohol Study. T. F. Nelson was a co-investigator of the College Alcohol Study. Both authors contributed to the conceptualization, writing, editing, and approval of the article.

Alcohol use health consequences are considerable; prevention efforts are needed, particularly for adolescents and college students. The national minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is a primary alcohol-control policy in the United States. An advocacy group supported by some college presidents seeks public debate on the minimum legal drinking age and proposes reducing it to 18 years.

We reviewed recent trends in drinking and related consequences, evidence on effectiveness of the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years, research on drinking among college students related to the minimum legal drinking age, and the case to lower the minimum legal drinking age.

Evidence supporting the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is strong and growing. A wide range of empirically supported interventions is available to reduce underage drinking. Public health professionals can play a role in advocating these interventions.

SINCE 1984 THE NATIONAL minimum legal drinking age in the United States has been 21 years. During the intervening 25 years there have been periodic efforts to lower the minimum legal drinking age, including recent legislation introduced in 7 states, although none of these bills have been enacted. In 2008 a group of university and college presidents expressed their discontent with the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years by signing on to the Amethyst Initiative, a much publicized advocacy effort to encourage public debate about lowering the drinking age. This group of college presidents, and their partner organization, Choose Responsibility, propose reducing the minimum legal drinking age to 18 years. This policy change is a central feature of a campaign its organizers contend will help young adults aged 18 to 20 years make healthy decisions about alcohol and lead to reductions in drinking and its negative effects. Because the consequences of alcohol use are considerable, and changes in the minimum legal drinking age may have important ramifications for health and safety, this issue requires serious consideration and participation from the public health community.


Alcohol consumption is the third leading actual cause of death in the United States, a major contributing factor to unintentional injuries, the leading cause of death for youths and young adults, and accounts for an estimated 75 000 or more total deaths in the United States annually. 1 – 3 Alcohol use is associated with a wide range of adverse health and social consequences, including physical and sexual assault, unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, violence, vandalism, crime, overdose, other substance use, and high-risk behavior, resulting in a heavy burden of social and health costs. 2 , 4 , 5 Drinking alcohol most commonly begins during adolescence and early initiation of alcohol use is associated with alcohol problems in adulthood. 6 , 7 Underage drinkers drink on fewer occasions, but when they drink they are more likely to binge drink. 8 , 9 In recognition of the harms caused by underage drinking the US Surgeon General issued a Call to Action in 2007 to prevent and reduce drinking among youths. 5


Minimum legal drinking age laws have been a primary alcohol-control strategy in the United States for 75 years. When the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution repealed Prohibition in 1933, most states set a minimum legal drinking age of 21 years, although the specific provisions of the law in each state varied. 10 These laws began to change in the 1970s when many states lowered the minimum legal drinking age along with reducing the minimum age to vote during the Vietnam War. 11

The lower minimum legal drinking age was followed by increases in the sale and consumption of alcohol and in alcohol-involved traffic fatalities, particularly among young adults aged 18–20 years. 12 – 14 On the basis of these unintended health consequences of the lower drinking age, some states reinstated the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years. 15 By the early 1980s, this situation created a patchwork of differential legal restrictions across states and contributed to the problem of underage youths in states with a minimum legal drinking age of 21 years driving to states with a lower minimum legal drinking age to purchase and consume alcohol. In direct response to these concerns, Congress and President Ronald Reagan worked to create a consistent national drinking age. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act became law in 1984, requiring that states prohibit the purchase and public possession of alcohol for persons aged younger than 21 years in order to receive all of their federal highway funds. 16 By 1988 all states had a minimum legal drinking age of 21 years.


Overall in the United States, alcohol consumption, heavy drinking, and daily alcohol use have declined among young adults aged 18–20 years since the early 1980s, whereas shifts in drinking behavior among young adults aged 21 to 24 years have been more gradual and less consistent. 17 , 18 Increases in binge drinking have been observed among young adults aged 21–24 years in the past decade, but drinking among those aged 18–20 years has remained stable during this time period for both college students and their peers who were not in college. 19 Consistent with declining trends in consumption, the percentage of traffic fatalities involving alcohol declined dramatically from the early 1980s (when reliable national data first existed) through 1997, when rates leveled off. 13 Figure 1 shows these national trends in alcohol-involved motor vehicle fatalities for youths aged 16 to 20 years and those aged 21–24 years with data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a census of deaths from traffic fatalities in the United States.

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Percentage of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities among young adults aged 16 to 24 years, by age group: United States, 1982–2007.

Source . National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System.


Although heavy drinking among older adolescents and young adults has declined over the past decades, no such declines have occurred among college students. 17 , 18 , 20 , 21 College students are more likely to engage in heavy drinking than their peers who do not attend college, 19 , 22 – 24 with 2 in 5 students nationally engaging in binge drinking on at least 1 occasion in the past 2 weeks. 18 , 21 Approximately three quarters of college students aged 18–20 years drank alcohol in the past year, although they are less likely than their peers of legal drinking age to drink and to engage in binge drinking. 8 , 19 The heaviest-drinking college students are more likely to have been heavy drinkers in high school. 25 – 29

College students are heavy drinkers as a group, but drinking behavior varies widely by college. 30 , 31 College environments that afford easy access to low-cost alcohol, have few policies restricting accessibility to alcohol, and have lax enforcement of existing policies create the conditions for heavy drinking among college students. 8 , 30 , 32 – 43 The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act requires college administrators to enforce the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years, a restriction that targets approximately half of the traditional college student population. However, surveys of college administrators indicate that enforcement of alcohol policies at most colleges is limited, and colleges tend to focus their prevention efforts on educational programs for students. 44 , 45 One national survey found that fewer than 1 in 10 underage students who drink alcohol reported experiencing any consequences for violating alcohol policies imposed by their college. 8

Although the level of enforcement of the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is low nationally, enforcement and comprehensiveness of policy restrictions do make a difference. At colleges where campus security strongly enforces the alcohol policy, students perceive the stronger enforcement efforts and are less likely to binge drink. 34 Underage students who attend college in states with a comprehensive set of control policies restricting underage drinking are less likely to binge drink than underage students in states with no similar policies. 8


The overall lack of progress in reducing drinking and related problems among college students nationally is of concern to many college officials. 44 As of November 2009, presidents and chancellors of 135 colleges and universities have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative ( ) calling for a public debate about lowering the minimum legal drinking age to 18 years. 46 Specifically, they suggest that the current minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is not working to prevent youths from using alcohol and experiencing the negative consequences of drinking. The Amethyst Initiative suggests that the observed declines in drinking, traffic fatalities, and related harms since the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years became law are a result of other factors, such as improvements in motor vehicle safety, and not the change in the minimum legal drinking age. Furthermore, they contend that drinking among young adults aged 18–20 years is being driven underground by the minimum legal drinking age away from bars—where it is more carefully monitored—to private parties, which are less safe. Some college presidents have expressed concern that these unsafe drinking environments have contributed to an increase in alcohol poisoning deaths among youths and young adults. They also argue that young adults aged 18–20 years drink more responsibly in Western European countries where the minimum legal drinking age is lower.

Several researchers have examined these and other assertions regarding the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years in detail with available scientific evidence. 46 – 48 Public health professionals should become familiar with these arguments and the evidence to advocate effective public policy.


The minimum legal drinking age has been perhaps the single most studied alcohol-control policy. 12 , 46 , 48 , 49 Differences in laws among states and within states over time have allowed researchers to study the effect of this policy and come to some reliable conclusions. A review of 241 studies published between 1960 and 2000 that examined the effects of lowering or raising minimum drinking age laws identified 135 high-quality studies in terms of sampling, research design, and having an appropriate comparison group. 12 Of the 79 quality studies that examined the relationship between the minimum legal drinking age and traffic crashes, 58% found fewer crashes associated with a higher minimum legal drinking age, whereas no study found fewer crashes associated with a lower minimum legal drinking age. 12 Consistent with these findings, a higher minimum legal drinking age was associated with lower rates of alcohol consumption and other alcohol-related problems. 12

Similar conclusions have been reached by subsequent studies that have accounted for other prevention policies and demographic shifts over time. 13 , 50 – 52 Although 1 recent study cited by proponents of lowering the minimum legal drinking age concluded that the minimum legal drinking age does not save lives, the authors used methods that differed from those of other studies. 53 The study compared states that adopted the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years early with those who adopted it later and concluded that later-adopting states (i.e., states that were compelled by the national policy) had no significant reduction in traffic fatalities. The analysis shows that early and late adopting states both had declines that were similar in magnitude, but these trends were not directly compared. They also examined overall fatalities, including those that did not involve alcohol, which would not be sensitive to changes in the minimum legal drinking age.

Another study of adults in the United States found that those who were legally able to purchase alcohol before age 21 years were more likely than those who could not to meet criteria for alcohol use disorder or another drug use disorder later in life. 54 Despite uneven and sometimes lax enforcement, the best available evidence suggests that the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years has saved more than 800 lives annually among young adults aged 18–20 years in the United States. 55 , 56

The minimum legal drinking age is not a single law or the sole policy designed to reduce heavy drinking and related harms among youths. It works in concert with other laws and alcohol-control policies. In addition to the effect of the primary restrictions on possessing and purchasing alcohol, other state laws that are designed to restrict underage drinking include zero tolerance laws for drinking and driving, administrative driver's license revocation, restrictions on possession of a false age identification, and mandatory training for servers on policies and procedures to prevent alcohol sales to minors and persons who are obviously intoxicated. In 1982, only 36 laws of this type were passed in all states. By 1997 the cumulative total grew to 204 and reached 245 in 2005. 13

Recent research has examined the relative contribution of these policies and found that, in addition to the effect of the national minimum legal drinking age of 21 years, each of these policy restrictions is independently associated with lower levels of drinking and alcohol-involved fatalities among youths aged younger than 21 years. 8 , 12 , 13 , 50 – 52 Drinking among youths and college students varies by state and is strongly associated with the level of drinking among adults and state alcohol control policies. 33 , 57 States that had more alcohol control policies and laws to complement the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years had lower levels of drinking and related problems among underage youths. 8 , 33 , 50 , 51

Private, off-campus residences and bars are the most frequently cited venues for heavy drinking among underage college students. 8 , 58 However, licensed establishments are not the safe and controlled venues for drinking claimed by the Amethyst Initiative. Despite state-level restrictions on the purchase and consumption of alcohol for persons aged younger than 21 years, many college communities have local ordinances that allow persons aged 18–20 years entry into bars. Underage patrons are frequently able to obtain alcohol and drink heavily in off-campus bars, and heavy drinking is associated with disruptive and aggressive behavior and physical altercations in these venues. 58 , 59 Studies in licensed establishments across multiple communities have shown that a high level of purchase attempts by underage and obviously intoxicated patrons are successful. 60 – 63 Yet when establishment staff are trained and policies are enforced, illegal alcohol sales to these patrons are reduced. 60 , 62

Countries with lower minimum legal drinking ages do not fare better. Contrary to the assertion of the Amethyst Initiative, heavy alcohol use among adolescents is a common problem across Europe. Frequent binge drinking among adolescents aged 15 to 16 years in many countries occurs at more than double the rate as in the United States. 5 , 64 , 65 The European region has the highest overall consumption of alcohol among adults and the highest proportion of alcohol-attributable deaths in the world. 65 Further, the experience with lowering the minimum legal drinking age in other countries is consistent with what occurred in the United States in the 1970s. In 1999 New Zealand lowered its national drinking age from 20 years to 18 years, resulting in significant increases in the occurrence of alcohol-involved emergency room admissions and traffic crashes among youths aged 15 to 19 years. 66 , 67

One impetus for the reduction in the US minimum legal drinking age to 18 years in the 1970s was the institution of the Selective Service System to draft eligible males aged 18 to 25 years into compulsory military service during the Vietnam War. The rationale was that men old enough to serve in the military were old enough to drink alcohol. Recent research has pointed to the significant problem of binge drinking among active duty military personnel, particularly among personnel who are underage, and prompted concern over the negative impact drinking has on job performance and preparedness. 68

Alcohol-related deaths among adolescents and young adults have increased in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact software to assess alcohol-attributable mortality trends with data from the National Vital Statistics System ( ). Table 1 shows that alcohol deaths rose among young adults aged 18 to 24 years for 2001 to 2006, with slightly higher increases among those aged 21–24 years. Most of the increase in deaths resulted from poisonings attributable to alcohol mixed with other substances, including opioids and other narcotics. However, alcohol poisoning deaths for young adults aged 18–20 years in this category did not increase and remain at about 9 or 10 deaths per year. Although a limitation of the ARDI system is that it assumes that the proportion of poisoning deaths over time that are attributable to alcohol is constant, these findings are consistent with an observed increase in the use of prescription drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin among young adults. 18

Trends in Alcohol-Attributable Mortality Among Young Adults Aged 18–24 Years: United States, 2001–2006

Source . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Alcohol-Related Disease Impact software ( ).

The public discussion about the minimum legal drinking age has focused on such arguments as whether the minimum legal drinking age was indeed responsible for observed declines in drinking and related problems. Less attention has been given to the central tenet of the Amethyst Initiative that a lower drinking age would lead to declines in drinking among college students and related problems. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that a lower minimum legal drinking age would create conditions for responsible drinking or would lead young adults aged 18–20 years to make healthy decisions about drinking.


The minimum legal drinking age of 21 years has a strong legal basis and considerable political and empirical support. 46 On the basis of the collective weight of evidence about the minimum legal drinking age, panels of experts and government agencies have consistently concluded that the national minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is effective public policy for reducing drinking and related problems and recommend closing loopholes in the law and strengthening enforcement. A report issued by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in 2002 recognized the distinct problem of drinking among college students and outlined a set of empirically based interventions to prevent and reduce drinking by college students. 69 A prominent recommendation of this report was to increase enforcement of minimum drinking age laws. 69 Other groups that have concluded that the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is an effective policy include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the US Surgeon General, and the Governors Highway Safety Association. The American Public Health Association has been vocal on this issue as well, 70 and in 2008 members supported Policy Statement LB-08-02: “Maintaining and Enforcing the Age-21 Legal Drinking Age.”


The Amethyst Initiative highlights the important and challenging problem of heavy drinking among college students. Despite considerable attention to this issue since the early 1990s, very little progress has been made in reducing drinking and binge drinking among students. 18 , 20 , 21 Colleges and communities can do a number of things to reduce and prevent underage drinking. The NIAAA College Drinking Task Force recommendations included implementation of public information campaigns about, and enforcement of, laws to prevent alcohol-impaired driving, restrictions on alcohol retail outlets, increasing prices and excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, and implementing responsible beverage service policies at on- and off-campus venues. 69 Few colleges have implemented these recommended policies and practices since the release of that report (T. F. Nelson, ScD, unpublished data, 2009). The Amethyst Initiative has not advocated, or taken a position on, any of these empirically based initiatives. 46 It is difficult to imagine how the college presidents who may question the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years can enforce it on their campuses. Public health professionals can partner with colleges and help acquaint administrators with effective alcohol-control strategies, including policies such as the minimum legal drinking age, and counter the misleading messages issued by the Amethyst Initiative.

A major challenge to understanding and evaluating the best available interventions is the lack of consistent, ongoing surveillance research from a national perspective. The Monitoring the Future Study and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health collect data on young people of college age, but, because of their designs, these surveys lack the depth to evaluate changes at the college level that can reduce student drinking. The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study has contributed to the understanding of these issues because it specifically studied students within colleges and assessed the college environments, including policy and programmatic initiatives. 30 However, the most recent nationally representative study of the College Alcohol Study was conducted in 2001. A dedicated, ongoing survey is needed to understand whether progress is being made to reduce heavy drinking among college students.

The weight of the scientific evidence, evaluated by many experts and government agencies, demonstrates that the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years is effective public policy for reducing underage drinking and preventing the negative consequences that can result from underage drinking. The evidence suggests that making alcohol more available by reducing the minimum legal drinking age to 18 years will lead to an increase in drinking and related harms. The evidence shows instead that strengthening enforcement and establishing policies to support the existing minimum legal drinking age are effective approaches to lower alcohol-related morbidity and mortality among youths. Public health professionals can play an important leadership role to prevent and reduce the impact alcohol has on health by advocating effective, empirically supported alcohol-control policy initiatives at the local, state, and national level.


The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study was generously supported by multiple grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

We thank M. Stahre of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Alcohol Team for analysis of the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact system.


Research Paper Drinking Age

The legal drinking age of the united states.

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

Drinking Age Research Paper

I belive drinking age should be changed from twenty-one to eighteen. The drinking age was changed from eighteen to twenty-one in 1984 in the United States. Drinking age is eighteen in many countries such as Germany, Mexico, Turkey and almost all European countries. You have to be eighteen to vote, you have to be eighteen to enlist in the military and actually put your life at risk and make life and death decisions but you can not drink? I believe these are the most important examples to follow for why the government should change the drinking age. Also, to legally bind yourself in marriage, commit for a partnership for life at the age of eighteen but can not have an alcoholic beverage? On top of this, driving age in most states is sixteen.

Legal Drinking Age Essay

For many of the generations living today, the legal drinking age has always been set at twenty-one. In the 1980’s, it rose from eighteen to twenty-one in an attempt to reduce the amount of underage drunk driving accidents. The number of traffic fatalities has significantly declined over the past few decades. However, many would argue that the law has spawned many new problems as well, such as an increase in alcohol poisoning deaths and binge drinking.

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

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

The National Drinking Age Research Paper

In the United States of America, there is a minimum drinking age of 21. The legal drinking age legally specifies the youngest age in which a person is allowed to consume and purchase alcoholic beverages. From country to country, there are varying ages of legal drinking ages. There is much debate in the United States on whether the legal drinking age should be lowered to eighteen from twenty one, or should remain the same. People in favor of lowering the drinking age propose that since eighteen is characterized as being an adult (legally and socially), one of the rights that should come along with that is drinking alcohol. Also, that if we were to lower the drinking age, less young adults would be

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.

Lowering The Drinking Age Research Paper

All 50 states in the United States of America had adopted their minimum age of drinking as 21 since 1980s. The main goal of the increasing legal age of drinking is to reduce traffic incidents. Everyone knows that setting 21 as the legal age of drinking does not stop minors from drinking but it does decrease and prevent lots of young adults form drinking and driving. Nowadays, more and more people consider lowering the drinking age from 21. There are some good arguments for this.

Does drinking alcohol make you an adult? In the article called,¨Drinking age laws affect teen accident rate¨ on 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

Drinking Age To 21 Research Paper

“The health board says some U.S. studies show that country’s legal drinking age of 21 leads to fewer crashes.” (Should we raise the drinking age to 21? (n.d.). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from Underage drinking is a serious issue in Canada and if the legal drinking age is increased from 19 to 21 there will be fewer accidents to deal with. The legal drinking age in Canada should be increased to 21 years old because teenagers will be more responsible when they drink, it sets you for a healthier future, and drinking at a young age can cause major health issues including liver damage.

Research Paper On Underage Drinking

The death of a loved one is a tough thing to bear, it is even worse when that death comes from a

Related Topics

Drinking: 18 vs. 21

Alcohol on campus: debating lowering the drinking age

Caleb daniloff, robin berghaus.

research paper on drinking age

Part four of a five-part series exploring drinking on campus.

It’s the question that has stuck in the craw of underage college students for decades: I can fight and die for this country, so why can’t I crack a beer?

There are no easy answers. But resentment among 18-to-20-year-olds simmers.

For much of the 20th century, the legal drinking age in the United States had a bumpy ride. After Prohibition ended in 1933, you had to be 21 to sidle up to a bar. During the height of the Vietnam War, 18 was your ticket to a six-pack. But by the late ’70s, the minimum drinking age was all over the map, literally, with various states having tacked on an extra year or two.

BU Today Alcohol on Campus: 18 vs 21. 1932 Anti-Prohibition Parade

Finally, in 1984, the federal government, backed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), ordered all 50 states to raise their legal drinking age to 21 years old or suffer a 10 percent cut in their annual federal highway dollars. By 1987, every governor had complied. According to MADD, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act (NMDAA) has saved some 17,000 lives on the highways since 1988.

But some people feel MADD has gone too far. Over the past two decades, several efforts have bubbled up to bring the drinking age back down to 18. The issue caught fire in 2004, when former Middlebury College president John McCardell, alarmed at the intensity of underage drinking, particularly on college campuses, wrote a New York Times op-ed that called the current drinking age “bad social policy and a terrible law.”

“It is astonishing that college students have thus far acquiesced in so egregious an abridgment of the age of majority,” wrote McCardell, now a history professor at Middlebury. “Unfortunately, this acquiescence has taken the form of binge drinking.”

In 2007, McCardell founded Choose Responsibility (CR), a nonprofit group devoted to spreading awareness of the dangers of excessive and reckless alcohol consumption by young adults. CR’s main goal is to lower the drinking age to 18, combined with better education about alcohol use. McCardell has been joined by Barrett Seaman , a veteran Time magazine correspondent and editor and the author of Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess (Wiley, 2005). They argue that the current law has driven underage boozing underground and into dangerous territory. According to the Annual Review of Public Health , as referenced on CR’s website, alcohol annually contributes to some 1,700 deaths, 599,000 injuries, and 97,000 cases of sexual assault among college students.

research paper on drinking age

Attaching available numbers to real progress is a tricky business. MADD claims the higher drinking age is responsible for a decline in annual alcohol-related deaths, from 26,173 in 1982 to 16,885 in 2005, as counted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with alcohol-related fatalities dropping more than highway deaths where booze was not a factor. Opponents point out that the NHTSA’s definition of “alcohol-related deaths” includes all fatalities involving any measurable amount of alcohol in any person involved, including pedestrians. They also note that highway design, vehicle safety, and seat-belt use have markedly improved since the 1980s. Pro-21ers counter with a 2002 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota who reviewed more than 150 studies since NMDAA was enacted that consistently show benefit to the law, as well as popular support. They also note that the age for handgun purchase is 21 as well, and to rent a car is 25.

In 2008, Choose Responsibility launched the Amethyst Initiative , a movement of university and college presidents calling for a reconsideration of the law. Boston University President Robert A. Brown is not among them.

“The Amethyst Initiative proposes that by lowering the drinking age, colleges will be better able to generate awareness of the risk of excessive alcohol use,” Brown says. “I am not convinced this is true, and I worry about the consequences of lowering the age on the large number of teenagers not in college, as well as the environment for students in high school who would experience increased exposure to alcohol.”

BU Today spoke with Seaman, the current president of Choose Responsibility, and William DeJong , a School of Public Health professor of community health sciences and an expert on alcohol education, who has debated members of Choose Responsibility in the past, to discuss the pros and cons of lowering the legal drinking age in America.

research paper on drinking age

Another part of my eureka moment was when I visited McGill University. As you know, McGill is in Montreal, where the drinking age is 18, but they also have, in any given year, 2,000 Americans enrolled as undergraduates. I wanted to see how the Americans there behaved as compared to their compatriots in American schools. And I was really struck by the relative civility I found up at McGill. It just wasn’t a big deal. They could go down to the bars in Montreal and drink or go to the clubs or they could have a case of beer delivered to their dorm rooms. It was an open culture.

The other piece that really struck me was that at McGill the students and faculty and other adults intermingled around alcohol, whereas in American universities and colleges, there was a total separation of adults from young people. I think the lack of somebody around to demonstrate moderate drinking, to just having a professor or parent or somebody around who could say, “I think three beers is enough. You’re beginning to act like a jerk.” That sort of moderating behavior is totally absent. So here’s a whole generation of young people learning to drink from themselves, instead of from people who’ve had some experience with it. That struck me as a really perverse culture and the wrong way to go about it. So I came away from that convinced that 21 was not solving the problem. It was part of the problem.

research paper on drinking age

What Choose Responsibility is not accounting for is that if you look at the number of highway fatalities by age of the driver, you see a decrease for people between 21 and 30 and there’s a much sharper decrease for those under 21 on a percentage basis. Everything they’re saying about drinking rates, seat-belt use, and better car design has been taken into account. So they’re left without an explanation for why that decrease was sharper for those under the age of 21. The only explanation that most traffic safety people point to is the Age 21 law itself. New Zealand recently switched from age 20 to 18. As soon as they made that change, not only did they have more traffic fatalities among 18- and 19-year-olds, but among 15- and 16-year-olds.

Does the Age 21 law infantilize young adults who can vote, serve on juries, and die for this country in battle? Seaman: I sent three daughters through college in the 1990s. I’ve been a trustee at Hamilton College, my alma mater, for 21 years. And through that particular vantage point, going up to campus four times a year, meeting with students, and seeing the enormous growth of the student affairs staffing on college campuses, it struck me as being somewhat infantilizing. The rules and the nanny mentality that existed was not helpful. It was not what I remembered from my experience in college. I became curious about what had changed and decided to take a look at the total culture of college campuses. The drinking is the piece that jumped out. But that’s the one where I said to myself, “There is a policy change that could affect this.”

I think the main problem is the separation of adults from young people precisely at the time of their lives where they’re going to be drinking anyway. It’s bringing to bear enormous amounts of resources—police enforcement, rules on college campuses, all these RAs and staffers who spend an awful lot of time worrying about whether people are drinking, how much they’re drinking, and what they’re doing as a result of drinking. I look to Canada and to the rest of the world and I see that people can drink at a younger age and be civilized about it. One of the things I did when I was researching Binge is I sought out international students, and I would ask them what their impression was. It was remarkably uniform. They’d say, “This is the kind of stuff we did in high school. Gee, these people are silly, they spend so much time thinking about alcohol.” They found it all pretty sophomoric.

Dejong : When the drinking age was lowered, we did not get less infantile behavior; we actually got more. It’s kind of a basic axiom that if you make alcohol more readily accessible, people will drink more and a certain percentage of them will drink to excess in a greater percentage. There’s just all kinds of data showing that. You increase taxes and consumption goes down and the negative consequences from drinking go down. You make alcohol available on Sundays and people buy more, drink more, and the negative consequences go up.

There’s a whole literature showing that whatever policy is in place that makes alcohol more accessible, the more problems you have. One of the things we know is that parents who allow their kids to drink at home actually stimulate the kids to drink more overall than parents who don’t encourage their kids to drink at home. Those kids drink higher amounts and more frequently. They experience more negative alcohol-related consequences. Rather than the kids getting the message that there’s a way to drink responsibly, they take away the message that Mom and Dad don’t care if I drink, so when they’re out in social setting, they’re more inclined to drink more. Again, I don’t see any evidence that we get more extreme drinking because of the Age 21 law. Show me data, not anecdotes. We can find anecdotes for both sides of the argument.

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Watch student reactions in the video above.

Does Age 21 breed disrespect for authority? Seaman: The disrespect to the law is fake IDs, the widespread purchase and consumption of alcohol by people who know it’s illegal, and the supplying of younger people by older or upperclassmen in college who think nothing of going out and buying alcohol and then making sure that everybody in their fraternity or sorority has access to it.

Some of what I saw on these college campuses included fraternities where they had built elaborate systems, wild stuff right out of Prohibition, where the bar suddenly turns around and becomes a library. They had shut-down drills, where at the first sign of campus police or somebody coming to inspect on a Saturday night, they’d blow the whistle and every brother in the place knew exactly what to do and how to clean the place up. In two minutes, they had a raging party turn into what looked like an ice cream parlor. That’s the kind of climate this law seems to have engendered. That’s what you’ve got to break.

Dejong: Disrespect for authority can happen with the enforcement of any law that people are not uniformly behind. There is something to the argument that Age 21 creates disrespect for the law, but I could say the same thing about speed limits. We violate speed limits all the time. It really seems arbitrary and unfair when we’re the ones who get pulled over when everyone else is speeding. So what—do we raise the speed limit, get rid of speed limits because they’re creating disrespect for the law? I don’t think widespread disobedience is a reason for changing a law. I’m convinced by the evidence, even though the Age 21 law has been imperfectly enforced and even though a lot of people violate it, that it has had a dampening effect and has reduced negative alcohol-related problems. To some degree people are keeping themselves in check because of the Age 21 law and don’t want to get caught.

And the fact is, if you look at the polling data over the years for the Age 21 law, there is overwhelming public support for it. There may not be overwhelming support for it among people who are 18 to 20, but U.S. adults, overall, support it. One glimpse I’ve had into this is through the online alcohol education course that is taken by about one third of all freshmen in the country. We ask their opinion of the Age 21 law. A bare majority of students are in favor of the current law or aren’t sure what the law should be. It’s a minority that are absolutely certain that the law should be changed.

research paper on drinking age

The Amethyst Initiative, signed by almost 140 college presidents, seems to suggest that educational leaders see Age 18 as a viable solution. Seaman: We launched the Amethyst Initiative, which 138 college and university presidents have signed, calling for an objective and dispassionate debate over a better system; 21 is not solving the problem. So let’s talk about some things that might work.

I deal with a lot of student affairs people and deans of students, and I think what the smart ones are doing is focusing on the bad behaviors that result from the misuse of alcohol, rather than the mere consumption of alcohol. Don’t bust kids for walking around campus with an open container of beer, certainly not students who are sitting in their room, watching a football game on television with a six-pack in front of them. They’re not doing anybody any harm. But do crack down on the people who bust up windows in the student center or some other form of vandalism. Do crack down on the people who get involved in date rapes. And certainly there ought to be no tolerance of drinking and driving by people under 21, as there shouldn’t be for people over 21. If they can concentrate on that and not worry about who’s consuming alcohol in a relatively civilized or moderate way, I think they would have more success.

DeJong: A lot of the presidents who signed up were not necessarily in favor of changing the law, but wanted to encourage an open discussion and review of it. Keep in mind that it’s a very small number of presidents. Some of them have signed and gotten hell for it from their own staffs, who have to now try and deal with the issue. Some presidents had to be taught what the research issues were, and then withdrew their support. I also think a lot of the interest among the college presidents came about from a sense of fatalism—that there was nothing that works so we should try this. But there’s a lot that works. There’s 20 years of research pointing the way toward effective prevention. There was an initial wave of pro-18 publicity two years ago, but we really don’t hear much about it anymore. There’s no political will to change the law. The states are up against a federal law that incentivizes the current law. It would cost states an enormous amount of money and provoke vociferous opposition from a variety of groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Mr. Seaman, two final questions for you: won’t lowering the drinking age result in the problems trickling down to a younger, more vulnerable age group? Seaman: That is a tough argument. I understand. Because we still have a fair number of 18-year-olds who are in high school and the prospect of them being able to supply the 17-, 16-, 15-year-olds with alcohol is a daunting one. My response is that if you take 18 as a clear, bright line that separates adults from nonadults, which the law does in every other respect, I think you could enforce it more credibly and have more buy-in from the people themselves. But right now we have a law that nobody respects. So why should a 17-year-old feel that he or she shouldn’t have access to a handle of vodka when the 19- or 20-year-olds are illegal and they’re getting it too? It’s the same sort of mentality we had during Prohibition. For all age groups, there was a total disrespect for the law that was engendered by the failure of Prohibition. It just had no popular support. The answer I would give is you have to have an educational component as part of any change in the law.

Do you see any positives to the drinking age being 21? Seaman: I think at the beginning it seemed to have—if not the law itself, at least the debate surrounding it—an impact on drunk driving. That impact was a 13 percent decline over a six- or seven-year period. Then it sort of settled out about 1990 and really hasn’t improved since. Age 21 was a broad-brush social policy used to fight the specific problem of drunk driving. And really, underage drinking and drunk driving are two very different things. They overlap, but they’re different. You look at the statistics and the last time I checked, just under 90 percent of drunk driving fatalities in this country were caused by people over 21. So this isn’t an age-specific thing. And we strongly advocate even stronger drunk driving laws than we already have.

BU Today Alcohol on Campus: 18 vs 21. Beer Pong.

Professor DeJong, clearly binge drinking is a problem on college campuses under the current law. What more can be done to educate students? Dejong: I’m working with a company called Outside the Classroom . They have a course called AlcoholEdu, which is taken by about one third of all college freshmen. It’s a course that certainly reminds people of the Age 21 law, but recognizes that people are going to make their own choices about drinking. It offers a lot of information to those who choose to drink that will help them decide to drink less. We do have evidence from randomized control trials that it’s effective in reducing alcohol consumption compared with students who don’t take the course.

And beyond education? Dejong: There’s a whole package of things. Beyond education programs, there has to be a supportive environment. You have to have very clear policies that are firmly, consistently, and strictly enforced. Part of the package has to be parental notification. Part of it is improving enforcement in nearby communities. Off-campus parties are a big problem. So cooperative enforcement between campus and local police can do a lot; holding landlords accountable through zoning restrictions or municipal codes, and holding landlords responsible for their tenants; working with local taverns, bars, liquor stores to reduce sales to intoxicated patrons.

“Social norms marketing” is another important component. One of the main drivers of this heavy drinking is the common misperception that everybody drinks heavily. Students have grossly exaggerated views of how much drinking is going on. Through a campus media campaign, you can inform students of how much drinking is really taking place and correct that misperception. There’s evidence that that reduces how much students drink.

Next up: “Rules, Realities, and the Holy Grail.”

Getting Help: Information about alcohol abuse treatment and support at Student Health Services can be found here . Learn more about alcohol and your health here . Resources and information about reporting sexual assault can be found here . , a tool for confidentially assessing drinking and finding help, was developed by researchers at the BU School of Public Health.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at [email protected] . Robin Berghaus can be reached at [email protected] .

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There are 60 comments on Drinking: 18 vs. 21

I think President Brown’s concern for introducing drinking into high schools is an important one. My question, though, is why 21 (versus 20 or 22) in the first place? And why is all the discussion about lowering the drinking age focused on 18 rather than 19 (when most people are out of high school) or 20 (a less drastic reduction and opportunity to test the implications of change)?

i agree because i find that the age of 21 drinking age has done a whole lot of good and yet should be upped to age 25 but that is just my oppinion.I also agree on choice of reducing the age to 19 because most 18 yearolds these days…they,honestly don’t care.i know. I have a cousion( not going to mention her name)but ever since she turned 18 she has purchesed a fake id and has been intoxicated with the useage of alcohol i personaly wish her good luck with the life that she has chosen.

25? have u been drinking?haha

have you been drinking on this post courtney? wow your spelling is abysmal, and makes me think you’ve had a few before posting!

also, 25? that’s ridiculious!

25 is a good choice. Why? Because your mind is still connecting to itself when you are 18+. Drinking before your mind has fully developed only hooks you onto beer and lowers your income/well-being. You’ll get liver failure and horrible headaches all the time. Does that not matter to you? I’d assume that all people would be willing to wait until they’re responsible. Alcohol isn’t “fun”. It’s an escape. And a horribly ineffective one at that, especially since just like other drugs, it bashes and eventually kills you. Wake up.

Nice questions! I wish someone had taken the time to answer them. Off hand, I’d say 18 is the automatic focus because it’s the age of majority / age of legal adulthood already, so it makes sense to tie in the ability to consume alcohol when you’re a legal adult.

That being said, I don’t know if lowering the age to 20 or 19 would be seen as beneficial or helpful to that group that believes 18 year-olds should be able to drink. Could be seen as a tease or not going far enough. Also since 21 has been stuck in our minds for 20 plus years, there could be more confusion if the new age is lower than 21 but older than 18.

My son is about to turn 18 and I honestly don’t think it’s a good idea for him to consume alcohol at this stage in his life. There are so many developmental and maturity things that still need to happen, and one never knows how alcohol is going to affect you.

I enjoyed and learned from this article. It will help me talk more with my son. I don’t drink and I don’t worry about him going out and binge drinking or anything, but I do want him to think things through because he’s at the age where he will start being in more situations where older adults are not around and he has to choose for himself.

I have taught him as Christians, the Bible says it’s a sin to get drunk, but it doesn’t say it’s a sin to drink. The Bible also teaches us to obey the law and respect authority and our parents. All that being said, I hope he waits until 21 and even then drinks sparingly or not at all. I’ve taught him what I know. Now I advise and pray and the rest is up to him.

We need the U.S. Constitution to catch up with modern scientific research, such as:

1. The age of majority in the United States shall be 24.

2. No Person, not having attained the age of majority, shall be permitted to engage in acts associated with said age, including but not limited to enrollment or commission in the armed forces or militia, engaging in contract, or consumption of alcohol.

3. The Military Service Academies and the Reserve Officers’ Training Program shall become graduate programs, with commissions granted after the attainment of a doctoral degree. The Federal Government and the governments of the several states may establish a pre-military undergraduate program, but no person, having enrolled in such a program, shall be held to any final decision of commission; PROVIDED, however, that the Government supporting such a person who withdraws from the program shall be entitled to recoup reasonable schooling costs from such a person.

4. Each of the several States, and the Territories, may establish a pre-majority age for the operation of a motor vehicle, but may add restrictions thereto which do not apply to those who have attained the age of 24 years.

5. This act shall take effect immediately upon ratification.

I’d be interested in seeing this ‘discussion’ done again, with Mr. Seaman getting a chance to take apart every one of Dr. DeJong’s arguments after he made them, instead of vice versa.

DeJong calls for research, not anecdotes, but most alcohol research is funded by organizations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is vehemently anti-alcohol. Very little research is done with an eye to seeing how an 18 LDA could work; most research seems to be aimed at finding ways to support the 21 LDA. If research is funded by alcohol companies or groups, it is decried as biased, while funding by RWF is glossed over or lauded as in the public interest. All too much alcohol ‘research’ is self-supporting, citing inflated estimates like the ones BU’s own Ralph Hingson comes up with (1825 alcohol-related college deaths per year, 500-600 lives saved by 0.08 BAC laws), and then creating meta-analyses that pile the junk even higher, turning it this way and that until the ‘right’ answer falls out.

The 18 LDA causes underground drinking. Massachusetts has been trying to grapple with underage drinking in the 21 LDA era with enforcement since the early 1990s, when keg registration laws first were put in place in western Mass. Like Prohibition, the laws keep getting wider acceptance and higher penalties, and more grandiose projections of success. Like Prohibition, they don’t work.

An 18 LDA would cut underage drinking by over half…overnight. I could tell you by how much, but there are no figures on how much “underage drinking” is done by adults at age 18 to 20. That basic concept is apparently not worth researching.

It doesn’t really matter either way to me, I’m 19 and getting alcohol isn’t a problem for anybody at BU. Lower the drinking age, or keep it the same, I’m getting drunk regardless.

As a recent graduate I’m not sure how Seaman knows what he does, but he is spot on about drinking on campus. Not everyone drinks, and not everyone drinks excessively, but there are a lot of students who do. That it’s illegal deters no one, but it forces them to hide it. I think it gets better as they get older and have more experience with alcohol.

The thought that being old enough to die for your country makes you deserving of special privileges is a selfish civilian idea. Those of use that actually joined the military know that you actually lose rights when you join the military – including rights to drink. The military leadership can give permission and take away permission for you to drink, and the United States military leadership actually does not want their 18-20 year olds drinking. We can train young troops to fight in the most efficient military in the world, but we cannot train them to think when they drink. And the other erroneous belief is the belief that countries with lowered drinking ages have more responsible drinking among young adults. Europe has by far more teenage and young adult binge drinking than the United States, which is a shift that began around the early 1990’s. Britain is slowly becoming the binge drinking capital of the world. Over the past few years some people have debated in various European countries to raise the drinking age, including in France. Those young people in Europe are drinking with adults responsibly but then still going out on their own to drink irresponsibly, it’s just that they have easier access to alcohol and are beginning the irresponsible drinking at younger ages than Americans.

Choosing to join the military is a choice just like any other. The law considers you mentally fit to make that choice at age 18. I don’t see why you think that means civilians are “selfish” for wanting an equal right to make decisions in all aspects of their lives. Take your military entitlement elsewhere.

When you use NHTSA and MADD as source of alcohol statistics you are fool. Those numbers are so inflated and wrong it just feeds there cause. Obviously you don’t know where to find the actual numbers. is an excellent site and Please do your homework before using garbage statistics.

Fact- anyone who wants alcohol can get it at college, as much as they want.

Can MADD and others deal with this reality? If you actually embrace what this means, then the whole point of alcohol at 21 is useless. It isn’t stopping anyone.

What it DOES do is drive students underground. At a bar, everyone is in public, and the norms are set by not by 18 year olds but those with years of drinking experience. At a frat house/underage party, you have immature “adults” deciding what is appropriate behavior. If MADD takes responsibility for every death they claim to have prevented, shouldn’t they also take responsibility for every kid who died in a basement? Every kid afraid to get caught, who drove home drunk rather than call their parents for a ride? Every girl taken advantage of at an illegal party?

I seriously doubt politicians will ever have the guts to lower the age. It doesn’t matter, the underage will drink anyway, always have and will.

I agree with the first post. 19 or 20 seems like a reasonable drinking age. I also agree that 18 is too young, especially when many kids turn 18 turning their senior year of high school. Sure, every one can get alcohol from an older brother or cousin during high school or an older friend in college, but maybe lowering the age slightly will eliminate the need to break free and wildly experiment with college students.

As someone who grew up around a family that drank in moderation at gatherings and parties, I learned about limits, not how to drink more. Dejong claims that parents who let children drink at home will lead to excessive drinking at college . I think this is false. Usually the kids who never “experimented” with under age drinking or who lived in an environment where drinking was taboo, binge drink at the first chance they get when they are in college. They are naive about drinking and its effects, often resulting in over consumption. People who have seen drinking and witnessed the mature ways of drinking, while growing up, care less about binge drinking. To these people, it’s really not that big of a deal anyway.

Anyone else find it strange that Prof. DeJong proposed both alcohol safety education and stricter enforcement of law? That sounds right, let’s educate how to violate a law that everyone breaks and then call for stricter enforcement of such law. Something doesn’t seem to fit here.

With the exception of the fraternities that have developed clever transformer systems for their houses, alcohol seems to bring with it a complete lack of creativity. Beer pong, flip cup, quarters, all those games that have different names in each state, but are all the same–they’re not creative, they’re excuses to get drunk, socially. So maybe if institutions promoted creativity a bit more and provided realistic opportunities and alternatives for students (watching Finding Nemo is not realistic for college students), they might be able to not only curb the amount of drinking, but foster more creative, intelligent students.

And no, video games and Facebook are not creative.

All you have to know how BU feels about alcohol can be be found at Agannis when the BU band plays tequilla. I’ll be damned if you found a fan who wasn’t screaming TEQUILLA– LETS GET F**KED UP!

I’m very mixed on this topic because I can understand both ways. I understand that lowering the drinking age probably would increase accidents and whatnot, but I also side with those who say that if you’re allowed to fight for your country at 18 you should be allowed to drink. My question is, why not in a way, split the law? Why not just say that only people above 21 can buy alcohol but allow anyone 18 or older to consume it? This allows all those 18 and older who just want to go to a party and drink or just drink casually with friend to do so without getting in trouble do so, while still putting some sort of barrier between them actually being able to purchase extreme amounts of alcohol at once. It will also only slightly change the number of younger kids (15,16,17 yr olds) who drink because they would have to get alcohol directly from a 21 year old or an 18 year old who knows a 21 year old as opposed to just a 21 year old.

president brown comes off as very very very one dimensional in this article, and very very very estranged from the 18-20 year old generation which he governs. He is so out of touch with the kids at our school- and college kids in general; he comes off as conservative and unprogressive here, not to mention blinded by so called “statistics”….He talks about the many presidents who withdrew their votes seaman’s campaign for a redesign of the drinking laws, and he calls the pool of supporters “very small”. he points out that many received extreme criticism for signing…. YES, a wonderful point!!!!!!!! Imagine all the presidents who WOULDNT sign because of the castigation they would undoubtedly receive from members their staff like who feel as Brown feels? Doesnt that point testify to the difficulty in distinguishing which presidents support the motion and which do not??Brown is completely unwilling to accept that data from the mama-bear-campaign of anti-underage-drinking may not be entirely credible. he will not concede to the fact that there are irrefutable gains in lowering the drinking age. Seaman however seems to have gleaned truths from both sides of the equation–the only rational way to examine a gray area.

I think if someone is in the military at 17/18, THEN let them be legal to drink with their legitimate military ID if they are 17-20 in undergrad schooling they should not be legal. Further, I agree that kids in college have way too much free time, are doing so much unsupervised experimentation and yet, they are still on their parents purse strings. It keeps sexual misconduct and consequences down, reduces drunk driving, alcohol related deaths additictions and injuries, promotes better academic habits, keeps more kiids in college because they did not screw up in a host of ways, and saves parents and kids money. You will have a hard time convincing the distributors of beer and alcohol, related games and those establishments that make a habit of looking away and knowing they are serving to underaged kids. I say the quality of human life is more important that that dollar this industry makes at the risk of kids. My heart still aches from the disasters I have personally experienced and witnessed over the years.

You’ve got to be kidding. Special rights for people with a military ID? I suppose next you’ll suggest that only veterans get to vote. After all, only people in the military are responsible enough to enjoy the privileges of democratic society.

when Dejong states, “parents who allow their kids to drink at home actually stimulate the kids to drink more overall than parents who don’t encourage their kids to drink at home. Those kids drink higher amounts and more frequently.” I would be interested in seeing the statistics behind that. I know I am but one example of this, but my parents let me be the judge of my actions, so alcohol didn’t have the “forbidden fruit” allure that it has for many kids growing up. When I got to college, I had already had my chance to drink in highschool, so didn’t binge drink. Most kids who I did see binge drinking came from households where drinking was completely forbidden, and seemed to enjoy binge drinking for many reasons, including it being a slap in the face to authority.

I also think it would be interesting to see Seaman take down Dejong’s statements instead of the other way around.

I like to think that when our generation gets into elected positions, they might change the laws. I’m surprised alcohol companies don’t get behind the cause for lowering the drinking age more since their profits would sure increase a lot.

There is one universal truth: drinking will continue regardless of the law. It was true during prohibition, and it’s true now with the discriminatory drinking laws. You might as well allow the bars to rake in the extra business, which is probably also a safer environment for the students than some sketchy frat house.

I don’t know what all this fuss is about alcohol suddenly “becoming” available to high schoolers if the LDA were dropped to 18. Where I’m from people start at 14. This includes alcohol, cigarettes, and sometimes more. Yes, this usually leads to alcoholism, and no they don’t follow the drunk driving rules. Changing the law isn’t going to change things like this, and ‘alcohol education’ needs to come at an earlier age and from closer, more interested persons than a school health advisor.

I was allowed to try alcohol so young as 5 when my family made homemade liqueur. It was the most disgusting thing in the world and I turned down future opportunities to drink until about 16 with a small glass of wine at the holidays. Being allowed to drink at home, and with that supervision of my family made going to parties to get drunk silly, and no fun because it all ended up seeming stupid.

I do have to say I admire the second post (tho don’t actually do that.) Sure, I could go die for my country at 18 or buy cigarettes. But I couldn’t stay at a hotel even if I was driving long distance and the weather got bad. I’m graduating and have a perfect driving record, but I still can’t rent a car (though zipcars is working on fixing that, thankfully). And even being almost 24, the age when the varied US governments decide for tax purposes that you’re finally not dependent on your parents I’m still not taken seriously by other adults when making my own decisions.

I find the way college students are babied to be very infantilizing. I’ve never lived in a dorm. I’ve never blacked out from drinking. I’ve never left candles burning all night. I think if we start treating our teenagers more like adults and start EXPECTING them to ACT like adults, then they will. As it is with people renting their first apartment at the age of 22 after graduating and not knowing even how to go about getting cable, that doesn’t help anyone.

Point being, there’s a lot more that needs to be changed than just the drinking age is this country to get the kind of results that both sides are arguing for.

I am normally a strong libertarian, believing that the government has not right to control what people put in their bodies. Let me be clear, I am firmly against drug use, over use of alcohol, and smoking, but the government has no business controlling persons personal health decisions. With that said, I think 21 is the appropriate age. Many medical studies have been found that the younger persons start drinking the likelyhood of alcoholism increases. Yes, an “age” is not going to prevent people from drinking. However, it curtails the purchasing ability of younger persons, making them rely on older persons, friends, and other available alcohol. If the age were lowered, it should not be to 18 but to maybe 19. 18 puts most high school seniors able to walk into a liquor store an purchase. That is a little dangerous from my perspective. I would, however, also assert that if someone has a valid active military ID, they should be able to purchase alcohol at 18. If you can die in battle you should be able to drink a beer.

The problem with drinking is not whether the legal age is 18 or 21, it’s that, like everything else, until you’ve done it you don’t know how. I went to college when and where the drinking age was 18 (17 for some of us), and binge drinking was no worse a problem than it is now, by appearances less so. Why? because I, and many of my fellow students grew up in households where, as kids, we were offerred a glass or two of wine on holidays. First of all, this de-mystifies alcohol. secondly, we got to see adults drinking responsibly. thirdly, alcohol isn’t exactly a child’s favorite tasting beverage. But mostly it’s because we knew our parents were concerned and involved with our activities, but without too short a leash on us. Consequently, when we were away at school without adult supervision, we knew how do drink in moderation, on weekends only. The students who went off the deep end with alcohol and other things were either the ones whose parents clamped down on them when they were younger and never let them make their own decisions and mistakes, so those students made them all freshman year, or else the ones whose parents never knew or cared what their kids were up to when in high school. As with so many things, this is a matter of parents who don’t teach their kids properly leaving their mess up to the government and other social institutions to deal with.

The critical difference in maturity involved in making good decisions and behaving as an accountable adult has almost nothing to do with age or biological brain development stages. It has to do with life experience and personal development.

I think it should be noted that limited access to alcohol (and marijuana) is the direct cause of many cases of prescription drug abuse, which is absolutely rampant in American schools. When teenagers can’t get drunk, they will find some other, much more dangerous way to alter their mindset. When I was 15, it was literally easier to get heroin than whisky.

The pedestal effect of separating young people from alcohol is undeniable. That is not just anecdotal evidence, it is absolutely true. When college freshmen finally can get ahold of alcohol, they go insane with it, in an attempt to prove that they can handle it, to be cool. Does anyone really think that kids would die from alcohol poisoning at parties if it was totally legal to do so? Really? Nobody walks around in college bragging about how many cigarettes they smoke, because no one cares.

And education efforts are about as important to college students as abstinence-only sex ed. It’s a joke. Students mock efforts to try to curb their drinking. It only perpetuates the idea that drinking is something bad, and thus bad-ass. “Education” is ineffective without hands on experience, any school president would tell you that.

In regard to the age law, admit it, the real issue is drunk driving. If people didn’t drive drunk, there would be almost no evidence to support the benefits of the 21 LDA. Good thing here in Boston, we have the T.

18 is the right age to drink alcohol.

Definitely 18…

I think it should be up to each state without federal influence. Where I live we had to change the law or lose federal funding. That’s not right.

“It doesn’t really matter either way to me, I’m 19 and getting alcohol isn’t a problem for anybody at BU. Lower the drinking age, or keep it the same, I’m getting drunk regardless.”

What better sign that the 21 drinking age is the biggest alcohol policy failure since Prohibition?

Actually in the Marine corps you can be 18 and up and drink. They changed it so you can enjoy yourself with the others. Most of the military is under the age of 21 and if youa re at a military function and on a military base you can drink along with everyone else. And being a veteran that i am and only being 20 when I joined I do not think in anyway that it is a selfish civilian idea at all. Most deaths in Iraq were of military members between the ages of 18 and 20. Why cant they enjoy a cold beer when they make it home alive after fighting for others who wont or cant go over there. I dont see a problem with it and I agree that people are going to drink regardless of the age. My mother use to drop me off at peoples houses knowing I was going to drink and just put guidelines out there. Just like the military and everyone who has ever had rules or guidelines. Lower the age to 18 and add a few guidelines and things will be just like they are now. It shouldnt matter how old you are!!!

People should have a license to buy alcohol at 18. Part of those requirements are a clean juvie record, an alcohol understanding test + course, and that you have a high school diploma. These are just thoughts off the top of my head, but the basic idea is that just like driving is a privilege that can be taken away, alcohol consumption should be privilege and not a right.

I say with a high school diploma (including GED) because it means the person who can have legal access to alcohol won’t be enrolled in a school near people who are underage on a daily basis. Its not 100% effective but it definitely helps. It also allows people to be forced into alcohol education when we legally become adults.

So that we dont have to spend more tax money, maybe the alcohol lisence center could be a branch of the DMV (although I hate how the DMV runs and strongly believe it needs improvement, this is all I can think of at the moment)

this kind of impedes the whole ‘freedom’ aspect of our country, also im sure major alcohol companies like anhueser busch wouldnt be too happy to hear that a large portion of their big customers (fuck ups) just got taken away, and they probably have more say than you do. dont get me wrong though i do agree with the basis of your idea, i just think it would never be a reality.

Someone said, college students have way too much free time. Honestly, screw you. I wake up at 5 in the morning, go to class, and work straight until bed around 11 or 12. I don’t know a single non adult with less free time than I have during the semester. I am not the only one. Other engineers as well as tech majors will tell similar story. On top of that, we will all be in debt for 10 years. No one should act like their generation is somehow better than ours.Lets be honest. My generation rocks. My grandparents generation was the greatest generation ever. All of the world’s and this country’s problems come from the generation in charge right now. I can’t wait till you idiots get out of the way. You can start by not trying to make decisions for me or judge my peers.

Finally, I am 21, but I have known more about alcohol safety than my parents or any other adult for years. I have been drinking for years. I have never drove drunk. I know a few of my friends have and their reason was to avoid getting caught drinking because they were underage. My parents know better and they taught me better by letting me drink with them. Lets get some real stats here. Use some science. To the author: don’t be afraid to correct interviewees in the actual article if they cite stats and facts that don’t exist.

The age that you can drink should be the same age that you become an adult. If they think the age of adulthood should change, that could make sense. Make it 19. Then no high schoolers are legal. This also means you can’t send 18 year olds to way. If you want to send 18 year olds to war, you should probably call them adults and let them do what they want with their own lives.

I don’t disagree with most of what you said but just so you know — your generation does NOT rock. I agree that the generation currently in charge is fucking up the country/world for all of us but the whole country is terrified of the day your generation is running things. (If there is anything left to run.) You sound like a hard working chap and all, no doubt becuase you are an engineering major. You have to be. I went to school for mechanical engineering and I know that 8% of students were in the engineering program and not all of those graduated as engineers. The majority of college students do not wake up at 5. They are most likely sleeping through their 9am class, half paying attention at their afternoon class and then working part-time just enough to buy beer. Like it or not that sums up your generation. It is an utter failure and comprises the poster children for why many, many people should not be allowed to breed. Or at least have a damn course on how-to-parent-children. As I said, you sound like a good kid. Don’t stick up for your generation with blanket statements that don’t apply. It kind of undermined your whole statement.

@Jon, Dude, I agree our generation isn’t as great as we generally think we are, but I gotta warn you, breeding humans hasn’t worked out well for humanity in the past. Who are we to decide who is unworthy to live, especially based on the actions of their children. Life is a gift and when we decide that we have the power to determine who should have that gift, it doesn’t go well. Look at the efforts of Hitler or Margaret Sanger. Hitler was anti-Jew and African American of course, but Sanger not only wanted to wipe out the African American population because they were ‘inferior’ but also sterilize all criminals, and even the poor. All humans are equal by their nature. Irresponsible behavior is not a good reason to not allow breeding. Drinking age aside, you’re dealing with a dangerous ideology. I hope this didn’t come off as aggressive or condescending. -concerned human who doesn’t want to be sterilized if my child gets drunk.

drinking age should be lowerd if we are considerd an adult at the age of 18 meaning we have the right to make our own decision

What about the simple fact that most countries have a legal drinking age of 18; which encompasses Singapore (one of the strictest, and cleanest countries on the planet). Japan has one of 20, and China has one of 18; yet all the aforementioned countries seem to outscore Americans in Science, Math, and Technology. Thus, it would seem alcohol isn’t the problem. It is the mollycoddling, “babying’ and systematic/selective stripping of responsiblities that young adults experience that seems to be the problem. You want your nations “children” to behave, treat them as adults! If they can sacrifice their lives for your country, start familes, adopt children, smoke cigarettes, pay taxes, sign binding contracts, take out student loans, and pick your president; give them the last right they deserve. Lower the drinking age and let them prove themselves, treat them like the young adults that they truly are. If every other nation in the world treats young adults as adults, and the young adults of other countries are doing well, even outproforming Americans, why should “adolescents” in America be treated any differently? Although in a few months I will be able to legally consume alcoholic beverages; younger Americans should be given that basic trust. Historically prohibition of anything has never worked, why would the highest drinking age in the world work any better?

The current drinking age has become a sort of modern prohibition against legal adults aged 18-20. And like prohibition, it is a proven failure. Lower the drinking age to 18 or scrap it altogether and leave it to the parents to teach responsibility to their children. You can’t honestly expect to combat binge drinking by turning alcohol into a forbidden fruit!

The only issue I have with their study on how the change in age 18->21 drinking law resulted in less alcohol related incidents on the road is that they should really be focusing on the 18-21 age group and not the whole picture.. What do 40 year olds drinking and driving have to do with 18 year olds drinking and driving? That is the impression I get when they say there was a study showing this definite decrease. Show me a 100% proven decrease in that age group and I will gladly say 21 is fair enough, but they need to change other laws such as joining the military to age 21. Dying wtihout having a first drink with the people important to you is like going through life and never experiencing sex or having the opportunity to reproduce and continue the human race.. so yes we should all just die off by their standards. A pretty big twist, but taht is how I see it honestly.

I do believe that the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18. But understand that in Parts of Europe there is not even a drinking age. It is by the amount you are allowed to purchase regardless of age 21 or not. in my opinion I support the customs in Europe and thought to myself how clever of an idea that is to have a certain limit of how much alcohol to purchase.

you tha man

how would they even know how much you have already purchased? they can buy from different stores/restaurants. I don’t think that is a very good way of keeping track. Although I am for lowering it to 18 I just think that wouldn’t be very affective.

Europeans are NOT sloppy drunks like Americans. That’s why they can drink at 18. They aren’t idiots and they drink responsibly

You crazy Americans,

21?! So in other words, you highschoolers and college boys and girls are constantly doing something illegal? And don’t learn how to drink responsibly at that? It’s not like alcohol is no problem in Europe, believe it or not, it is as much of a drug here as it is anywhere else. And as far as no legal drinking age in Europe, well that goes for a couple of countries that don’t care too much for laws anyways:

Of course, we don’t mind you guys coming over here and have a beer with us, anytime.

Sincerely, Europe

Maybe it is a good idea to increase the drinking age in Europe. Drinking alcohol in adolecent years can lead to brain cell degeneration. Therefore, causing learning disabilities in the youths future. If I were president for a day, I would increase drinking age to 25. At the age of 25 is when the brain is fully developed. BTW, you can’t call wiki a credible source my friend. Wiki is constantly being updated by different users. Sounds like you need to do more research. Good luck with your early drinking.

I could get arrested and be treated as an adult AT 18, I can have kids and if i dont want the kids the mother can legally tell the child support company thing and they will force me and treat me as an adult and force me to pay the mother of my children’s AT 18, I could rent an apartment AT 18, I could have a drivers license and drive with out anybody’s supervision AT 18, I COULD BUY “CIGARETS” AT 19 WHAT THE HELL!! 19, 19,19 To buy cigarets, A F***cking cigaret is worst than alcohol, I could start piloting airplanes AT 17, I could F*****ng be forced by the united states of america to go to war AT 18 and kill people if necessary Yes kill people and they will authorize it and They also applaud that when you start walking through the airport bringing the victory the the U.S, What victory? Hundreds of people you killed?? AT 18, America just says well he’s 18 we can use him for war yay cheers, They wont ways three years for that person become 21 to send them to war, NOO, there not idiots, All they think about is business behind the table which explains why you can buy cigarets at 19 and not 21, Because they want less people on there organization they just want to get rid of people and kill US Citizens With food with don’t suppose to be eating in the first place like MC.Donalds, And the most important one for them is Youuuu can vote for them ATTT 18, Which is why i told you why everything is done behind the table, IT IS ALL BUSINESS, They wont wait for your ass to reach 21 for them to receive your vote, nooo, And with all that i cant buy a beer at 18 Or at least 19??? Goodbye

MADD stands for MOTHERS against drunk driving. One day though the children and adults (18 year olds)that live with there mothers one day go off to live on there own. Therefore the M in MADD shouldn’t be spending all there time being involved in getting the drinking age moved up, they should focus there time on giving there children and young adults the proper morals before they leave the house. If you agree with me reply, and if you have add on ideas to my thought please share.

Why couldn’t the Govt try this. Provide each 18 year old with a special license to buy liquor, after they take some class. Then if they f up even once behind the wheel or go do some destruction of property it is taken away and they would have to do breathalyzers. That way there buddies cant go buy them liquor because the breathalyzer would indicate that. Also if they screw up not only do they lose the privilege of buying liquor a portable breathalyzer would be like a public shaming tool to make them feel guilty. Like I said I think the Govt could just try this for a few years and if it goes swell terrific if not oh well.

strongest point here, if you can’t trust an eighteen year old to drink responsibly, then you shouldn’t be able to trust them to go fight and die for YOUR freedoms and rights. Can’t drink a beer until you’re twenty-one, then you can’t join the military until you’re twenty-one either.

I think that waiting till you are 21 to drink is a form of prohibition I don’t think that the government should be involved in these decisions

i honestly think you should be able to drink at 18.

Kids are going to drink regardless of the age law.

Funny how you can own a gun at 18 but still can’t drink a beer. America is full of odd contradictions.

You can only own a rifle not a pistol you must wait till you 21 for that.

As a 19 year old college student myself, I think the main issue is that the entire legal system in the US is extremely stupid with no attention paid to common sense, unbelievable stubbornness when it comes to changing our laws, and no attempt whatsoever to keep in touch with the times. Our politicians seem incapable of looking at a law, realizing it isn’t working or even damaging, and changing it. This isn’t even just about the drinking laws, its about the war on drugs too, and its also about strict statutory rape laws that put 18 year olds on the sex offenders list for having consensual sex with a 17 year old. Absolutely heinous cases of animal cruelty are treated as less serious than eating magic mushrooms.

And people wonder why nobody respects the law? People don’t respect the law because politicians think its okay to make idiotic laws and just expect everybody to respect and follow them. Well it doesn’t work that way, you have to have a really good reason to be threatening to, or actively depriving my liberty, and my choice to put certain chemicals into my body is definitely not a good enough reason. Assaulting another person or animal on the other hand, is definitely a good enough reason. You violated someone else’s liberty, so you deserve to have your liberty violated. But drugs and alcohol are not violating anybody’s liberty.

The drinking age is an absolute miserable failure, and doesn’t work. 80% of college students, 18 or 21, drink alcohol. This level of use is higher than among middle aged adults. Also, 11-20% of the alcohol industry’s profits come from underage drinking. Although the law does cut down on high school and middle school drinking, it’s useless in college. One thing a lot of people here don’t seem to get though, is that drinking doesn’t usually start in college, it peaks in college but it doesn’t start there. 80% of high schoolers have had an alcoholic drink by the time they graduate, and a very significant percentage drink on some kind of regular basis (monthly, weekly, or daily). Most people who binge drink in college, have had some experience with regular drinking in high school. Maybe they didn’t binge drink in high school, but almost all of them drank. The college binge drinkers are just intensifying their high school behavior. I personally have not seen very much of this phenomenon of “the kid who didn’t drink a drop in high school suddenly blacking out every weekend.” Alcohol is certainly harder to find in high school than college, but that doesn’t mean its hard to find. Its just that in college, its so ridiculously easy to get your hands on, that the law might as well not even exist. That’s not an exaggeration either, if anything, alcohol is easier to get in the 18-20 year range because all the alcohol at parties is free and you can have as much as you want. If you want it in the dorms, everybody knows somebody 21 or older or in a frat.

The only thing the law actually does become a barrier to, is things they probably don’t even care about much. The law becomes a barrier when you want to drink in a certain context. I can’t check into hotels, I can’t rent a room on a cruise ship, and a lot of nightclubs or bars deny entry to anyone under the age of 21. The hotels and cruise ships don’t even have anything to do with alcohol, they just don’t want to run the risk of unsupervised 18-20 years olds drinking alcohol and them losing their liquor license. The main reason I want the drinking age lowered has nothing to do with how easily I can get alcohol. Making it 18 wouldn’t change a thing, the reason I’d like it to change is so I can go to places that happen to serve alcohol and not be refused service.

I believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 because it would make learning and teaching about the affects of alcohol much easier than it is now.

P.S I’m not even in college!

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Legal Drinking Age

About legal drinking age, narrow the topic.

Young people attend a Coming of Age Day celebration ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, on January 11, 2016.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act into law, requiring all states to raise the minimum age for purchasing and possessing alcoholic beverages to 21. At the time the law was enacted, the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) among states ranged between 18 and 21. Although the 1984 law did not remove the right of each state to determine a minimum drinking age, states in noncompliance faced a loss in federal highway funding. By 1988, all states and the District of Columbia had raised the MLDA to 21.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), raising the minimum drinking age nationwide has resulted in a decline in motor vehicle crashes and an increase in high school graduation rates. The CDC also links the MLDA to reductions in drug and alcohol dependence, suicide, homicide, and adverse birth outcomes among drinkers. However, some opponents of the 1984 law argue that it is unreasonable to prohibit 18-year-olds—legal adults who have the right to vote and join the military—from purchasing alcohol. Others argue that establishing a drinking age falls under the purview of state governments, and the federal government should not have overstepped its power in creating a national policy. Although the law has been in place for more than three decades, the minimum drinking age remains the frequent subject of political debate.  ( Opposing Viewpoints )

Legal Drinking Age Essays

Why the legal drinking age should be lowered.

One of the biggest arguments in the country today is the legal age of consuming alcohol. All across the world, there are different drinking ages which differ from country to country. Each country with their own reasoning’s behind the age restrict. In the United States we know, the legal drinking age is 21. In England and Australia, the drinking age is 18. Spain and Austria, have the drinking age at 16. I believe the legal drinking age for the United […]

Underage Binge Drinking the New Cool

If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you? This famous question is one that also applies to underage binge drinking, with a sobering answer. The fact is, most teens indulged in binge drinking because “everyone else was”. The choice to binge drink cost South Carolina nearly $297 million in 2016 alone. Teens between the ages of 12 to 21 also made up 119,000 ER visits in 2013, with all those visits involving alcohol. So where are we failing our children? […]

Underaged Drinking

Studies show that nearly 5,000 adolescents die a year from consuming alcohol at such a young age. Car accidents, homicides, suicide, and other injuries contribute to this statistic. Our youth have been exposed to alcohol as early as 8th grade. The reasoning behind the consumption of alcohol at such young ages result from factors such as: risk-taking, heredity, or environmental aspects. Underaged drinking comes with health effects as well like: brain damage, liver damage, or growth and endocrine damage. As […]

Alcohol Age Drinking

One topic that has a lot of notoriety all throughout the United States is the legal drinking age. Some argue that it should remain at twenty-one years old while others push for reducing it to eighteen and this has even caused some controversy. Many countries have the age at eighteen and this is influencing others vouch for lowering it by three years; however, this idea is not beneficial for the young individuals of society. Lowering the legal age of alcohol […]

Lowering the Legal Drinking Age

The minimum legal drinking age in America is twenty-one years old, and when this law is violated heavy penalties are given to those who have broken it. This was a hard lesson I learned about thirty years ago after drinking at a friend’s party during the summer of 1989. After the party, my friend Peter and I decided to walk home to the dormitory, which was a short twenty minutes. On our way through the gate, Peter and I were […]

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About Lower Drinking Age

Currently, there is a great debate happening about lowering the drinking age. While some people believe drinking age is fine at the age of 21, others believe that drinking age should be lowered. Teens should be able to drink alcohol at 18 or 19 without getting in trouble. The legal drinking age should be lowered because it would result in fewer drunk driving accidents, reduce underage alcohol arrests, and it would decrease unsafe drinking activity of younger adults. Lowering the […]

Keeping the Drinking Age

At 21In the United States of America there have been many deaths due to alcohol consumption. if it wasn’t lack for knowledge obtained about alcohol abuse, numerous accidents would/could have been prevented. One of today’s biggest problems that leads in society is drinking under the legal age.In the United States the minimum age required to drink is 21, this policy alone shows how unrealistic expectations and serious unintended consequences evolve. The government is basically stating that reaching twenty-one years of […]

The Minimum Legal Drinking Age

Police are prone to ignore or under-enforce the minimum legal drinking age at 21 law due to limited resources, and perceptions that punishment is inadequate including the time and effort required for processing and paperwork, an estimated two out of every 1,000 instances of illegal underage drinking result in arrest. The drinking age should be lowered to 18 due to the fact that regulating drinking between the ages of 18 and 20 in environments with supervision will diminish unsafe drinking […]

Lowering Minimum Legal Drinking Age

Alcohol is essentially society’s principal recreational drug; it is the biggest threat to American youth, and there are over six times the amount of alcohol related deaths than deaths caused by all illegal drugs combined (Rorabaugh, Bernstein). Alcohol can influence people to participate in dangerous or illegal activities. Even though alcohol is recognized to be dangerous, some people argue that the minimum legal drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18. For many reasons such as health, traffic accidents, […]

Minimum Legal Drinking Age

When thinking about college, most people envision a life of partying, drinking with friends until the early hours, and being hungover during classes, as this is what is portrayed through media. Is this really the life the young adults in America should be striving for or should the students be envisioning a positive education environment with a previously established, healthy relationship with alcohol? Most adults in America ages 18-20 are already drinking, even though the U.S. legal drinking age is […]

Should the Legal Drinking Age in South Africa be Raised to 21?

Alcohol is a colourless, volatile, inflammable liquid that is found in wines and beers and can have a harmful effect in the human body causing it not to function well; the human brain continues developing until a person has reached his or her mid 20s therefore alcohol’s effect on the brain may be worse among younger people. The legal drinking age in South Africa should be raised to 21 in order to stop young school children from going to unlicensed […]

The Legal Drinking Age

Are you 21? The debate over lowering the drinking age has become an ongoing discussion for many decades. “In 1984, Congress passed the Uniform Drinking Age Act, which required states to have a minimum drinking age of 21, for all types of alcohol consumption if they wanted to receive federal highway monies. The legal drinking age has remained at 21”, even though many have shown their disapproval. Alcohol is a dangerous drug that impairs the senses and should only be […]

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Why the drinking age should be lowered

Alcohol Research and Health History

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:

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:


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, 1975-2022. Ruth C. Engs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405

Drinking Age To 18 Research Paper

research paper on drinking age

Show More Eighteen is considered adulthood, yet, at this age one is still not treated as such. When one turns eighteen, they become a legal adult, and receive their rights, except the right to consume alcohol legally. The drinking age in the United States is currently set at twenty-one. But, some people believe that twenty-one is too high for the minimum age and, think it should be lower. There are others who feel that twenty-one is a decent, mature age, and lowering it would encourage young to take part in alcohol consumption. At eighteen one can vote, join the service, get married, buy tobacco, work in a bar, and do many other things. The drinking age should be lowered back to eighteen because: if eighteen year olds are capable of voting and fighting for their country, they should be able to have a drink, also, lowering the age would help with less college students …show more content… When one is voting, they are trusted to make a mature decision. Eighteen is mature enough to decide who should run the country, but not mature enough to buy and consume alcohol legally. One is trusted to vote, but one is not trusted to have a drink. Chris Busby once stated in his monthly magazine, “If 18-year-olds are considered mature enough to fight in wars, they’re mature enough to drink in bars. To this I would add that if 18-year-olds can vote for the politicians who start wars, they’re old enough to choose the wrong brand of beer, too.” Yes, alcohol may not be healthy, but it is still one’s decision to consume it. At eighteen, one is considered an adult, but, can not do all the things adults are able to do. It is thought that lowering the drinking age would cause more drunk driving accidents, but, there could be other laws that could be enforced to help with this. In Dr. Ruth Engs research she stated: “The decrease in drinking and driving problems are the result of many factors and not just the rise in purchase age or decreased per capita

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Arguments Against Lowering The Drinking Age To 18

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Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age

A minimum legal drinking age (mlda) of 21 saves lives and protects health.

Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) laws specify the legal age when an individual can purchase alcoholic beverages. The MLDA in the United States is 21 years.  However, prior to the enactment of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, the legal age when alcohol could be purchased varied from state to state. 1

notice no drinking under 21

An age 21 MLDA is recommended by the:

• American Academy of Pediatrics 2 • Community Preventive Services Task Force 4 • Mothers Against Drunk Driving 5 • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 1 • National Prevention Council 8 • National Academy of Sciences (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine) 9

The age 21 MLDA saves lives and improves health. 3

Fewer motor vehicle crashes

Decreased drinking

Other outcomes

Drinking by those under the age 21 is a public health problem.

Drinking by those below the age of 21 is also strongly linked with 9,12,13 :

Alcohol-impaired driving

Drinking by those below the age of 21 is strongly associated with alcohol-impaired driving. The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey 14  found that among high school students, during the past 30 days

Rates of drinking and binge drinking among those under 21

The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System found that among high school students, 29% drank alcohol and 14% binge drank during the past 30 days. 14

In 2021, the Monitoring the Future Survey reported that 7% of 8th graders and 26% of 12th graders drank alcohol during the past 30 days, and 3% of 8th graders and 12% of 12th graders binge drank during the past 2 weeks. 15

In 2014, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York State Liquor Authority found that more than half (58%) of the licensed alcohol retailers in the City sold alcohol to underage decoys. 17

Enforcing the age 21 MLDA

Communities can enhance the effectiveness of age 21 MLDA laws by actively enforcing them.

More information on underage drinking

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