Lowering the Legal Minimum Drinking Age Essay

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The issue of underage drinking has become a major problem, especially on college campuses. But, underage drinking is not purely the root of all accidents related to alcohol. The real problem lies within the unsafe underage drinking habits amongst youth. There are ways that these alcohol-related accidents can be avoided. Several organizations have been created that are targeting a change in the legal drinking age laws. One key way to lower the risk of unsafe drinking is to lower the minimum legal drinking age from twenty-one to eighteen. The minimum legal drinking age was not always twenty-one; it has fluctuated between twenty-one and eighteen over the past few decades. In the article, “Underage Drinking and the Drinking Age” by Carla T.…show more content…
Once the issue of lowering the minimum legal drinking age arose, many individual states began to review their drinking laws. Some chose to lower the legal age to eighteen, while others remained at twenty-one. Between 1970 and 1976, 29 states had changed their legal drinking age to eighteen (Main 35). What this caused was teenagers travelling from one state to another where they were allowed to drink at the age of eighteen. This travelling led to an increase in highway accidents due to drunk driving (Main 35). This was quickly brought to the federal government’s attention. In the article, “Turning 21 and the Associated Changes in Drinking and Driving After Drinking Among College Students” by Kim Fromme, Reagan R. Wetherill, and Dan J. Neal, the problem with alcohol related highway accidents was addressed. The states realized that the differences between legal drinking ages was causing a problem and by 1988, each state had set their legal drinking age back to twenty-one (Fromme, Neal, and Wetherill 22). Now, the question is whether or not this change has had a positive or negative effect on drinking habits amongst teenagers. As many teenagers enter college, they begin to experiment with many things. Although not all students participate in underage drinking, it is evident that a vast majority do. Drinking is not the problem. The main problem occurs when students resort to binge drinking. In the
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