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.
Today’s teenager are look down upon regarding their behavior and ability to control themselves around alcohol beverage. In the article "Perils of Prohibition," by Elizabeth Whelan argues that the legal age to drink is not set to the appropriate age because moderate drinking for teens will help them be disciplined and actually take control of their life. He hopes to persuade her readers to speak out in favor of reforming the drinking age in the United States. Whelan provided valid argument for teenagers under the age of 21 with disciplined attitude towards alcohol and provides some compelling insights on the success of moderate drinking.
Young people have been attracted to alcohol since the early 1820’s, and it “...has rattled authorities around the world for centuries” (Clark 5). Through the 1800’s and into the 1900’s, “...anti-saloon activists helped to pass Prohibition in 1919 by circulating pictures of children sneaking alcohol out of taverns” (Clark 5). Teen drinking, however, climbed quickly after World War II and proceeded in an upward motion up into, “...the early 1970’s…[where there was a] successful movement to give 18-year-olds the right to vote” (Clark 6). And with
According to Drew K. Saylor, he writes that studies from a meta-analytic review showed that "Raising the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) is associated with a 16% median decrease in alcohol-related crash outcomes while lowering the MLDA result in a 10% median increase in such crash outcomes" (332). The essence of this argument is that having the law of the drinking age to be 21 has a positive effect in the country because there is a decrease in car crashes. This is why the author Drew K. Saylor also agrees when he writes "A solution to this problem is not a simple as lowering the drinking age and asking young people to choose responsibility" (332). Saylor's point is to make the people understand that lowering the drinking age won't fix much because accidents will still happen, but with more frequency. Since in the past, the argument was deciding whether to raise or no to raise the drinking age to be 21 because of the danger youths had to live through if something happened to them. Drew K. Saylor argues that the drinking age has led to create a change in the people who are 18-20 years old because college students now a days tend to consume more alcohol than any others. When this happens among college students, it’s called binge drinking. According to Drew K. Saylor, a professor from the University of Virginia with a BA degree, he states that “Binge drinking is the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time”
The stakeholder group that will gain most of the benefit from lowering the drinking age to 18 is the alcohol companies. In a sense, the stakeholders between ages 18 and 20 and alcohol companies go hand in hand. Because these young adults are, for the most part, eager to purchase alcohol, the potential skyrocket in sales for that age group would ensure massive profits for alcohol companies. This is made clear considering that underage drinkers in the United States consumed “an estimated 19.7% of the total alcohol consumed”
Consuming alcohol is considered a rite of passage for the average young individual. The minimum drinking age required to legally consume alcohol varies in each country, ranging from it always being legal to drinking being illegal at any age, but most countries have set the age at 18-19. In the United States, as of 1988, the MLDA is 21 throughout its entire territory, while the age of majority starts at 18. This paper analyzes the arguments to lower the minimum drinking age and unify it with the age of majority. The factors discussed are alcohol-related traffic accidents, encouragement of unsafe drinking habits, and inconsistency between the perception of adulthood and the MLDA.
Every year, thousands of deaths occur as a result of drunk driving, and every day people are facing the consequences of irresponsible drinking. Because of the issues caused by irresponsible drinking, the US government passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984 which raised the minimum drinking age to twenty-one to prevent drinking-related accidents and violence. Despite the intent of its passing, it was a counterproductive decision. Because of the higher age restriction, high school upperclassmen and college underclassmen see drinking as an exciting, rebellious act. Consequentially, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act resulted in an increase in dangerous and irresponsible drinking which continues to this day. Not only does the
According to Andrew Herman, “Each year, 14,000 die from drinking too much. 600,000 are victims of alcohol related physical assault and 17,000 are a result of drunken driving deaths, many being innocent bystanders” (470). These massive numbers bring about an important realization: alcohol is a huge issue in America today. Although the problem is evident in Americans of all ages, the biggest issue is present in young adults and teens. In fact, teens begin to feel the effects of alcohol twice as fast as adults and are more likely to participate in “binge-drinking” (Sullivan 473). The problem is evident, but the solution may be simple. Although opponents argue lowering the drinking age could make alcohol available to some teens not
These statistics’ prove Engs theory that because Alcohol consumption is illegal for young adults tend to consume alcohol and abuse alcohol more often. If their theory was true the binge drinking rate for 21 to 25 years olds would not be 45.5% in 2010. Another statistic that proves Engs “forbidden fruit theory” wrong is the statistic noted by the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study, they found that a proportion of those 19- to 22-year-olds that binged drank two weeks prior to their surveyed in 1984 was 40.7% and their current study in 2006 found that only 38.1% binged drank 2 weeks prior to the recent survey, Which; proves that the 1984 act has decreased binge drinking by 2% in America. This drop in binge drinking rates may only be a small drop in binge drinking rates. Which, convey that Americans do have a high percentage of binge drinkers. This problem brings up another argument that supporters of lowering the drinking age bring up.
Several states like Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maine in the United States of America lowered their drinking ages to 18. As a direct result there was increase in alcohol related clashes. This clearly shows that the teenagers are not ready to be left to drink freely. This situation can be attributed to the fact that the
As a result, alcohol use has become more, not less, dangerous” (New York Times, Nugent). In other words, having 21 as the minimum age of drinking has driven younger people towards to drink illegally and underage, which eventually causes more trouble and danger. David J. Hanson, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam, stated, “When we raise the drinking age to 21, which incidentally is the highest in the world, it makes drinking more attractive to young people” (ABC News, David Hanson). What Dr. Hanson claims is that because the drinking age is 21, which is one the highest in the world, it makes it that more attractive or valuable to young adults to drink because they are not at the legal age.
The macro environment surrounding alcohol sales and consumption has generally been stable and has experienced incremental growth throughout history. In the United States, the number of per capita consumption of alcohol has declined slightly, but has consistently remained around 2.5 gallons, per person, per year. The lower class, specifically females in the lower class are responsible for a majority of alcohol consumption in the United States. The highest per capita consumption worldwide is as follows: Luxembourg, Ireland, France, Hungary, and Denmark, (the US ranks 22nd.) According to one article, “the beverage alcohol industry contributed over $21 billion directly to state and local revenues during 2010. Of that amount, distilled spirits accounted for over $8.8 billion or 41% of this direct revenue” (“Distillery Spirits”).
Another interesting perspective on the industry's claim that it only advertises to encourage moderate drinking to those of age, is that if this were true, and only the 105 million drinkers of legal age in the US consumed the official maximum "moderate" amount of alcohol, .99 ounces or roughly two drinks, a day the industry would suffer a 40 percent decrease in the sale of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. Meaning that if alcohol companies truly only targeted who they claim they do, they would only be nearly cutting their profits in half.
Young people are considered to constitute the largest number of alcohol consumers and they account for a large portion of alcohol sales. This is despite the strict drinking laws that govern many countries as regards alcohol purchase and consumption. Underage drinking, which has been on the increase, is allegedly the major cause of alcohol-related problems facing the modern