The Effects Of The Minimum Drinking Age

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In a country infused with varied socio-cultural traditions revolving around alcohol consumption and promotions within popular media portraying its potential for pleasure and enjoyment, the presence and influence of alcohol becomes inescapable. Such prevalence of alcohol within American society raises a question concerning the appropriate minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) for an increasingly dynamic culture. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 punished states that allowed persons below age 21 to purchase and consume alcohol by withdrawing highway funding. Consequently by 1987, all 50 states had adopted an MLDA of 21. However despite current nationwide restriction, drinking remains commonplace among a high percentage of youth. Considering …show more content…
Fell finds that the “forbidden fruit” nature of alcohol (as a metaphor, the phrase typically refers to any indulgence or pleasure that is illegal or immoral) will always appeal to risk-taking teenagers. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration finds that by the age of eighteen, more than 70% of teens have had at least one drink and that people aged twelve to twenty drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. Lowering the MLDA and pushing alcohol further into high schools will only decrease this de facto age, encouraging even younger and riskier drinkers. Such a result would be dangerously unhealthy as the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) studies reveal that young people who began drinking before age fifteen are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence during their lifetime than those who began drinking at age twenty-one or later. And this wouldn’t be an issue only in high schools. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences finds that over 90% of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is consumed in an episode of binge drinking - a danger particularly apparent among college students. Yet in spite of these distressing statistics, there remains a notion that lowering the drinking age will rid alcohol of its forbidden fruit nature and therefore drive underage drinkers away. However what is not realized is that such an approach has been tried and tested in history and was only met with utter

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