The Pros And Cons Of Raising The Drinking Age To 21

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For many years, there has been growing controversy on whether or not the drinking age in the United States should be lowered from 21 years old to 18 years old. Underage drinking has been a major problem in our country for many years now, and alcohol is the most widely used substance among America’s youth. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “ 8.7 million Americans between ages 12-20 report current alcohol consumption; which represents 23% of this age group for whom alcohol consumption is illegal” (Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility). So will drunk driving rates begin to increase if the age is lowered back down? Are 18 year olds brains fully developed and mature enough to consume alcohol? Or since 18 years …show more content…
With the continued “illegal” concept of drinking in the 1920’s and the current drunk driving epidemic, Ronald Reagan established an organization called the Presidential Commission against Drunk Driving (PCDD), which introduced 39 recommendations. Of the 39 recommendations from the PCDD, the Minimal Legal Purchasing Age, recommendation number 8, said that all states should raise the drinking age to 21. “Now, raising that drinking age is not a fad or an experiment. It 's a proven success. Nearly every State that has raised the drinking age to 21 has produced a significant drop in the teenage driving fatalities” (The American Presidency Project). Clearly, the president of the United States at the time was in favor of raising the legal drinking age, which says a lot coming from this influential leader. The remaining 38 implemented youth education programs, established a massive public information campaign and increased penalties directed to drunk …show more content…
For instance, a woman named Candy Lightner started a “Mothers against Drunk Driving” organization which played an indispensable role in generating support from congress to legally raise the age. Her 13 year old daughter, Cari, was killed in a drunk driving hit and run on May 3rd, 1980 which brought lots of attention to families. “I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving” (Lightner). This emotional and tragic event opened people’s eyes, especially parents that could relate to Lightner and what danger are out there on the roads. Four years later, after extensive lobbying from political groups, Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimal Drinking Age Act on July 17th, 1984. From that day forward, it has been set at 21 years old and should continue to be. “Through organizations like MADD, the 21 year-old drinking age has saved over 21,000 lives since the mid-1980s” (Choose Responsibility). Raising the legal drinking age from 18 years old to 21 years old during the 1980’s is one main reason it should stay at 21 years old in 2016. Since it was initially risen by Ronald Reagan in the first place due to skyrocketing drunk driving rates, what makes it OK to lower back down to 18

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