The Benefits of a Minimum Legal Drinking Age.

Essay by DestadudaCollege, UndergraduateA-, September 2005

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Minimum legal drinking age laws, often referred to as MLDA laws, prohibit the consumption of alcohol by, and the sale of alcohol to, persons under the age of 21. The legislation to raise the minimum legal drinking age to 21 in every state has had lasting effects on the lives of Americans everywhere. Lower alcohol usage, increased law enforcement and lower rates of alcohol-related crimes are some positive effects reported since the MLDA was set at 21 for all states.

First, the responsibilities that come with alcohol consumption are too much for most teens. High school seniors have reported less alcohol use in states that raised the MLDA versus states that did not. There has been a decrease in heavy drinking (5 or more drinks in a single sitting) for ages 17 through 19. There has even been some evidence that youth drank less even after turning 21. These statistics show that we are better equipped to make hard decisions about drinking when we have matured beyond our teens.

Decisions like assigning a designated driver, and knowing when to stop drinking call for a level of responsibility most teens have not yet reached. Society is no longer willing to tolerate the consequences associated with the excessive use of alcohol.

Raising the minimum legal drinking age has had other special side effects. Law enforcement agencies have increased their surveillance and ticketing of under age liquor sales. The high school teens in every town know which liquor stores and gas stations do not check identifications. Even the technically challenged among the high school set know where to get a forged drivers license. Anyone with a color printer, a digital camera, and a laminator can do the job. It is even easier to just borrow the driver's license of an of-age friend who...