Lowering the Drinking Age to 18.

Essay by eclarkdawg03 April 2003

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Minimum Legal Drinking Age

The Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) has been a controversial issue ever since the 1850's. The reason I chose to research this topic was to discover the pros and cons of lowering the legal drinking age to 18. Many people I know are very interested in such a change, but what the facts stated in my research may change their opinions slightly. In this report I will discuss the facts and fiction of this debate, and both sides of the argument to lower or even raise the MLDA.

Following the end of Prohibition, each State developed its own set of policies to regulate the distribution, sale, and consumption of alcohol. In addition to the MLDA, examples of other alcohol control policies include excise taxes, restrictions on hours and days of sales, and server training. "The law's goal, of course, was to make young people happier, healthier, and safer."

(Smith, 1999) Many of these other alcohol policies have only recently been evaluated. Of all the alcohol control policies, MLDA policy has been the most studied. Since the 1970's, at least 70 studies have explicitly examined the effects of either increases or decreases in the MLDA. The MLDA policies may have been evaluated sooner and more often for a variety of reasons, including growing concern about youth drinking and driving, availability of traffic crash history, the fact that many States first lowered, then raised, their MLDA's, and the effect of the change with the different MLDA's. After all the study over the MLDA, no changes have been made at the present time. It is still in constant debate whether the age should be raised or even possibly lowered.

Beer is the alcoholic beverage of choice for most youth. As a result, reduced rates of alcohol among youth after...