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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

American Drinking Age Saves Young Lives

In 1988 the legal drinking age went from 18 to 21 and the result was a reduction in the rate of drunken driving related accidents among young adults in America, according to a new review of studies. There were many who opposed raising the age limit, arguing that if someone was old enough to serve this country in the military, then they were old enough to order a beer. While there may be some logic to that argument, it’s hard to argue with the statistics associated with the change in the law.

One study showed that in 2011, 36 percent of college students said they had engaged in binge drinking in the past two weeks, but in 1988 it was 43 percent. In 2011, 22 percent of high school seniors engaged in binge drinking, in 1988 it was 35 percent. The change led to a reduction in harmful behavior often seen among young heavy drinkers. Raising the legal age has reduced the amount of young adults who practice unsafe sex, commit suicide, and engage in dating violence, according to HealthDay.

“The evidence is clear that there would be consequences if we lowered the legal drinking age,” said lead researcher William DeJong of Boston University School of Public Health, in a news release. DeJong believes that increased enforcement of the law is needed in order to continue lowering the rate of alcohol-related health issues among young adults. “Some people assume that students are so hell-bent on drinking, nothing can stop them. But it really is the case that enforcement works”.

The findings are published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
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