What’s the Best Minimum Drinking Age? Researchers Say 21

Hemera/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) — Binge drinking on college campuses is often cited as a reason to lower the drinking age, while raising the minimum age has been associated with a lower number of traffic fatalities and teen suicides. New data shows that the U.S.’s stringent stance on keeping the legal age at 21 can also have a long-term positive impact on drinking behavior.

Andrew Plunk, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says that people who lived in states with higher drinking age limits tend to drink more moderately.
“The drinking age laws did do that, they reduced drinking problems for people later on in life and the way that they did that was by reducing heavy drinking,” Plunk says.

“Alcohol is the leading substance of abuse among youth in the United States,” Ralph Hingson, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at NIAAA said, according to ScienceDaily. “Underage persons frequently binge drink, averaging six drinks per occasion five times per month.”

For the study, researchers looked at states in the 1970s and ’80s that had lower drinking ages compared to those that had drinking ages of 21 years old.

The study’s findings, which will be published in the March 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, show that 18 to 21 year olds who don’t go to college drink less with a higher legal limit.  In fact, people who were able to legally able to purchase alcohol at a younger age had a 15-percent increased risk of binge drinking more than once a month.

“It’s probably wrong to think of that as the driving factor for underage drinking policy,” says Plunk. “It’s not just individuals on college campuses who benefit from these laws.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

1 Comment

  • SomebodySmart says:

    The article suggests that scientific research shows that the United States of America ought not to be a free country, with liberty and justice for all; that the crooked politicians whom Mr. and Mrs. Twenty voted against supposedly have a right to use gun-toting goons in bulletproof vests as weapons of unprovoked violence to intimidate Mr. and Mrs. Twenty into living a healthy, alcohol-free lifestyle

    Excuse rejected. If they choose to be alcoholics, that is their right. They are free to quit at any time.

    They do not jail older alcoholics for freely practicing alcoholism, because older alcoholics hold more political power, so they punish teenagers instead. That’s right up there with arguing that drinking alcohol during pregnancy harms the baby, so let’s punish men under 21 who drink responsibly, and not pregnant women over 21 who get drunk.

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