Term Paper: America, When a Person Reaches

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[. . .] The following data is a prime example of such thinking.

Two studies estimated the effects of price on alcohol use by youths ages 16 to 21 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The data were collected in two cycles of surveys conducted from 1971 to 1975 and from 1976 to 1980, respectively (Adults, 2003). Both studies concluded that beer consumption is inversely related to both the monetary price of beer and the State minimum legal drinking age (MLDA). The studies also evaluated whether the effects of price differ according to the youths' consumption patterns (Adults, 2003). To this end, the investigators classified the youths into infrequent drinkers who consumed beer less than once per week, fairly frequent drinkers who consumed beer one to three times per week, and frequent drinkers who consumed beer four to seven times per week (Adults, 2003). These analyses found that higher prices and MLDAs reduced not only the fraction of youths who drank beer infrequently but that the fractions of youths who consumed beer fairly frequently and frequently declined more in both absolute and percentage terms than did the fraction of infrequent drinkers when prices rose (Adults, 2003)."

It is difficult to promote a lower drinking age when studies such as this one are circulated however, if one breaks out the age brackets and separates the 18- to 21-year-olds from the other age brackets one will discover, as happened in the previously mentioned study that the 18- to 21-year-olds are at a lower risk than both the younger and the older participants of the studies (Adults, 2003).

While studies indicate that 18- to 21-year-olds are not at the highest risk for traffic fatalities when it comes to the consumption of alcohol most studies fail to separate this age bracket from the others when they are studied for alcohol consumption (Marlett, 1996).

One study does show that young adults are not automatically the heaviest drinkers (Marlett, 1996).

In the NHSDA, 18- to 25-year-old respondents showed a lower prevalence of alcohol consumption than the 26- to 34-year-old cohort (Marlett, 1996). With regard to patterns of heavier consumption, however, the younger group reported a higher prevalence of heavy drinking or frequent monthly binge drinking. The rates of frequent monthly binge drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks per day on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days, are presented in table 1 (SAMHSA 1994). According to the NHSDA, heavy drinking increases during young adulthood and declines somewhat after the mid-thirties (Marlett, 1996)."

Today, irrefutable scientific evidence supports the fact that the early introduction of drinking is the safest way to reduce juvenile alcohol abuse. Young people in France, Spain, and Argentina rarely abuse alcohol (Why We Should Lower the Drinking Age to 19 by Gene Ford (http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol-info/YouthIssues/1046348192.html).They learn how to drink within the family, which sees drinking in moderation as natural and normal. Youth in these societies rarely embarrass themselves or their families by abusing alcohol. In Portugal and New Zealand there are no minimum drinking age requirements. In Belgium, most of Canada, Italy, and Spain, young people of sixteen years may consume in restaurants when with parents or another adult. Australia and South Africa have an 18-year minimum.Researchers have pointed out that minimum drinking age laws in the U.S. are a post-Prohibition phenomenon. Prior to the repeal of the Eighteenth amendment (Prohibition), state laws prohibiting minors from possession or use of alcohol were unusual. Adolescent alcohol consumption was regulated by the informal controls of family, community, peers, and self-restraint. The only drinking controls that have enjoyed any success over the centuries are social and cultural constraints (Why We Should Lower the Drinking Age to 19 by Gene Ford (http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol-info/YouthIssues/1046348192.html)."

The legal drinking age in America should be lowered to 18 years of age. It should be handled like other adult decisions are handled. There should be education, moderation and serious consequences for abuse of privilege (Perils of Prohibition: Why We Should Lower the Drinking Age to 18 http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/ACSH-Lower-Drinking-Age.htm. ElizabethWhelan, President, ACSH / Newsweek 25may95)

If an adult can die for his country, get married and divorced, apply for credit and move out of mom and dad's home, there is no valid reason to maintain a drinking legal age of 21 years old. When one searches the statistics one will find at first glance that the research falsely accuses 18- to 21-year-olds of traffic fatalities that they do not have. Once this age bracket is separated out and stands alone one can easily see that the age range is not responsible for the majority of those fatal accidents. This, coupled with the things an 18-year-old is expected to do supports the argument for lowering the drinking age to 18 years old.


States take innovative steps to curb drunken driving; With the number of accidents rising, they're doing everything from enlisting clergy to sobriety checks.(USA)

The Christian Science Monitor; December 12, 2002

Survey of College Students' Drinking Habits Offers Sobering Numbers.

Knight Ridder Washington Bureau (Washington) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News); April 10, 2002


Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO); June 25, 2004

Alcohol use among adolescents and young adults.

Alcohol Research & Health; January 1, 2003; Windle, Michael

Update: alcohol-related traffic crashes and fatalities among youth and young adults - United States, 1982-1994.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; December 1, 1995

The effects of price… [END OF PREVIEW]

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