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Underage Drinking, more specifically should there be a legal drinking age?

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Sam Acton Mr. Elcock IB2 ToK Underage Drinking, more specifically should there be a legal drinking age? What is the issue? -The imposition of a legal drinking age limit is one aspect of a society's desire to reduce the potential for harms associated with inappropriate drinking patterns. -The minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) of twenty-one is targeted to reduce the risk associated between young adults and alcohol. Young adults are more likely to drink and drive than their older counterparts, and they substantially underestimate the relative risks of driving while intoxicated.1 1 Perrine, M.W., Raymond Peck and James Fell, "Epidemiologic Perspectives on Drunk Driving," Surgeon General's Workshop on Drunk Driving, US Department of Heath and Human Services, Washington D.C., 1988, 35-76. -Generally speaking, national laws relate to drinking age limits for settings outside the home, such as taverns, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The laws tend to be silent on drinking within the home with the exception of those in the United Kingdom where alcohol may be consumed from the age of five with parental consent. ...read more.


-Alcohol abuse is considered to be a factor in thirty percent of violent crimes committed annually -Numerous social problems have been attributed to alcohol use, including domestic violence, driving under the influence, automobile accidents, loss in productivity, and crime -The effects of alcohol abuse were estimated to cost the United States over $148 billion in 1992. -More than 107,400 individuals died as a consequence of alcohol consumption that same year Toomey, Traci L., "The Minimum Legal Drinking Age: History, Effectiveness, and Ongoing Debate", Alcohol Health & Research World, Fall 1996 v20 n4 p213 -As noted in the Compendium, 23 states do not make it illegal for a minor to attempt to purchase alcohol, six states have no laws against the purchase of alcohol by minors, two states have no laws banning or limiting minors from possessing alcohol, 35 states have exceptions that allow minors to possess alcohol in some cases, 21 states have no laws that make consumption by minors specifically illegal, 16 states have no laws prohibiting minors from deliberately misrepresenting their age to obtain alcohol, and 19 states have no laws prohibiting minors from presenting false identification documents. ...read more.


-The decrease in drinking and driving problems are the result of many factors and not just the rise in purchase age or the decreased per capita consumption. These include: education concerning drunk driving, designated driver programs, increased seat belt and air bag usage, safer automobiles, lower speed limits, free taxi services from drinking establishments, etc. -While there has been a decrease in per capita consumption and motor vehicle crashes, unfortunately, during this same time period there has been an INCREASE in other problems related to heavy and irresponsible drinking among college age youth. Most of these reported behaviors showed little change until AFTER the 21 year old law in 1987. For example from 1982 until 1987 about 46% of students reported "vomiting after drinking." This jumped to over 50% after the law change. Significant increase were also found for other variables:"cutting class after drinking" jumped from 9% to almost 12%; "missing class because of hangover" went from 26% to 28%; "getting lower grade because of drinking" rose from 5% to 7%; and "been in a fight after drinking" increased from 12% to 17%. All of these behaviors are indices of irresponsible drinking, which is exactly what the legal drinking age was trying to combat. ...read more.

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