The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 banned underage drinking in public and sales of alcohol to people under the age of 21. This law compels those underage to quit drinking publicly, and studies show the law has curbed deaths and alcohol-related accidents.
Underage Drinking Leads to Problems
It is believed that people under the age of 21 have not attained a level of maturity needed to responsibly drink alcoholic beverages. Maturity is a learned behavior that comes with time and exposure to situations. Youth learn maturity through watching other adults interact with the world.
When a young person is given responsibility that requires maturity beyond his years, he is set up for failure. This is shown in the link between drinking underage and an increase in associated problems.
- Alcohol poisoning
- Car accidents
- Injuries, burns, and falls
- Sexual Assault
- Fights and violence
- Brain damage
- Problems at school
- Missing school
- Failing school
- Alcohol dependence
- Drug Abuse
- Risky sexual behavior
Underage Drinking is a Public Health Concern
The goal of every community is to raise mature, responsible adults. Yet underage drinking undermines that goal.
- Excessive underage drinking contributes to more than 4,300 deaths each year in America.
- 189,000 emergency room visits were for alcohol-related injuries in underage drinkers during 2010.
- Binge drinking accounts for more than 90% of underage drinking. Binge drinking causes alcohol poisoning and death.
- Underage drinking affects the national economy adversely, costing more than $24 billion in 2010.
Quit Drinking for Success at School
Those students who live in a state with a higher minimum age for drinking fair better in school than those with a lower minimum age. Students who live in a state with a minimum drinking age of 18 have a greater chance of dropping out of school, 13% greater chance.
Quit Drinking to Curb Deaths
A 2016 study by Washington State University in St. Louis shows that increasing the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 has lowered alcoholism rates. This has also decreased rates of alcohol-related health issues, including liver disease and cancer. While the study only proves association, the increase in lifelong positive effects is noted.
Quit Drinking to Curb Accidents
Drunk-driving also shows a strong association with underage drinking. Ten percent of high school students admitted driving while under the influence of alcohol on the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. 22% admitted riding in the car of someone impaired by alcohol.
- States that increased the minimum drinking age to 21 saw a 16% decline in motor vehicle crashes.
- Drinking during the previous month decreased from 59% (ages 18-20) in 1985 to 40% in 1991.
- Drinking declined among that age 21-25, from 70% in 1985 to 56% in 1991.
Ready to Quit Drinking?
While cause-and-effect cannot be assumed, a higher minimum age for drinking shows signs of success. Underage drinking and related accidents has declined. If you are alcohol dependent and are ready to quit drinking, call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616. We offer outpatient treatment options to help you quit drinking while still living your life.
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