Prior to 1984, some states had set the legal drinking age at 18, 19 or 20. Because the MLDA was always at the discretion of the state, the law does not violate the 21st Amendment, which reserved the right to regulate alcohol for all responsibilities not expressly assigned to the federal government to the states.  However, since the law controlled distribution from $8 million to $99 million, depending on the size of the state, the law provided a strong incentive for states to change the drinking age to 21.  In 1995, all 50 states, two permanently inhabited territories, and DC were compliant, but Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (and Guam until 2010) remained at 18, despite losing 10% of federal funding for highways. History says no. When U.S. states had a lower legal drinking age, the drinking problem was worse for minors.3 For example, before the legal drinking age of 21 was introduced by all states, underage drunk drivers were involved in more than twice as many fatal motor vehicle accidents as they are today.3 References 3. Has fallen, James. Excerpted from “Chapter 2: Federalism: Resolute, the Federal Government Should Restore the Freedom of Each State to Set Its Drinking Age.” in Ellis, Richard and Nelson, Michael (eds.) Debating Reform.
CQPress Publishers, Fall 2009. Of the colleges surveyed, 98% offered alcohol education programs to their students. Only 50% of colleges surveyed offered intervention programs, 33% coordinated efforts with the surrounding community to monitor illegal alcohol sales, 15% confirmed that surrounding institutions offered responsible drinking training, and 7% limited the number of alcohol outlets in the community. In 67% of the schools surveyed, there were special offers for “problem drinkers”; 22% of schools referred problem drinkers to off-campus resources, and 11% offered no intervention programs. 34% of schools surveyed were located in communities that were actively conducting compliance audits, but 60% of these audits occurred without university involvement. One-fifth of the schools surveyed were unaware of the NIAAA`s recommendations.  Despite its name, this law did not prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under 21 years of age, but only their purchase. However, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, have extended the law to a complete ban.
The minimum age for buying and drinking alcohol is a state law, and most states still allow alcohol consumption by “minors” under certain circumstances. In some states, private consumption is not restricted, while in others, consumption is only permitted in certain locations in the presence of consenting and supervising family members, such as Colorado, Maryland, Montana, New York, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Nor does the law seek to criminalize the consumption of alcohol on religious occasions (e.g., communion wine, Kiddush). In the 1960s, Congress and state legislatures came under increasing pressure to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18. This was largely due to the Vietnam War, in which many young men who were not allowed to vote (or drink legally) were conscripted into the war and therefore had no way of influencing the people they sent to risk their lives. “Old enough to fight, old enough to vote” was a slogan commonly used by proponents of lowering the voting age. The slogan dates back to World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt lowered the military age to 18. With the lowering of the voting age to 18, the legal drinking age (MLDA) has also been lowered, as the ability to vote (and for men to be unwittingly conscripted into the military) should also allow for the legal consumption of alcoholic beverages. 1984-2014: National drinking age raised to 21: In response to the drunk driving epidemic of the 1970s, President Ronald Reagan passed the Minimum Drinking Age Act in July 1984, a law requiring states to raise the drinking age to 21. In short, we ended up with a national minimum age of 21 due to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act 1984.
This law essentially told states that they had to set a minimum drinking age of 21 or lose up to 10 percent of their federal funding for roads. Since this is a serious piece, states have become similar quite quickly. Interestingly, this law does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol per se; It only persuades states to prohibit the purchase and public ownership of persons under the age of 21. Exceptions include possession (and presumably consumption) of alcohol) for religious purposes, in the company of parents, spouses or guardians over the age of 21, for medical purposes, and in the course of lawful employment. A key group of philosophical opposition at a minimum lies in the natural human need for education and experience; Young adults do not have the opportunity to educate themselves and drink responsibly until the age of 21. A related school of thought emphasizes the importance of individual rights and freedoms.  Another group comes from pragmatism, which emphasizes that young people are unlikely to stop drinking and points to statistics on underage drinking as a reason for introducing a lower drinking age, which would provide an opportunity to “help young people make healthy and responsible choices.”  Social environmental theories are also cited; Making alcohol a forbidden fruit can encourage more dangerous drinking than lowering the drinking age.   With a lower drinking age, youth would have access to “publicly moderated drinking environments” instead of “modeling their behavior based on the excessive drinking typical of private student parties,” although perceptions of excessive drinking on campus are often overestimated.  Many activities have an age of initiation. A person has to wait until the age of 16 to start driving, until the age of 18 to marry without parental consent, until the age of 35 to become president, and so on. The age limit for alcohol is based on research showing that young people react differently to alcohol. Adolescents get drunk twice as fast as adults,9 but have a harder time knowing when to stop.
Teenagers, of course, overdo it and are more often than adults. Raising the legal drinking age of 21 reduces road accidents,4-6 protects the brains of mature youth,12,14 and ensures overall safety. References 4. Fell, J.; Minimum Legal Drinking Age Policy Knowledge Asset, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Substance Abuse Policy Research Program website; March 2009. However, these changes were quickly followed by studies showing an increase in deaths from road accidents due to the decrease in MLDA. In response to these findings, many states have raised the legal drinking age to 19 (and sometimes to 20 or 21).  In 1984, the National Minimum Legal Drinking Act, drafted by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and influenced by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), required all states to set their minimum purchasing age at 21.