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why do you have to be 21 to drink alcohol

For most, July 17 is a pretty anti-climactic day. (Unless you happen to claim this date as a birthday, in which case, woo! Cue the confetti and streamers. )бUnbeknownst to many, however, something did happen back in 1984 that affects a lot of us: The
was passed, establishing the legal drinking age at 21. arbitrary ) since youБre a legal adult at 18, Congress didnБt just pick the number out of a hat. ThereБs a long and storied history about alcohol in America, and why the legal drinking age is set at 21. Before 1984, some states had the legal drinking age set at 18, 19, or 20. At the end of Prohibition in the 1930s, the legal drinking age was 21. This benchmark held steady until 1971, when the minimum voting age was dropped to 18 and buzz began to build for a reduction in the minimum legal drinking age, as well. Between 1970 and 1975, nearly half the states dropped the drinking age to 18, 19, and 20. But the legal drinking age wasnБt set over medical reasons. БNone of this had any medical or psychological basis, but had to do with rights and responsibilities afforded to people defined as Бadults,ББ Alix Caster, MD, a pediatric doctor with Orlando Health Associates, tells Teen Vogue.

БSpecifically, it was believed by most that if an 18-year-old was old enough to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, he was old enough to vote and to drink. Б However, as the legal drinking age fell across the country in the Б70s, alarm bells started to go off, notes licensed clinical psychologist , PhD, an adjunct associate professor at UCLAБs Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. БResearch evidence after that time strongly suggested that an increase in traffic accidents among young people was linked with this downward shift in the minimum legal drinking age,Б she explains to Teen Vogue. БAs a result, a citizensБ effort began prompting states to re-establish 21 as the minimum legal age. Б The drinking age was raised back to 21 over federal highway funding. In 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act passed, which stated federal highway funds would be withheld from U. S. states that failed to set the minimum legal drinking age back at 21. By 1988, all the states had adopted the age minimum. The United States has one of the highest minimum legal drinking ages in the world. Along with Iceland, Japan, and South Korea, the U. S. is one of just a few developed countries to have a minimum legal drinking age over 18, according to the.

In fact, like Belgium and Germany, 16-year-olds are allowed to purchase alcohol. However, the suggests thereБs been a 16% decline in annual traffic fatalities as a result of setting the minimum legal drinking age back to 21 Б amounting to roughly 800 saved lives per year, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Interestingly, keeping alcohol further from young people also seems to affect class attendance; compared with states that had a legal drinking age of 18, students were to stay in school when the legal drinking age in the state was 21. Raising the minimum drinking age has led to less drinking overall, among all young adults, even with easy access to alcohol. In the years that followed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, drinking among 18-to-20-year-olds declined by 19%, and 21-to-25-year-olds by 14%. This was especially interesting, since most underage people report that alcohol is Бfairly easyБ or Бvery easyБ to get ahold of. When it comes to alcohol, even small behavior checks seem to matter, says Glasner-Edwards. БIf it requires more effort, it buys the person a little bit of time to think about how important it is to them to drink at that moment, or to consider the potential negative consequences of drinking,Б she explains.

БIt appears that these barriers are important for young people to benefit from those minimum age drinking laws. Б Бa public health problem. Б ThatБs because of several health risks that are associated with it, as outlined in the Surgeon GeneralБs 2oo7 Call to Action, Caster notes. being a leading contributor to death from injuries (which is the main cause of death for people younger than 21), causing dangerous health problems like alcohol poisoning, having effects on the developing brain, and others. Related: Check this out: A minor under the age of 21 can legally drink alcohol if given the drink by his or her parent (or legal guardian), and in the presence of his or her parent. For example, a minor can legally drink alcohol in a restaurant, as long as the childвs parent orders the drink, and gives the drink to the minor without leaving the presence of the minor. However, if the parent gets up and goes to the bathroom and the minor takes a sip of alcohol without the parent being present, then the parent can be in violation of the law.

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