Why is the drinking age 21 and over, pt. 1?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2016 | Underage Drinking

The United States is one of the few countries in the world that has such a high drinking age requirement. Europe and Asia all have drinking ages that are lower than the U.S. limit. Why is the United States drinking age so high? Is it based on politics? Or is it based on science? This article will delve into underage drinking and the reasons that justify the age 21 drinking law.

Contrary to popular opinion, the age limit is not based on politics. It is based on scientific research. There are multiple studies that show that young people react differently to alcohol than adults. Teenagers get drunk faster and lack impulse control. This means that teenagers are more likely to binge drink and engage in risky behavior, like driving drunk and having unprotected sex.

All of this occurs at a time when the adolescent brain is still developing. Alcohol can negatively impact that development which impairs memory and cognitive function well into adult life.

It is a popular misconception that Europe, which has much lower drinking ages, experiences less alcohol-related crimes and problems among their young people. This is simply not true. Europe’s alcohol problems are much worse than in the United States. Europe has higher rates of drinking and driving, crashes, alcohol-related assaults and rapes, and decreasing school performance. Reducing the age limit does not increase safe teen behavior, it increases access that teenagers have to alcohol.

If your child is charged with an underage drinking offense, like minor in possession, then you may want to contact an attorney. Usually, if this is a first offense, it should go smoothly. However, that is all dependent on the judge and prosecutor. These cases could have severe consequences for your child’s professional future and life. Make sure you go into these proceedings fully prepared for every possible outcome.

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Charles Waechter | Lawyer.com Premium
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