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Lowering the Drinking Age A Means of Teen Death For several years the drinking age in the United States has been 21 and now some think it is time to lower the drinking age to 18 This is a very foolish plan for a variety of reasons In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Purchase Age Act to encourage each state to make a minimum legal purchase age MLPA of 21 by 1986 The results were overwhelming 1071 lives were saved in 1987 alone From 1985 - 1996 the estimated number of lives saved reached nearly 17000 The law changed the drinking habits in teens because 18 year olds could no longer get alcohol It also affected the number of fatalities and drunken driving incidents For example there has been a 63 decline in alcohol-related crash fatalities among young drivers since 1982 It has also been found that because kids dont get to drink at a younger age it reduces the chance of addiction among other problems Here are some examples of how this law has affected those under the age of 21 High school seniors who could not legally drink until age 21 drank less before age 21 and between ages 21 - 25 than did seniors in states with lower drinking ages A national survey of 16 - 21 year-olds found that teens from states with a higher MLPA drank less frequently and in 1978 the National Study of Adolescent Drinking Behavior found that 10th - 12th graders in states with lower drinking ages drank significantly more were less likely to abstain from alcohol and were drunk more often than students in states with a drinking age of 21 These facts show that lowering the drinking age works and that in those states that did have lower drinking ages the problems in teens increased Another problem arising from a lower drinking age is imitation The behavior of 18
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