evidence that a lower drinking age resulted in more traffic injuries and fatalities among youth
For three body paragraphs, one paragraph support the thesis, one paragraph against the thesis and the rest one discuss both sides of the thesis. Use those four articles as resources. High light the sentences you quote, summarize or paraphrase.
Do not contain any of personal opinions.
This essay should not be more than 500 words.
You have 5 hours to complete the essay.
One PPT also attached to explain the writing.
Perils of Prohibition
Why we should lower the drinking age to 18
by Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D.
My colleagues at the Harvard School of , where I studied preventive medicine, deserve high praise for their recent study on teenage drinking. What they found in their survey of college students was that they drink “early and…often,” frequently to the point of getting ill.
As a public-health scientist with a daughter, Christine, heading to college this fall, I have professional and personal concerns about teen binge drinking. It is imperative that we explore why so many young people abuse alcohol. From my own study of the effects of alcohol restrictions and my observations of Christine and her friends’ predicament about drinking, I believe that today’s laws are unrealistic. Prohibiting the sale of liquor to responsible young adults creates an atmosphere where binge drinking and alcohol abuse have become a problem. American teens, unlike their European peers, don’t learn how to drink gradually, safely and in moderation.
Alcohol is widely accepted and enjoyed in our culture. Studies show that moderate drinking can be good for you. But we legally proscribe alcohol until the age of 21 (why not 30 or 45?). Christine and her classmates can drive cars, fly planes, marry, vote, pay taxes, take out loans and risk their lives as members of the U.S. armed forces. But laws in all 50 states say that no alcoholic beverages may be sold to anyone until that magic “21” birthday.
In parts of the Western world, moderate drinking by teenagers and even children under their parents’ supervision is a given. Though the per capita consumption of alcohol in France, Spain and Portugal is higher than in the United States, the rate of alcoholism and alcohol abuse is lower. A glass of wine at dinner is normal practice. Kids learn to regard moderate drinking as an enjoyable family activity rather than as something they have to sneak away to do . Banning drinking by young people makes it a badge of adulthood-a tantalizing forbidden fruit.
Christine and her teenage friends like to go out with a group to a club, comedy show or sports bar to watch the game. But teens today have to go on the sly with fake IDs and the fear of getting caught. Otherwise, they’re denied admittance to most places and left to hang out on the street. That’s hardly a safer alternative. Christine and her classmates now find themselves in a legal no man’s land. At 18, they’re considered adults. Yet when they want to enjoy a drink like other adults, they are, as they put it, “disenfranchised.”
Comparing my daughter’s dilemma with my own as an “underage” college student, I see a difference–and one that I think has exacerbated the current dilemma. Today’s teens are far more sophisticated than we were. They’re treated less like children and have more responsibilities than we did. This makes the 21 restriction seem anachronistic.
We should make access to alcohol legal at 18. At the same time, we should come down much harder on alcohol abusers and drunk drivers of all ages. We should intensify our efforts at alcohol education for adolescents. We want them to understand that it is perfectly OK not to drink. But if they do, alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
After all, we choose to teach our children about safe sex, including the benefits of teen abstinence. Why, then, can’t we–schools and parents alike–teach them about safe drinking?
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The Minimum Legal Drinking Age: Facts and Fallacies
Brief History of the MLDA
After Prohibition, nearly all states restricting youth access to designated 21 as the
minimum legal drinking age (MLDA). Between 1970 and 1975, however, 29 states lowered the
MLDA to 18, 19, or 20. These changes occurred when the minimum age for other activities, such
as voting, also were being lowered (Wechsler & Sands, 1980). Scientists began studying the
effects of the lowered MLDA, focusing particularly on the incidence of motor vehicle crashes,
the leading cause of death among teenagers. Several studies in the 1970s found that motor
vehicle crashes increased significantly among teens when the MLDA was lowered (Cucchiaro et
al, 1974; Douglas et al, 1974; Wagenaar, 1983, 1993; Whitehead, 1977; Whitehead et al, 1975;
Williams et al, 1974).
With evidence that a lower drinking age resulted in more traffic injuries and fatalities among
youth, citizen advocacy groups pressured states to restore the MLDA to 21. Because of such
advocacy campaigns, 16 states increased their MLDAs between September 1976 and January
1983. Resistance from other states, and concern that minors would travel across state lines to
purchase and consume alcohol, prompted the federal government in 1984 to enact the Uniform
Drinking Age Act, which mandated reduced federal transportation funds to those states that did
not raise the MLDA to 21. Among alcohol control policies, the MLDA has been the most
studied: since the 1970s, at least 70 studies have examined the effects of either increasing or
decreasing the MLDA.
A higher minimum legal drinking age is effective in preventing alcohol-related deaths
and injuries among youth. When the MLDA has been lowered, injury and death rates
increase, and when the MLDA is increased, death and injury rates decline (Wagenaar,
A higher MLDA results in fewer alcohol-related problems among youth, and the 21-year old MLDA saves the lives of well over 1,000 youth each year (Jones et al, 1992;
NHTSA, 1989). Conversely, when the MLDA is lowered, motor vehicle crashes and
deaths among youth increase. At least 50 studies have evaluated this correlation
A common argument among opponents of a higher MLDA is that because many minors
still drink and purchase alcohol, the policy doesn’t work. The evidence shows, however,
that although many youth still consume alcohol, they drink less and experience fewer
alcohol-related injuries and deaths (Wagenaar, 1993).
Research shows that when the MLDA is 21, people under age 21 drink less overall and
continue to do so through their early twenties (O’Malley &Wagenaar, 1991).
The effect of the higher MLDA occurs with little or no enforcement. Historically,
enforcement has focused primarily on penalizing underage drinkers for illegal alcohol
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