Friday, September 5, 2008

Should the drinking age be lowered back down to 18?

There has been a lot of debate recently, precipitated by college presidents in particular about dropping the drinking age back to 18 from 21.

This is a bad idea.

Increasing the drinking age to 21 has saved lives by reducing drunk driving fatalities. It is estimated that 900 18 -20 year old lives are saved per year which is over 25,000 since the minimum drinking age was increased. Other problems such as assault, property damage, rape, suicide, homicide and poisonings have also decreased.

Further the physical damage that excessive amounts of alcohol does to the developing adolescent brain, the gastro-intestinal tract, liver, etc. is reduced.

The likelihood that if young people drink alcohol they also will move on to other drugs such as nicotine, pot, cocaine, etc. is increased.

The further reduction in classroom success, work absenteeism due to "hangovers" etc., increased medical costs, is estimated to cost New Yorkers $3.2 billion per year, and Americans $60.3 billion.

Raising the drinking age to 21 has provided many public health benefits and increased the quality of life for individuals and their families.

To read the Press Release issued on Friday, August 29, 2008 by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse click here.

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