Should the Minimum Drinking Age Be Lowered

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Tayrin O’Rand
14 March 2012

Should the Minimum Drinking Age be Lowered?
The minimum drinking age became a hot topic ever since it was set to twenty one years old. It is a law not everyone welcomes with open arms, one that has the most impact in the lives of adolescents and if violated, one that can put a state at risk of forfeiting ten percent of its annual federal highway appropriation. John M. McCardell Jr., president of Middlebury College; founder and president of Choose Responsibility, a non-profit organization, clearly states his desire for the National Minimum Drinking Age Act to be lowered to avoid binge drinking. On the other hand, Melanie Fonder and Misty Moise, among others, clearly express the benefits of this law and the rapidly rising concerns produced by the movement of an organization who fights to lower the drinking age “in the name of reducing college binge drinking” (1). McCardell Jr. remarks-drinking age was raised to twenty one to respond to the high level of drunken driving teenagers back in the 1970’s. During that time, each state had the freedom to set its own drinking age. In 1984 The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was approved. States no longer had the option to set their own drinking age, this law applied to all fifty states. Although alcohol related fatalities significantly decreased after the approval of this Act, John believes it has contributed, if not created, a whole new problem called “clandestine binge drinking”. Where most “underage” students find a way to access that which is prohibited by the law. Which often occurs before sport activities, surreptitious parties, sorority events etc., and still society chooses to be under the illusion this Act continues to be successful (2). It is for this reason, the “Amethyst Initiative” group, which consists of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States, have proposed lowering the “legal drinking age” from what it is today. They believe if it...
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