The Legal Drinking Age

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Many countries in the world struggle to solve the never-ending debates about the legal minimum age that minors are allowed to consume alcohol. Fixing a minimum age requires consultation, there are interest groups that argue for and against lowering legal minimum age, these groups include religious organization and parents. Legal drinking age across countries in the world, the highest age is 21 years, some countries set their legal drinking age at 16 years.


United States is one of the countries that have highest minimum legal drinking age, in United States this requirement was set by National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 during the reign of President Reagan. Imposing the minimum legal drinking age legislation has short and long term effects. Prohibiting of alcohol of individuals before 21 years is beneficial in preventing alcohol related problems. Setting a minimum legal drinking age has led to high impact in drinking behavior and reduction of alcohol related problems.    

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Minimum drinking legal ages varies from one nation to another around the world. Many nations have passed legislation prohibiting the sale of alcohol to the minor, however, this legislation apply only to alcoholic drinks. The minimum legal drinking age across the world is averaged at 16 years around the world. History of minimum legal drinking age the imposition of minimum legal drinking age started in 1970s. These requirements were emphasize by a government after considerations. There was that high death tolls associated to a vehicle crash, many people who die in road accident was the result of misjudgments, behaviorally, alcohol in minors lead to behavior problems.  

Scientists began studying the impact of minimum legal drinking age, the research findings showed t hat the lowering the minimum age requirement led to increase reported cases of vehicle crashes and death among youths. Setting the minimum age to be 21 years was as a result of studies conducted by scientists and recommended. These scientists believe that the brain of a person is not properly matured until the age of 21 years. These scientists suggested that exposing alcohol to people below this age will lead to behavior complications.


The minimum age set varies from nation to another; the enforcement of legislation on minimum legal drinking age varies widely across the nation. For many countries, drinking age restriction is imposed if the incidence of alcohol is reported. According to the facts provided by World Health Organization (WHO), 80% of people in the world drink alcohol regularly at the age of 15 years. According to the report provided by World Health Organization (WHO) many countries in the world fix the minimum drinking age at 18 years. Around 20 countries impose their minimum legal drinking age at 16 years, 20 countries do not have any laws prohibiting minors from drinking alcohol, these countries including Norway, Ghana, Jamaica, Cambodia etc do not have any legislation on minimum required drinking age. The further stipulates that, other countries including Japan and Paraguay impose their legal drinking age at 20 years. The highest legal drinking age imposed by nations is 21 years, United States imposed their drinking age at 21 years.

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In 1984, the National minimum drinking age act in United States required all the states affiliated to United States to raise their minimum purchase and possession of alcoholic drinks at age of 21 years. The requirements of this legislation, the possession of alcohol does not apply to some exceptions. The law does not apply to particular exceptions, medical purpose, established religious purpose and or in case of employment by a company.       

One of the problems associated with minimum drinking age is identifying the minimum legal age to reduce misuse. There is difficulty setting a minimum age because, involve issues of religion, parental rights, freedom and responsibility. Although, minimum drinking age legislation has been imposed is still ineffective it has proved effective.   

In United States, there were arguments against minimum lowering minimum legal drinking age, some of these argued that higher minimum age legal drinking age is crucial in controlling alcohol related diseases, deaths, and injuries. When minimum legal drinking age is lowered, there  are an increase deaths and illness, when minimum legal age is  higher, injuries, and related diseases are reducing drastically (Glen 214).  

According to Glen, minimum legal drinking age limit results in low alcohol related problems in youths. If a minimum age is at 21 years, the motor vehicle accidents will reduce among youths. Research has shown that higher minimum drinking age results into reduce accident fatalities among youths. Research indicates that the legislation will lead to saving lives of approximately 1000 people of age 20 years and below (Glen 214).   

There are also arguments that support lowering the minimum legal drinking age, according to these arguments, increasing the minimum legal drinking age has not led to the reduction in deaths and fatalities. According to research done in United States, in states of Massachusetts and New York, the results indicated that there was no effect of limiting drinking ages because the number of accident deaths remains the same. The research also indicated that the impact of behavioral change before and after passing of minimum legal drinking age remain the same in many. Research among the minors in schools indicates that the drug misuse did not decline after imposing the laws on minimum legal drinking age. The reported cases of alcohol consumption remain constant even after the laws had been declared (Wagenaar 271).

The study among college students shows that, there was no behavioral change in students from states with a minimum age limit. The results obtain shows that the behavior of students from all states was the same. This evidence shows that the there is no impact of limiting the drinking.

The research a result that has been done indicates that with limiting the drinking age at 21 years in United States, the country continues to have serious problems. There has been no substantial difference in behavior and alcohol related problems in United States and countries that have not passed legislation barring minors from taking alcohol (Glen 215).

There has been an argument that instead of imposing strict minimum age at 21 years, youths should be taught on moderation of alcohol taking in United States. The youths who choose to take alcohol should be taught on dangers of over consumption; this will deter many youths from over indulging alcohol drinking. 

Many argumentations, have suggested because limiting drinking age limit to 21 years has not assisted, deterring youths from consuming alcohol it is time to reduce the minimum age to 18 years. It is argued that United States should reduce the limit to 18 years like many countries in the world.

Those supporting idea of lowering the drinking age argue that, in United States, 18 years is adulthood age. At this age,  a person is free to do what he thinks is appropriate, they choose to drink, take cigarette, get married and being prosecuted as an adult, so drinking should be allow as a right.   

Those against lowering the age limit argue that lowering to 18 years is medically unacceptable. They argue that at18, brain parts such as frontal lobes, which are essential in planning, coordination, and planning are not fully developed. Exposure to alcohol will hinder proper development of these parts. Interference of these parts will lead to suicide, violence, poor decision making, dangerous risky taking, and vulnerability to addiction (Bond 28).

Those arguing for higher drinking limit state that there is increased cases of violence. Youths indulging in alcohol at 18 years engage to casinos, robbery, and violence. The use of guns and other weapons was high. Significantly, those supporting minimum legal drinking age to be fix at 21 argue that people get mature at 21 than 18 years, they argued that at 18, years, a person enters independence; they are exposed to binge drinking, sexual activity and irresponsibility. They engage in these behaviors because they are still immature.

There are also suggestions that instead of investing heavily in legislation, there should be programs to teach youths to moderate their drinking habits, according to the proponent of this proposition argue that teaching youths will help reduce costs that are incurred in the imposition of law. To them, the youths can be advice to reduce the use of alcohol by changing their attitudes, youths should be old that excessive consumption of alcohol is assign of lack of respect and immaturity (Glen 215).         


Setting a legal drinking age is important because it will reduce alcohol abuse among the minors. High legal age is crucial because person is mature enough to be responsible. At 21 years youth has gain maturity that enables them make sound decisions, this reduces behavior related effects of alcohol. Importantly, government should come up with up with creative ways of imposing this legal requirement. Government and all interest groups reach consensus on appropriate age limit. This will avoid compromising on freedoms and rights of other people.

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