SAMHSA Defends Keeping Drinking Age at 21

An opinion piece in the NY Times argued for the US to “Return the Drinking Age to 18, and Enforce It

SAMHA’s Pamela S. Hyde responded with the reasons why “maintaining the current minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) of 21 is critical to the health and safety of our nation’s individuals, families, and communities:

  • Studies have found that people who begin drinking before age 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence during their lifetime than are people who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Research has also shown a clear link between age 21 MLDA laws and a decline in motor vehicle crashes among underage youth and young adults – declines leading to fewer injuries and fatalities.
  • Moreover, age 21 MLDA laws have been shown to lower levels of alcohol consumption among all young adults, both underage as well as of legal age.”

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