Legal drinking age of 21 saves lives - 8 News NOW

Legal drinking age of 21 saves lives

Updated: Feb 24, 2014 09:49 AM
© Wavebreak Media / Thinkstock © Wavebreak Media / Thinkstock

MONDAY, Feb. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A legal drinking age of 21 saves lives. And demands by some to lower the age limit should be ignored, a new review says.

Researchers examined studies conducted since 2006 and found that a minimum drinking age of 21 is associated with a reduced rate of drunk driving crashes among young Americans. That age limit also lowers young people's risk of other health threats associated with heavy drinking, such as dating violence, unsafe sex and suicide.

One study found that in 2011, 36 percent of U.S. college students said they'd gone binge drinking (five or more drinks in one sitting) within the past two weeks. That compared with 43 percent of college students in 1988, the first year that all states had a legal drinking age of 21. The decrease in binge drinking among high school seniors was even larger, from 35 percent to 22 percent.

The review was published in a special supplement in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

"The evidence is clear that there would be consequences if we lowered the legal drinking age," lead researcher William DeJong, of Boston University School of Public Health, said in a journal news release.

In recent years, some groups have been trying to get the drinking age lowered. One argument used by proponents of a lower legal drinking age is that many young people break the law and drink anyway.

But these new findings show that an age-21 drinking law does have a positive effect, said DeJong, who added that tougher enforcement of the limit, not a lower legal drinking age, is what's needed.

Studies have shown that student drinking declines when college towns boost enforcement of the law and warn students about the crackdown.

"Some people assume that students are so hell-bent on drinking, nothing can stop them. But it really is the case that enforcement works," DeJong said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcohol policy.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Paula's Health NotesLas Vegas Health NewsMore>>

  • Fixing gerd for good

    Fixing gerd for good

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 3:21 PM EDT2014-08-19 19:21:39 GMT
    Acid reflux disease, a condition commonly known as “GERD”, affects about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing, heartburn and can even lead to cancer. Now, a simple procedure may fix GERD for good.More>>
    Acid reflux disease, a condition commonly known as “GERD”, affects about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing, heartburn and can even lead to cancer. Now, a simple procedure may fix GERD for good.More>>
  • Ice cold heart therapy

    Ice cold heart therapy

    Friday, August 15 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-08-15 21:05:13 GMT
    A trial fibrillation affects about 2.7 million Americans. It's a condition that causes heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Now doctors are freezing the problem away.More>>
    A trial fibrillation affects about 2.7 million Americans. It's a condition that causes heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Now doctors are freezing the problem away.More>>
  • Pets Help Cancer Patients: Swoosh on the job!

    Pets Help Cancer Patients: Swoosh on the job!

    Friday, August 8 2014 3:42 PM EDT2014-08-08 19:42:16 GMT
    More than 13,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of these kids have to endure painful treatments that trigger stress, anxiety and depression.More>>
    More than 13,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of these kids have to endure painful treatments that trigger stress, anxiety and depression.More>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.