Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Minimum Drinking Age of 21 Works, Says Study

Every so often, there are stirrings from some groups who hope to lobby for lowering the legal drinking age in the United States. Currently, the legal drinking age is 21 years old, but some believe it should be lowered to age 18, the same age that Americans can vote or enlist in the military.

However, time and again, any real progress toward lowering the drinking age is snuffed out by the sobering reports that bad things happen when adults younger than 21 are allowed to drink, and a new study supports that trend.

Less Alcohol-Related Damage

Maintaining a legal drinking age of 21 is equated with the following among young adults, according to a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs:

  • Lower rates of drunk driving accidents
  • Lower rates of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Lower rates of suicide
  • Less dating violence, including assault and date rape

In short, the higher legal drinking age is working. William DeJong of Boston University School of Public Health was lead researcher on the study. In a news release, he said, “The evidence is clear that there would be consequences if we lowered the legal drinking age. Some people assume that students are so hell-bent on drinking, nothing can stop them. But it really is the case that enforcement works.”

Just Say “No”

Too often, parents allow their teens to drink, believing that they will drink without their permission anyway and hoping to mitigate harm by opening the lines of communication through the removal of boundaries. However, the more permissive a parent is about drinking, the more likely it is that the child will take it too far, drinking before driving or drinking in larger amounts or more often than they might have otherwise. Instead, setting up clear boundaries and a zero-tolerance policy about alcohol and all drugs will make it clear to your teen that the best choice is abstinence until they are 21.

When Boundaries Fail

Standing strong and being a positive example for your kids about alcohol intake can help them to make better choices for themselves, but if you find that your son is drinking despite your best efforts, don’t wait to take aggressive action. The sooner you can help him to quit drinking, the less damage will be caused by his continued use of alcohol and, potentially, other drugs and the less likely it will be that he will develop a lifelong dependence on the substance.

Learn more about our teen-focused experiential drug rehab designed solely for teen boys here at Muir Wood today. Call now.