Drinking age saves lives
New research credits the drinking age for saving about 900 lives each year.
According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, the national drinking age of 21 has kept young drunk drivers off the road since 2006. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimated that up to 900 lives were saved each year due to the drinking age.
The Journal also stated that recent research proves that the current drinking age law has served the nation well by reducing alcohol-related traffic crashes and alcohol consumption among youths.
Sources at UH, however, say that these numbers are misleading.
Dr. Scott J. Spear, the executive director and chief physician at the University Health Center, said these studies were “not controlled” and “just a collection of random numbers.”
Problems related to underage drinking on campus include students who come into the Center from injuries and unprotected-sex scares that occurred when they were intoxicated, according to Dr. Spear.
Still, these underage incidents rarely lead to chronic cases.
“Although these unfortunate incidents happen often, many people learn from these experiences and determine that (binge drinking is) not something they want to continue doing in their future,” Dr. Spear said.
Drinking and driving rates among teenagers have dropped 54 percent in the last two decades, and significant changes were shown during the period when the drinking age was pushed to 21.
“Most people between the ages of 18 and 20 are avoiding the consequences of getting caught by staying off the roads while intoxicated, which is why they aren’t causing accidents and adding to the number of deaths,” said business marketing sophomore Caitlin Gunning.
According to the study, the U.S. actually has the highest drinking age of any developed country.
Some students believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18.
“At 18, we are considered adults and given every right except to drink. We can marry, go to war, choose who’s in office and are expected to handle all of that responsibly,” said creative writing sophomore Collins Adams.
“If we are responsible enough to handle that, we should be able to drink responsible. If we can’t drink responsible at 18, maybe we should rethink giving 18-year-olds the other rights.”