While surfing YouTube I came across an episode from Vox which gave you the history of why the legal drinking age is 21. I was curious. Why is that you can serve in your military, but not drink an alcoholic beverage?
Why isn’t the age higher? Does something magically happen when I turn 21 to my body that I’m unaware of?
After Prohibition, the total ban on alcohol, many states established a minimum legal drinking age of 21. But that began to change after the voting age was lowered to 18. Lots of states followed by lowering their drinking ages, which changed the landscape for the entire country.
By the 1980s, this unusual patchwork of drinking ages started to be seen as a problem, especially by activist organizations like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) and RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers). They lobbied for a 21-year-old minimum legal drinking age, and President Ronald Reagan supported the cause. His mechanism for enabling a national law? Threatening to withhold federal highway funding to states that didn’t comply.
The roads are literally the reason why you can’t drink which I find so fascinating. I wanted to hear the opposition to this law. I wanted to learn more from people who think the drinking age should be lower. So I discovered Dr. Ruth Engs from Indiana University who did an article in 1997, where she ultimately believes the current law is unenforceable and has caused increased personal, social, academic and physical problems related to heavy and irresponsible drinking among college-age youth. You can read more about Dr. Engs opinion here.