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Monday, October 5, 2009

Commentary: Drinking age of 21 saves lives
By Toben F. Nelson, Traci L. Toomey and co-authors

The national policy that set a minimum legal drinking age of 21 is being questioned by a group of 35 college and university presidents through an effort called the Amethyst Initiative.

In a September 16
commentary on, Amethyst Initiative leader John McCardell, a ormer president of Middlebury College, proposes lowering the drinking age, which he suggests ill lead to less drinking and related problems among college students.

History and a comprehensive review of the research tell a much different story. The evidence is lear, consistent and compelling: A drinking age of 21 has led to less drinking, fewer injuries and fewer deaths.

In the 1970s when many states reduced their drinking ages, drinking-related deaths among young people increased. When the drinking age of 21 was restored, deaths declined. This effect is not simply a historical artifact explained by advances in safety technology and other policies. . . . . . .