March 4, 2014

Study: Keeping Drinking Age at 21 Saves Hundreds of Lives

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In response to a study published last week by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, some Cornellians have conflicting opinions over whether or not the legal drinking age should remain 21 or should be changed to 18.

According to the study, by keeping the country’s minimum drinking age at 21, up to 900 lives are saved yearly, due to a decreased number of inexperienced and intoxicated drivers.

According to Deborah Lewis, alcohol projects coordinator at Gannett, minimum drinking ages do not solve all problems related to alcohol, but can be helpful.

“While minimum age drinking laws are no ‘silver bullet,’ they are an important component of a comprehensive approach to reducing dangerous alcohol consumption,” she said.

According to the Fall 2012 Alcohol and Social Life Survey conducted by Cornell, the percentage of students under 21 who do not drink is much higher than for students of a legal drinking age.

“Thirty-six percent of under 21 years olds are non-drinkers versus 14 percent of students 21 and older,” Lewis said.

Deborah Lewis, alcohol projects coordinator at Gannett, said minimum age drinking laws are important to reducing dangerous levels of consumption. (Anthony Chen / Sun Staff Photographer)