During the Vietnam War, when the voting age nationwide was lowered to age 18, twenty-nine states also lowered the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) to 18, 19, or 20. Following this change, those states saw sharp increases in traffic fatalities among 18- to 20-year-old drivers, and many states responded by raising their drinking age to 21. But young people could still often travel across borders to drink in neighboring states where lower MLDAs remained in effect.
The Cran Blog
As Some States Implement New Marijuana Laws, Science Should Guide Public Health Policy
After the election on November 8, marijuana is now or will soon be legal for adult recreational use in eight states plus the District of Columbia. These states, and those that may join them in the future, will have choices to make in how they enact and implement their policies. Careful thought should be given to creating regulatory frameworks that prioritize public health. Science needs to be the guide.
We have long expected to see increasing substance use in middle and later life with the aging of baby boomers—a demographic that traditionally had a more relaxed attitude to substance use. A recent study funded by the National Institute on Aging reveals the unexpected enormity of the problem and its disastrous consequences for a generation of Americans.
Adolescence is a period of social and environmental changes and dramatic biological development, including of the brain. During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant growth and remodeling, which raises concerns about alcohol's effects on normal brain development. It is also the time of life during which drinking, binge drinking, and heavy drinking (binge drinking five or more times in the past 30 days) all ramp up significantly.