During a 5-year span between 1970 and 1975, 29 states in the United States lowered the legal age for drinking alcohol from 21 to 18, 19, or 20. Advocates for changing the minimum age noted that a person old enough to vote or fight in a war was old enough to drink. Those against it worried about accidents, as car crashes – then as now – were the leading cause of death for teenagers. Then, over the next several years, some states began to raise the minimum drinking age again.

Alex Wagenaar, PhD, now a research professor at the Emory University…


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