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on the UK, it exists in countries all over the globe, though other places have chosen to handle the problem in different ways. 12.7% of American adults meet the criteria for alcohol abuse disorder. The CDC expects 88,000 people will die each year from alcoholrelated illnesses, and while our neighbors to the north implemented minimum pricing years ago, we have relied on a minimum age restriction to control dangerous drinking in a portion of our population. The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act established 21 as the minimum legal age in 1984. Any state that did not enforce the minimum legal drinking age of 21 would lose a sizeable chunk of their transportation funding. Like minimum unit pricing, this was not easy to pass into law and faced a lot of backlash when it was first introduced. Age restrictions were originally a tool used by advocates of the temperance movement in their campaign to outlaw all drinking. Following annulment of the 18th Amendment in 1933, age restrictions were established and maintained by states individually. It wasn’t until encouragement of the 26th Amendment at the time of the Vietnam war that a majority of states lowered their legal age of purchase to 18, following the logical argument that if a young person can fight abroad for their country and vote for their representatives, why can’t they buy a beer? But times change, and as America crested the decade of Generation X and the Reagan administration, legislation was passed to raise the legal age of possession to 21 across the country. This was largely a result of the wildly successful Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) campaign and the President’s general attitude toward mind-altering substances he deemed as criminal. Intervention for problem drinking became a primary mission, with special attention paid toward understanding the drinking habits of youths and adolescents. The MADD campaign honed their focus on underage drinking even more so. Though some states allowed those under the age of 21 to legally drink with their parents, the vast majority of individuals denounced adolescent drinking outright. This public trend toward consumption has withstood the last 30 years with ever-growing resolve. New studies like the one titled “Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development” (ABCD) are underway, exploring the effects of alcohol on a young person’s brain with genetic, behavioral, and neuropsychological analyses. Some, however, question the success of our prohibitive measures. Following the initial decision in 1984, there was a visible decrease in alcohol consumption: 19% over seven years. Consequential declines in motor vehicle crashes and adverse outcomes such as unintended births were also observed. The policy seemed to be effective in the years following its establishment, however little research has supported its intended outcomes recently. The US still struggles with deaths related to alcohol abuse in persons under the legal drinking age—the CDC estimates 4,300 young people will die this year, and motor vehicle crashes have not dropped significantly since the late 80s. It’s easy to pretend that the rules put in place will never be broken, but it’s far from realistic. Whether or not the US will revisit the legal drinking age to try and reconcile it with the information currently available is a valid inquiry, but it’s clear that their methods

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Artisan Spirit: Spring 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2018  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.