It was thirty years ago today that President Ronald Reagan signed into law the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.

In the three decades that have passed since the act became law there have been both positive and negative affects involving young drinkers.

The most immediate positive after the drinking age was raised to 21 back in July of 1984 was the number of fatal crashes involving a young drivers dropped from 61 percent in 1982 to 31 percent in 1995.

While seeing the number of accidents among younger drivers drop helped solve a significant problem, many experts feel that the law may have made drinking more appealing to those under the age of 21.

Referring to a survey taken just a couple of years after the drinking age was raised to 21, the results showed an increase in underage drinking. Researchers claimed the survey, taken using students from 56 colleges around the U.S., found that, "significantly more underage students drank compared to those of legal age. The increase in purchase age appears to have been not only ineffective but actually counterproductive, at least in the short run."

More current data also shows that a larger percentage of college age kids are drinking today. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health claims that roughly 65 percent of college students (generally aged 18 to 22) drink alcohol in any given month.

While the dangers of drinking and driving are typically minimized within the college environment, the problem of binge drinking is on the rise and causing college students some serious issues.

The results of a recent study done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism claim that, "Crossing commonly used binge-drinking thresholds increases a college student's risk of experiencing negative alcohol-related consequences."

The study further states, "For instance, data from the Harvard CAS indicate that students who binge one or two times during a 2-week period are roughly three times as likely as non-binge drinkers to get behind in school work, do something regretful while drinking, experience a memory blackout, have unplanned sex, fail to use birth control during sex, damage property, get in trouble with police, drive after drinking, or get injured."

While dissecting the effectiveness of Reagan's National Minimum Drinking Age Act will continue to reveal both positive and negative data, perhaps David J. Hanson, Ph. D., who worked on the aforementioned study conducted in the years right after the act became law, said it best years ago when he suggested,  "People become responsible by being properly taught, given responsibility, and then held accountable for their actions. We don't tell young people to 'just say no' to driving, fail to teach them to drive, and then on their 18th birthday give them drivers licenses and turn them loose on the road. But this is the logic we follow for beverage alcohol because neo-prohibitionism underlies our alcohol policy. It's time for our alcohol policy to be based on science rather than ideology."

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