Navigation Links
Lower Drinking Age Linked to Later-Life Problems
Date:9/18/2009

Study finds more alcohol, drug abuse among those who could drink before 21

FRIDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- People who grew up in a place and time when they could legally buy alcohol before age 21 are more likely than others to be alcoholics or have a drug problem, even well into adulthood, new research shows.

"The effect lingers," said study author Dr. Karen Norberg, a research instructor in psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. "A drinking-age law of 21 is associated with lower risks of long-term problems with alcohol use."

The study is published online Sept. 18 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Norberg and her research colleagues analyzed surveys of nearly 34,000 people born in the United States between 1948 and 1970, examining their records to determine if rates of alcoholism and drug abuse differed depending on their states' liquor-buying laws at the time the participants were teens or young adults.

In the early 1970s, 26 states lowered the drinking age to 18 after the federal voting age was lowered to 18, Norberg said. After passage in 1984 of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, the federal government pressured states to increase the drinking age or forfeit highway funds.

By the late 1980s, most states had complied, raising the drinking age back to 21. Louisiana, the researchers noted, was the last to do so, in 1995.

In the study, people who had been allowed to buy liquor legally before age 21 were 33 percent more likely to have suffered from alcoholism in the year before they were surveyed.

Drinking at a younger age also was found to increase the risk of abusing other drugs. Those allowed to drink legally before age 21 were 70 percent more likely to have had a problem with drugs than were those who had to wait until 21 to drink legally, the study found.

No differences were detected between men and women, various ethnicities or age groups.

The findings suggest, Norberg said, that the frequency or intensity of drinking in late adolescence has long-term effects.

A study released earlier this year reported that states that allow the suspension of a driver's license for any underage alcohol violation and states with zero-tolerance laws that make it illegal for young people to drive with any level of alcohol in their system have fewer drunk-driving accidents.

So-called use-and-lose laws resulted in 5 percent fewer auto accidents related to drinking, the study found. It, too, was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Norberg's study is believed to be the first to look at the very long-term effects of lowered drinking ages.

The study "substantiates something that has not been substantiated this way before -- that the [legal] drinking age really has long-term impact," said Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and drug abuse at New York University School of Medicine. "Even in [people's] 40s and 50s, this impact was felt."

Though people nationwide continue to debate what the ideal legal drinking age should be, with some again calling for a lower age, Galanter said the results suggest that keeping the status quo would be good.

Traci Toomey, an associate professor of public health at the University of Minnesota, who also has researched the topic, agreed. The new study, she said, provides "another piece of the puzzle that looks at the policy from another angle."

Norberg, however, said that though her research poses a "strong argument" for keeping the drinking age at 21, "there might be some other solution," such as the drinking "learner's permits" that some have proposed.

That concept aims to change the youth culture from acceptance of excessive drinking to preference for limited alcohol consumption. One way to do this, proponents say, could be to allow someone younger than 21 to apply for a learner's permit that allows limited use of alcohol under monitored conditions.

More information

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has more on alcohol consumption.



SOURCES: Karen E. Norberg, M.D., research instructor, psychiatry, Washington University, St. Louis; Marc Galanter, M.D., director, division of alcoholism and drug abuse, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Traci Toomey, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Sept. 18, 2009, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Diabetes Medications Dont Lower Inflammation
2. Former Corporate Whistleblower Says The Informant Movie is Only Part of the Story
3. Senior Living Residences Launches Innovative Nutrition Program to Promote Cognitive Health and Lower the Risk of Alzheimers Disease
4. Medications That Lower Breast Cancer Risk Carry Other Dangers
5. Lowering sodium consumption could save US $18 billion annually in health costs, study finds
6. Video: Edie Falco and Cynthia Nixon Appear in New Stand Up To Cancer(TM) PSAs Designed to Educate Cancer Patients About the Importance Of Lowering Ones Risk of Infection During Treatment
7. Small businesses would see lower costs, more comprehensive coverage from health reform
8. Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
9. Combo Therapies to Lower Cholesterol Dont Work
10. Bextra Whistleblower Case Started Investigation of Pfizer
11. Sheller, P.C. Law Firm Instrumental in Pfizers $2.3 Billion Settlement Today in Largest Pharmaceutical Whistleblower Case in History
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lower Drinking Age Linked to Later-Life Problems
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... ... Premier Fitness Camp (PFC) and The Chopra Center for Wellbeing announced today the ... their world headquarters of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego. , ... loss, personal development, a healthy lifestyle, or mental and physical healing. The week-long wellness ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STAT courier is pleased to announce that due to customer ... are expanding their presence in Dallas. One of the most exciting parts for STAT ... to the Dallas and Forth Worth market. STAT takes pride in treating their employees ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... AR (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... insurance and financial planning services from offices headquartered in Little Rock, has initiated ... Pantry. , According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, Arkansas ranks ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... MS (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... The ... serve commercial and residential clients in and around the Hancock County area, is announcing ... the Hancock County Food Pantry. , The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked for ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... passage of the most comprehensive mental health systems reform legislation in more than ... the President, and the commitment of our elected officials to improving mental health ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... CITY , Dec. 8, 2016 ... US patents for improving the accuracy, reproducibility and ... images in long and small bone orthopaedic applications. ... approach to creating personalized orthopaedic restorations based on ... personalized orthopaedic restorations, the company harnesses the world,s ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016  A new study by a ... use of opioid therapy to treat chronic pain is ... of more harmful consequences, including death. Palliative ... Zankhana Mehta , M.D., authored the study which ... opioid therapy. The study was published in the December ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 Information products and services provider ... Scopus , the world,s largest abstract and citation database of ... for journals from over 5,000 publishers. The new set of metrics ... to and when to adjust a journal,s editorial strategy. ... , , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: