A lower legal drinking age? Health experts, college presidents debate

Thursday, September 4, 2008 - 06:14 in Psychology & Sociology

Both sides offer studies that support keeping or lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18. GORDIE BAILEY JR. had been in college only one month before he overdosed on alcohol. Urged on by members of a frat house he was intent on joining, the 18-year-old drank until he passed out, was dumped onto a couch and was found dead the next morning. The 2004 incident at the University of Colorado was one of the approximately 1,700 alcohol-related deaths that occur among college students each year in the United States. They include traffic accidents, falls, suffocation, drowning and alcohol poisoning. Hundreds of thousands of other students commit crimes, become crime victims, fail classes, make poor sexual decisions or sicken themselves by drinking too much alcohol. In a survey published last year by the American College Health Assn. , just over one-third of college students admitted they had binged on alcohol at least once in the previous two weeks -- a number that appears to be rising.

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