The legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 years old and young adults should be allowed to drink in controlled environments such as restaurants, taverns, pubs, and official school and university functions. In these situations responsible drinking could be taught through role modeling and educational programs. Mature and sensible drinking could be taught and expected. Although the legal purchase age in the United States is 21 years old, a majority of young adults, college students particularly, consume alcohol but in an irresponsible manner. This is because drinking is seen by the youth as the "forbidden fruit" and a sign of rebellion against authority. The country has already tried prohibition legislation to control drinking problems, but it failed miserably because it was unenforceable and backlash towards the legislation caused numerous other problems. Today's laws are repeating history and making the same mistakes that occurred in the past. Prohibition did not work then and prohibition for people under the age of 21 is not working now. The flaunting of the current laws is readily seen on campuses nationwide, as those under the legal age are more likely to be heavy -- or binge -- drinkers. Among college drinkers, 32% of students under 21 compare to 24% of students of legal age are heavy drinkers .
Legislation for the minimum drinking age in the United States varied from state to state not even twenty years ago, ranging from 18 to 21. Driven largely by the desire to curb traffic fatalities associated with alcohol consumption, the National Minimum Drinking Act of 1984 required all states to raise the legal drinking age to 21, or risk the loss of federal highway funds under the Federal Highway Aid Act. By 1987, all states had complied with the 21 minimum age law. Based on statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), "alcohol-related" traffic fatalities for people under 21 dropped by 43% (from 5,062 alcohol-related fatalities to 2,883) during the years 1987 through 1996.