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All 50 US states have set their minimum drinking age to 21 although exceptions do exist on a state-by-state basis for consumption at home, under adult supervision, for medical necessity, and other reasons.

Proponents of lowering the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) from 21 argue that it has not stopped teen drinking, and has instead pushed underage binge drinking into private and less controlled environments, leading to more health and life-endangering behavior by teens.

Opponents of lowering the MLDA argue that teens have not yet reached an age where they can handle alcohol responsibly, and thus are more likely to harm or even kill themselves and others by drinking prior to 21.

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Turning 18 entails receiving the rights and responsibilities of adulthood to vote, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults, and join the military - which includes risking one's life.

[5] [6] Prohibiting this age group from drinking in bars, restaurants, and other licensed locations causes them to drink in unsupervised places such as fraternity houses or house parties where they may be more prone to binge drinking and other unsafe behavior.

[7] In 2009, the 21- to 24-year-old age group had the highest percentage of drivers in fatal crashes with blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .08 or higher – 35 percent.

[9] Any increase in traffic accidents or fatalities in 18- to 20-year-olds would be offset by a decrease for those 21 and older.

[10] Although the United States increased the MLDA to 21 in 1984, its rate of traffic accidents and fatalities in the 1980s decreased less than that of European countries whose legal drinking ages are lower than 21.

[8] [9] [10] [11] [12] Since 1982, two years prior to the Uniform Drinking Age Act establishing an MLDA of 21, a decline of drunk driving fatalities occurred across all age groups and demographic categories, and therefore cannot be reliably attributed to MLDA 21.According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, underage drinking accounts for 17.5% (.5 billion) of consumer spending for alcohol in the United States.[16] In 2006, 72.2% of twelfth graders reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lives.[14] MLDA 21 encourages young adults to acquire and use false identification documents to procure alcohol.In this era of national security concerns, including terrorism, illegal immigration, and other threats, it would be better to have fewer fake IDs in circulation and more respect for the law.[17] Police are inclined to ignore or under-enforce MLDA 21 because of resource limitations, statutory obstacles, perceptions that punishments are inadequate, and the time and effort required for processing and paperwork.

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