Recent History

Through the twentieth century, perspectives on the consumption of alcohol shifted as, gradually, medical research began to explore the dangers of alcohol. In 1956, the American Medical

People lined up and down Broadway in New York City to celebrate the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the end of Prohibition on April 7, 1933.

Association classified alcoholism as a disease and officially endorsed the policy of treating it as such. In 1970, Congress created the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to spark publicly funded alcohol research.

But the 1970s also brought a lowering of the legal drinking age to 18 in many states, when the legal voting age was also lowered to 18. The debate focused on the legal age of "maturity," with many arguing that if you were old enough to be drafted or to vote, then you also were old enough to drink alcoholic beverages.

A rise in deaths from traffic-related accidents soon followed the lowering of the legal drinking age. Large numbers of the victims were between the ages of 18 and 21, and many of these victims were determined to have been drinking when driving.

Groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD)—known today as Students Against Destructive Decisions—were created to

DRUNK DRIVING: THE STRAIGHT FACTS

Alcohol is the oldest and most widely used drug in the world.

But did you know these facts about alcohol?

• In 1997, alcohol-related crashes killed more than 16,000 people. That translates to one death every 32 minutes. And even more are injured due to alcohol-related accidents, an estimated one million people per year.

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 3 out of every 10 Americans will be involved in a traffic accident related to alcohol at some time in their lives.

• It's not just the drinkers who are affected by alcohol. In 1996, 40 percent of the people who died in crashes involving drunk driving were not the drivers, but passengers in the car, people in another car struck by the drunk driver, or pedestrians.

• More than a million people are arrested each year for driving while intoxicated. More people are arrested for drunk driving than any other crime—nearly 10 percent of all arrests are for driving while intoxicated.

Source: 10th Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, June 2000

respond to the threat posed by drinking and driving. The federal government was soon forced to respond to the public outcry. Pressure from these public service groups and the government forced states to change their drinking age. By 1988, all states had raised the minimum drinking age to 21.

The public service campaign soon spread to the beverages themselves. By 1989, all alcoholic beverages were required to carry warning labels detailing the health danger posed by consuming alcohol. Legal rulings found that bars and restaurants could be held responsible if a customer was allowed to drive after drinking too much.

Alcohol No More

Alcohol No More

Do you love a drink from time to time? A lot of us do, often when socializing with acquaintances and loved ones. Drinking may be beneficial or harmful, depending upon your age and health status, and, naturally, how much you drink.

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