state public policies being properly enforced or having their intended effect: neighboring states may have differing policies, alcohol companies may lobby against strict enforcement, and the ubiquity of alcohol in contemporary society makes the acquisition of the substance almost too easy for underage drinkers.
For much time, the solution to the rising occurrences of tragedies regarding alcohol-related deaths in younger adults has been to raise the MLDA to decrease both supply and demand to those most susceptible to alcohol’s deadly effects. However, as will be contended here, this is the wrong approach to take in trying to solve this grave problem. The solution lies not in changing actions, but in changing thoughts. Conceptually, all actions are the physical result of some mental process; actions are merely the effects where mental processes are the causes. By changing the mental processes that correspond to the physical actions, we can stop the problem at its roots. Moreover, unlike enforcing an artificially high standard of maturity in the form of an MLDA, changing perceptions and attitudes is something that can be controlled with time. In what follows, it shall be seen that the MLDA is not too high or too low, but is irrelevant to the present considerations. What must be changed is how youth treat alcohol, see its effects, and use it in a social setting.
Concerning the prevalence of underage drinking in the United States, it is reported that almost 11% of all alcohol consumed is done so by youth, and a vast majority of these drinks are consumed in a “binge” fashion (Drinking in America: Myths, Realities, and Prevention Policy, 2005). Annually, this results in almost 150,000 emergency room visits by youths related to injuries and health problems related to alcohol use (Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2005: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits). A 2007 survey found such figures as 45% of youth drank “some amount of alcohol”,