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Underage Drinking Debate: Why Both Sides Agree More Than Not


Aired 4/19/09

Tom Fudge: The legal drinking age in California and around the country is 21. It hasn't always been that way. In the 1970s, many states lowered their drinking age to 18. The idea was that if young men could be conscripted into the Vietnam War, they should be able to have a drink too. But lobbying groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) established a 21-year-old drinking age nationwide in 1988. States risked losing their federal highway funds if they didn't comply.

Today, the idea of lowering the drinking age is being raised anew. Like in the 70s, some people say that young men serving in Iraq should be allowed to have a beer. Others argue the higher drinking age has never caused teenagers to drink less or made them safer behind the wheel of a car.


  • Patricia Hodgkin, executive director of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) San Diego County, who agrees with the current minimum drinking age requirements.

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