This month marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the law that made the nation’s drinking age 21. Bill Shackleford, an Iowa spokesman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says the higher drinking age has been good for both the nation and the state. Shackleford says Iowa had about 200 alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths a year in 1990. Last year, the number fell to 118. He says at least part of that is due to the drinking age being 21. Shackleford says some young people find the law unfair, but he says it was passed in the best interest of everyone. He says the decision was made with health in mind and it was based on medicine and science, not politics. Shackleford, a past president of the Polk County MADD chapter, says the later in life someone starts drinking, the better their mind and body are equipped to deal with it in terms of maturity. He says he’s hearing renewed arguments today, much like those during the 70s, that people old enough to be fighting for their country should also be old enough to drink. He says it does appear to be an anomaly that you can be drafted but you can’t have a beer, but he says alcohol is potentially harmful as it’s a mind-altering mood-altering legal drug. A federal study estimates the law has saved 20-thousand lives since being signed by President Reagan in July of 1984.
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