Florida Legal Drinking Age History
The minimum age for alcohol consumption in Mexico is 18, and alcohol is available around the clock in many places. In other parts of Asia, the minimum age of consumption varies. Malaysia (16), China (18), South Korea (19), Japan (20) and Thailand (20) are notable countries with different minimum ages. Since the end of Prohibition in 1933, there have been frequent changes to the minimum age for alcohol consumption by state. After the passage of the 21st Amendment in December 1933, most set their legal drinking age at 21. The Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) laws are an example of how scientific research can support effective public policy. Between 1970 and 1975, 29 states lowered their deputies; Subsequently, scientists found that road accidents among teenagers increased significantly. Adolescent alcohol use is associated with many problems, including traffic accidents, drowning, vandalism, assault, homicide, suicide, early pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Research has shown the effectiveness of a higher MLDA in preventing injuries and deaths in adolescents. Despite laws prohibiting the sale or supply of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, minors can easily obtain alcohol from many sources. Increasing levels of MLDA enforcement and deterrence for adults who may sell or provide alcohol to minors can help prevent further injuries and deaths among adolescents. The repeal of prohibition by the 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933, allowed each state to establish its own laws on alcohol consumption. At the time, most states set the legal drinking age (MLDA) at 21.
The four states in this region were in the bottom half of the states in terms of declining teen alcohol levels (Table 9), although the 47.7% increase reported for Mississippi is undoubtedly false, as previously stated. Figure 15 shows a trend for Mississippi relative to any other state, showing apparent rates of alcohol donor participation in the early 1980s for Mississippi that are much lower than in any other state. By 1989, Mississippi`s rates of about 20 per 100,000 population were similar to those of other states in this region and similar to those of neighboring Louisiana and Arkansas (Figure 16). It is reasonable to conclude that the Mississippi data do not accurately describe fatality rates in Mississippi prior to about 1989. From that point on, they are probably fairly accurate, showing a gradual decline from a rate of about 20 in 1989 to a rate of about 15 in 1998. The states in this region were all in the bottom half of the states in terms of percentage declines in youth alcohol levels, and some were among those with the smallest declines (Table 8). Iowa changed its MLDA from 18 to 19 in 1978 and to age 21 in 1986. Kansas went from 18 to 21 in a single stage in 1985.
Minnesota increased its MLDA from 18 to 19 in 1976 and to 21 in 1986. North Dakota had a minimum drinking age of 21 starting in the 1930s, and Missouri had a 21-year law since 1945. Nebraska changed its MLDA from 18 to 19 in 1980 and then to 21 in 1985. South Dakota went from 18 to 19 in 1984 and to 21 in 1988, one of the last states to do so. Minnesota was the first state in the region to pass a zero-tolerance law in 1993, while South Dakota was the last in 1998. In addition to increasing the application of the MLDA, other procedures and policies can be implemented to improve the effectiveness of the MLDA laws. To ensure that adults do not sell or supply alcohol to minors, public and institutional policies can be developed to complement the MLDA laws (Wagenaar et al. 1996a). For example, liquor establishments may implement a variety of policies and practices, including (1) requiring all liquor servers to receive responsible service training on how to review age labeling and reject sales to youth, (2) implementing systems to monitor servers to prevent illegal sales to teens, and (3) implement warning signs (Wolfson et al. 1996a, b). Wolfson and colleagues (1996a,b) found that establishments that met these guidelines were less likely to sell alcohol to young women who appeared to be under 21 years of age and did not provide age labelling.
Figure 10 shows that adolescent alcohol levels in each state generally declined from the early 1980s to the early 1990s and have become roughly constant since then. These states have relatively small populations, so small changes in driver participation can lead to significant fluctuations. Yet since the early 1990s, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have generally had rates in the range of 5 to 10 (alcohol drivers per 100,000 people). Rhode Island generally had lower rates, while Vermont was higher. U.S. alcohol laws regarding the minimum age to buy have changed over time. In colonial America, there was usually no drinking age, and alcohol consumption by young teenagers was common, even in taverns.  In post-revolutionary America, this laxity gradually changed due to religious sentiments (embodied in the abstinence movement) and a growing recognition of the dangers of alcohol in the medical community.
 Recent history is listed in the table below. Unless otherwise stated, if different categories of alcohol have a different minimum purchase age, the age shown below will be set at the lowest specified age (for example, If the purchase age is 18 for beer and 21 for wine or spirits, as has been the case in several states, the age in the table is “18”, not “21”). In addition, the age of purchase does not necessarily correspond to the minimum age of consumption of alcoholic beverages, although they are often the same. Since 1984, researchers have been studying whether changes in MLDA also affect other alcohol-related problems. Of the four studies conducted so far, which looked at other social and health consequences of alcohol consumption, three found an inverse relationship between MLDA and alcohol-related problems: A higher legal drinking age was correlated with a lower number of alcohol problems in adolescents. The New York State Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (1984) found a 16% decrease in vandalism rates in four states that increased the MLDA. In a study of the increase in MLDA in Massachusetts, Hingson and colleagues (1985) found no significant change in rates of non-motor vehicle injuries, suicides, or homicides. However, Smith (1986) found an increase in non-circulation-related hospital admissions after the decline in MLDA in two Australian states. Jones and colleagues (1992) found lower mortality rates from suicides, traffic accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other injuries in states with higher MLDAs. Further research is needed to characterize the full effect of SHS on alcohol-related injury rates and non-motor vehicle crash problems.
Opponents of MLDA at age 21 hypothesized that even if a higher MLDA reduced alcohol consumption among minors, rates of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems would increase among those over 21. In other words, opponents believed that an “elastic” effect would occur: when teenagers reached the age of 21, they drank to “make up for lost time” and therefore drank at higher rates than if they were allowed to drink alcohol at an earlier age. However, a study by O`Malley and Wagenaar (1991) refutes this theory. Using a national probability sample, O`Malley and Wagenaar found that lower rates of alcohol consumption due to a high legal drinking age persisted even after 21-year-old adolescence. It is important to make sure that your restaurant or bar complies with the laws on alcohol consumption. This can help you avoid penalties or fines and perhaps prevent someone who isn`t old enough to drink from making a bad choice. After all, it`s worth waiting for some of life`s best things. When looking at another country`s success with a particular policy, one cannot simply compare international rates of alcohol-related problems without assessing the role of contributing factors.