A number of U.S. states are considering legislation to lower the legal drinking age from the current standard of 21 -- if only to allow troops home from Iraq to drink. The move would defy a generation of federal law and public opinion in America which is strongly opposed to lowering the drinking age. In 1984, Congress set a uniform legal drinking age of 21, threatening to cut highway funding to states which did not comply -- mostly to cut down on drunk driving fatalities. But advocates argue teenagers are going to drink anyway.
Two recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention find that underage binge drinkers are turning to hard liquor as their main alcohol source, unlike adults who rely more often on beer. Liquors such as vodka are easy to smuggle in water bottles, and make it easier to get drunk.