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Essay Rubric (100)


SCORE SIX (A+) - A six paper is superior. It does ALL OR MOST of the following:
Focuses and develops ideas in a sustained and compelling manner, showing creativity and insight.
Clarifies and defends or persuades with precise and relevant evidence; clearly defines and frames issues.
Effectively organizes ideas in a clear, logical, detailed, and coherent manner using appropriate structures to enhance the central idea or
theme.
Demonstrates involvement with the text and speaks purposefully to the audience in an appropriate, individualistic, and engaging manner.
Uses multiple sentence structures and word choices effectively and with a sense of control for stylistic effect.
Commits few, if any, errors in Standard English rules for grammar/usage and mechanics.
SCORE FIVE (A) -A five paper is distinctly above average. It does ALL OR MOST of the following:
Focuses and develops ideas in an effective and detailed manner.
Defends and/or persuades with important and relevant evidence; defines and frames issues.
Organizes ideas clearly and coherently using structures appropriate to purposes.
Communicates a sense of commitment to the topic and to the audience's involvement.
Uses varied sentence structure and word choice effectively.
Commits few errors in Standard English grammar/usage and mechanics.
SCORE FOUR (B) - A four paper is adequate. It exhibits ALL OR MOST of the following characteristics:
Adequately focuses and develops ideas with detail.
Defends and/or persuades with support and clarity, using relevant evidence.
Organizes ideas in a satisfactory manner with adequate coherence and logic.
Uses a voice that is appropriate to audience and purpose.
Uses a variety of sentence structures and word choice, but occasionally displays some wordiness or ineffective diction; sentences may be
predictable.
Commits some errors in Standard English grammar/usage and mechanics that do not impede meaning; indicates basic understanding of
conventions.
SCORE THREE (C) - A three paper is inadequate. It is clearly flawed in SOME OR ALL of the following ways:
Focuses, but may not display mature or well-developed content.
Attempts defense or persuasive stance but position is unclear and/or evidence is brief, tangential or based solely on personal opinion.
Displays minimal organization; contains irrelevancies, digresses, rambles, or lacks logic.
Lacks sincerity of purpose in the writers attempt to involve the audience appropriately.
Uses sentence structure and word choice that are somewhat limited, simplistic, mundane, or otherwise inappropriate.
Contains flaws in Standard English rules of grammar/usage and mechanics that do not impede meaning; indicates some consistent
misunderstanding of the conventions.
SCORE TWO (D) - A two paper is very weak. It reveals serious and persistent problems in communications. It compounds the weaknesses of the
3 paper in SOME OR ALL of the following ways:
Lacks focus and development; may list items with little or no supporting detail.
Defense or persuasive stance is unclear or absent; evidence is vague or missing.
Contains serious flaws in structure, organization and coherence.
Attempts, but fails in the writers attempt to involve the audience appropriately.
Uses sentence structure and word choices that are highly limited, simplistic, or otherwise inappropriate.
Displays consistent violations in Standard English rules of grammar/usage and mechanics that impede understanding.
SCORE ONE (F) - A one paper is extremely weak. It has few redeeming qualities. It at least mentions the topic, but generally fails to
communicate with the reader. It does SOME OR ALL of the following:
Simply repeats the topic or fails to provide adequate development.
Fails to establish a position and/or develop persuasive view; evidence is not apparent.
Shows almost no structure, organization or coherence.
Does not address the audience appropriately.
Uses limited and/or immature sentence structure and word choice.
Overwhelms the reader with serious violations of Standard English rules grammar/usage and mechanics.


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Anti-Plagiarism Statement
In all cases of plagiarism or cheating, the student risks loss of credit or a lowered
grade for the assignment of test. WHS Handbook
I guarantee that the writing included here is my own, and all sources have been cited
correctly.
Title:
The Legal Drinking Age
Signature
Name:
Izzy Tolsma


AP Prep English 10 Research Paper


Essential BIG Question:


Should the legal drinking age be lowered?


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Izzy Tolsma
Kim 6
English 10 AP Prep
9 March 2014
The Legal Drinking Age
Alcohol is a prominent feature of Americas culture and is well enjoyed when used
appropriately. Unfortunately, many fail to adhere to the laws put in place to ensure proper use
and often fail to recognize their benefits. One law, in particular, being the legal drinking age.
In the United States, the minimum legal drinking age is 21. According to David Hanson
of the New York State University in Potsdam, it was officially changed July 17, 1984 when
President Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimum Legal Drinking Age Act (Hanson
Minimum Legal Drinking Ages Around the World). To guarantee states compliance with the
law, Congress punished any state that chose to maintain their below 21 legal drinking age with a
ten percent cut to their federal highway fund (Hanson Minimum Legal Drinking Ages Around
the World).
Although the minimum legal drinking age is technically 21, there are many exceptions to
the law. For example, in most states, underage drinking is permitted for established religious
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purposes. Other common exceptions include drinking with a parents consent, and drinking for
educational, governmental, or medical reasons (Alcohol Policy Information System).
Throughout the years, the legal drinking age has accumulated great criticism. Many
believe the legal drinking age has not done enough to solve the problems of alcohol, and some go
as far as to say it has been counterproductive. However, the legal drinking age has saved lives,
and keeping it at 21 will continue to keep youths safer as well as help prevent and decrease
alcohol related injuries, traffic accidents, and deaths.
As stated previously, a large number of people believe the legal drinking ages success in
solving the problems presented by alcohol has been unsatisfactory. Something one must
remember about these problems is that they are massive, and, as Dr. Donald Veeland, head of the
University of Michigans Substance Abuse Center states, Magic bullets do not work for any
problem or issue involving human beings, (qtd. in Hempelman 185). Problems such as
underage drinking or drunk driving cannot be fixed easily. Obviously the current legal drinking
age will not solve these issues in their entirety, but it has helped a considerable amount.
The minimum legal drinking age of 21 has lowered the rate of underage drinkers. Since
the National Minimum Legal Drinking Age was put in effect in 1984, the percentage of underage
drinkers has decreased 11% (Scott 116). Several studies were conducted by the National
Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism which revealed that with the minimum legal
drinking age at 21, underage people drank less and continued to drink less into their early 20s
(National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). Youth that waited until they were 21 to
consume alcohol drank less as adults (National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
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Additionally, the current legal drinking age lowers the average persons alcohol
intake. During a meta-study that took place in 2002, 87% of the tests found that higher drinking
ages resulted in lower alcohol consumption (National Highway Traffic Safety Association
5). Weekend drivers blood alcohol content has also dropped considerably. The percentage of
nighttime weekend drivers with a blood alcohol content higher than .08% dropped from 5.4% in
1984 to 2.2% in 2009 (National Highway Traffic Safety Association 5).
Another reason for maintaining the current legal drinking age is the fact that it has
reduced alcohol related traffic accidents. Among 16-20 year olds, alcohol related car accidents
have been decreased by 13% (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 3). In addition,
approximately 27,000 lives have been saved been saved as a result (National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration 1).
Implementing a lower drinking age would present great medical risks. Teenagers brains
continue to develop into their early 20s, and alcohol is detrimental to the still maturing frontal
lobe and cerebellum (American Medical Association). When drank directly, alcohol negatively
impacts emotional stability, judgment, motor skills, and complex motions of the body (American
Medical Association). The Centers for Disease Control find that when a young person consumes
alcohol before these parts of the brain develop fully; it can cause permanent damage (Centers for
Disease Control).
Due to youths still developing judgment, teens tend to make risky decisions more
frequently than the older population (Hanson Impacts of Alcohol). This is especially true in
regards to alcohol. Young people see drinking as a thrill, an outlet to new and exciting situations,
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and often do not associate it with many of the dangers posed by taking that risk. Under the
influence of alcohol, teenagers are also less in control. "Younger drinkers are more likely to
drink and drive, engage in unprotected sex, and take chances they normally would not," Barbour
Scott writes (Scott 97). Generally, teenagers do not possess the capability of consuming alcohol
responsibly, and lowering the drinking age would only result in further exposure to their lack of
judgment.
Additional negative effects of lowering the drinking age include an increase in violence
and suicides (Centers for Disease Control). Alcohol is considered top contributor to violent
activities and suicidal thoughts. Experts trace one in three suicides among 18-21 year olds to
alcohol (Centers for Disease Control). When a persons brain is not fully developed, alcohols
effect is magnified, and the outcome can be quite potent (Department of Human Health and
Services).
Lowering the drinking age would also result in an increase of illicit drug use. A series of
studies conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council revealed that the younger a person
is when they begin to indulge in alcohol; the more likely they are to use illicit drugs (National
Crime Prevention Council). People who regularly drink alcohol before the age of 21 are 7.5
times more likely to use other drugs (National Crime Prevention Council). A drinking age of 18
would result in more young drinkers, therefore, more use of illegal drugs.
If the drinking age was lowered, alcohol would increase its availability to the youth
population. Although the percentages have dropped since the 1984, the National Institutes of
Health still find a large number of young, underage people report that alcohol is not difficult to
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obtain. Today, 87% of twelfth graders, 78% of tenth graders, and 57% of eighth graders admit
that alcohol is not hard to acquire (National Institutes of Health). Lowering the drinking age
would do nothing to reduce availability to the underage, rather it would increase it.
A lower drinking age would also mean younger people drinking. Many people, even
with the legal drinking age set at 21, start drinking as early as 14 (Hempelman 264). If the
drinking age was lowered to 18, those consuming alcohol would be considerably younger. This
is because most high school seniors turn 18 before their graduation; meaning they can purchase
alcohol while still in high school. Seniors would be able to provide their younger peers with
alcohol and them to theirs, resulting in what is known as the "trickledown effect" (Hempelman
265).
Yet another reason not to lower the drinking age is the hazardous drinking establishments
and environments. About half of the drivers involved in alcohol related traffic accidents come
from licensed drinking establishments (ODonnell 512). In neighborhoods with high densities of
bars, night clubs, and other alcohol selling locations, there are more violent crimes and assaults
(Fell 3). To allow teenagers to attend dangerous venues such as these is irresponsible.
One of the main reasons people oppose the legal drinking age is because of the belief that
it forces binge drinking, which is defined by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism as " . . . drinking to an extent in which ones blood alcohol content exceeds .08%"
(National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). In actuality, the legal drinking age helps
prevent it. Evidence provided by the Department of Human Health and Services proves that
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binge drinking peaks among 21-25 year olds at 45.9% while the binge drinking rates of those
aged 16-17 and 18-20 are 19.7% and 35.7% (Department of Human Health and Services).
Many point to the European model for drinking age, believing Europeans have had much
more success with their lower drinking ages. However, this is a common misconception. In fact,
the United States has lower underage drinking percentages than about half of European countries
(Hanson Impacts of Alcohol). Take New Zealand, for example. New Zealand originally had a
legal drinking age that mirrored that of the United States. James Fell notes that in 1999, New
Zealand lowered its drinking age to 18, and almost immediately witnessed a sharp spike in
alcohol related traffic accidents among 16-17 year olds (Fell 5).
Many like to pin underage drinking today on the current legal drinking age and the
forbidden fruit alcohol has become (Hanson Impacts of Alcohol). Critics of the legal
drinking age 21 insist that teenagers drink alcohol because they feel rebellious when doing so.
By lowering the drinking age, the fruit would become less forbidden, thus reducing the number
of underage drinkers. However, previous data exists that proves otherwise. Before the National
Minimum Legal Drinking Age Act was passed, many states had legal drinking ages of 18
(Mothers Against Drunk Driving). In those states, young people drank more than they did in
states with legal drinking ages of 21 (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).
Another popular argument against the legal drinking age concerns teenage rights. At the
age of 18, teenagers are legally adults. They are able to vote, become married, purchase tobacco,
buy a house, and even enlist in the army. At first glance this may seem to be a valid argument,
but one must realize people have to wait until older ages for many other rights. For instance, a
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person must wait until the age of 21 to gamble, adopt a child, and purchase a handgun, 25 to rent
a car, and 35 to become president.
Although the United States current legal drinking age has not solved all the problems
concerning alcohol, it has made significant impacts. Adopting a lower drinking age does not
logically make sense and would prove to be harmful to the youth population. Keeping the legal
drinking age of 21 in place will help keep people safe and continue to save lives.


















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Works Cited
Alcohol Policy. Alcohol Policy Information System. APIS. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
< http://alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/>
Barbour, Scott. Alcohol: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1998. Print.
Dangers of Drinking. National Crime Prevention Council. NCPC. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.ncpc.org/resources/files/pdf/drug-abuse/drinking.pdf>
"Fact Sheets - Underage Drinking." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 26 Dec.
2013. Web. 8 Feb. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-
drinking.htm>.
Fact Sheet: Underage Drinking. National Institutes of Health. NIH. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=21&key=U#U>
Fell, James C. An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws
in the United States from a Traffic-Safety Perspective. National Highway Traffic Safety
Association. Web. Feb. 13. 2014. < http://www.madd.org/underage-
drinking/why21/Examination_of_MLDA_Laws_NHTSA_Pub_11_6_08.pdf>
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Hanson, David J. Impacts of Alcohol. Alcohol Problems and Solutions. New York State
University at Potsdam. n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/AlcoholAndHealth.html#.UyDPRj9dWSo>
Hanson, David J. "Minimum Legal Drinking Ages around the World." Alcohol Problems and
Solutions. New York State University at Potsdam, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/LegalDrinkingAge.html#.UwJY3pe9KK0>.
Hempelman, Kathleen A. "Alcohol and Drugs." Teen Legal Rights. Westport, CT: Greenwood,
2000. 173-86. Print.
Minimum Legal Drinking Age. American Medical Association. AMA. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <
https://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/public-health.page>
O'Donnell, Mary A. "Research on Drinking Locations of Alcohol Impaired Drivers: Implications
for Prevention Policies." Journal of Public Health (n.d.): 512-25.
Reducing Underage and Young Adult Drinking. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism. NIAAA. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
<http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh40/29-44.htm>
The Surgeon Generals Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. US
Department of Human Health and Services. DHHS. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44364/>
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Traffic Safety Facts. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA. Web. 24 Feb.
2014. < http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811870.pdf>
Why 21? Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD. Web. 13 Feb. 2014
<http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/why21/>


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Works Consulted
Alcohol Impaired Driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Association. NHTSA. Web. Feb. 8
2014. <http://www.nhtsa.gov/Impaired>
Alcohol Policy. Alcohol Policy Information System. APIS. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
< http://alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/>
Barbour, Scott. Alcohol: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1998. Print.
Bigjohny, Alina. "Should the Legal Drinking Age Stay As-is?" Oak Leaves. Manchester
University, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <http://www.manchester.edu/OSD/OakLeaves/
archives/Issue_14/OpinionShouldtheLegalDrinkingAgeStayAs-Is.htm>.
Dangers of Drinking. National Crime Prevention Council. NCPC. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.ncpc.org/resources/files/pdf/drug-abuse/drinking.pdf>
Engs, Ruth C. "Why Drinking Age Should Be Lowered: Dr. Ruth Engs." Why Drinking Age
Should Be Lowered: Dr. Ruth Engs. Indiana University, 1998. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/articles/cqoped.html>.
"Fact Sheets - Underage Drinking." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 26 Dec.
2013. Web. 8 Feb. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-
drinking.htm>.
Fact Sheet: Underage Drinking. National Institutes of Health. NIH. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=21&key=U#U>
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Fell, James C. An Examination of the Criticisms of the Minimum Legal Drinking Age 21 Laws
in the United States from a Traffic-Safety Perspective. National Highway Traffic Safety
Association. Web. Feb. 13. 2014. < http://www.madd.org/underage-
drinking/why21/Examination_of_MLDA_Laws_NHTSA_Pub_11_6_08.pdf>
Hanson, David J. Impacts of Alcohol. Alcohol Problems and Solutions. New York State
University at Potsdam. n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/AlcoholAndHealth.html#.UyDPRj9dWSo>
Hanson, David J. "Minimum Legal Drinking Ages around the World." Alcohol Problems and
Solutions. New York State University at Potsdam, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/LegalDrinkingAge.html#.UwJY3pe9KK0>.
Hanson, David J., and Ruth Engs. "The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered." Alcohol Problems
and Solutions. New York State University at Potsdam, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://
www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/YouthIssues/1053520190.html#.UwJnQS69KK1>.
Hempelman, Kathleen A. "Alcohol and Drugs." Teen Legal Rights. Westport, CT: Greenwood,
2000. 173-86. Print.
Minimum Legal Drinking Age. American Medical Association. AMA. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<https://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/public-health.page>
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O'Donnell, Mary A. "Research on Drinking Locations of Alcohol Impaired Drivers: Implications
for Prevention Policies." Journal of Public Health (n.d.): 512-25.
Reducing Underage and Young Adult Drinking. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcoholism. NIAAA. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
<http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh40/29-44.htm>
The Surgeon Generals Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. US
Department of Human Health and Services. DHHS. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44364/>
Traffic Safety Facts. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA. Web. 24 Feb.
2014. < http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811870.pdf>
Why 21? Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD. Web. 13 Feb. 2014
<http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/why21/>





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Annotated Bibliography
Barbour, Scott. Alcohol: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1998. Print.

This work is a secondary source written by surgeon Barbour Scott. Raised in a small,
southern town with fundamentalist beliefs, Scott has bias against a lower drinking age.
However, in this book, he sets personal bias aside and compiles different viewpoints on the issue.
A few of the viewpoints include lowering the drinking age to 18, raising the drinking age to 25,
and keeping the legal drinking age at 21.

Bigjohny, Alina. "Should the Legal Drinking Age Stay As-is?" Oak Leaves. Manchester
University, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <http://www.manchester.edu/OSD/OakLeaves/
archives/Issue_14/OpinionShouldtheLegalDrinkingAgeStayAs-Is.htm>.

This short article is a secondary source. Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Alina
Bigjohny pursued a degree in English and Sociology. A few years into her college career,
Bigjohny wrote a series of articles expressing her views on the legal drinking age. In this piece,
Bigjohny takes a position against lowering the drinking age, providing evidence through a
variety of statistics detailing college binge drinking and underage drinkers.

Engs, Ruth C. "Why Drinking Age Should Be Lowered: Dr. Ruth Engs." Why Drinking Age
Should Be Lowered: Dr. Ruth Engs. Indiana University, 1998. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/articles/cqoped.html>.

This source was a secondary source written by college professor Ruth Engs. Engs was
raised in Bethel Vermont and obtained her PhD in Health Sciences at the Indiana University. In
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this paper, the professor argues for a lower drinking age, offering support through a logical
thought process, an array of statistics, and information from previous prohibition laws.

"Fact Sheets - Underage Drinking." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 8 Feb. 2014.
<http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm>.

This work was a secondary source compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The CDC is national organization founded on July 1, 1946. The CDC takes no
position concerning the legal drinking age in this source. Instead, the CDC provided a large
number of statistics covering almost all aspects of underage drinking, binge drinking, and
alcohol related vehicular accidents and injuries.

Hanson, David J., and Ruth Engs. "The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered." Alcohol Problems
and Solutions. State University of New York, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://
www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/YouthIssues/1053520190.html#.UwJnQS69KK1>.

This was a primary source written by David J. Hanson and Ruth Engs. Hanson is
Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam, whilst Engs holds the
position of Professor of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University. Both are prominent
speakers concerning drinking age. If this transcript of one of their interviews, Hanson questions
Engs on her positions and opinions towards a lower drinking age. She takes a position supporting
a lower drinking age, and explains her views simply and eloquently.


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Hanson, David J. "Minimum Legal Drinking Ages around the World." Alcohol Problems and
Solutions. Potsdam State University, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
<http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/LegalDrinkingAge.html#.UwJY3pe9KK0>.

This was a secondary work written by David J. Hanson. A prominent author on drinking
age, Hanson was born in 1941, and now has an occupation of both a college professor at the
State University of New York at Potsdam and as an author. In this piece, Hanson does not
express any of his opinion towards the legal drinking age. Rather, Hanson lists almost every
country with their legal drinking age to offer comparison.

Hempelman, Kathleen A. "Alcohol and Drugs." Teen Legal Rights. Westport, CT: Greenwood,
2000. 173-86. Print.

This book was a secondary source written by Kathleen A. Hempelman. Born and raised
in Arizona, Hempelman became an author after attending university. In this book, no obvious
bias is shown. The contents include teen legal rights on a variety of issues, one being alcohol and
drug use. Hempelman lists the rights a teenager possesses when it comes to the issue.