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The Fight for Keeping The Drinking Age: Alcohol Law

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Table of contents

  1. Due Process
  2. Conclusion
  3. References

As we address the public health and safety concerns two subjects are spoken about in this paper. The two concerns are the sobriety checkpoints that focus on the drinking age and the random drug testing for public employees and high school students. Many states have examined factors of the drinking age for young adults and factors that for doing random drug testing for public employees. Due to some circumstances, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was created. This act started in 1984 and stated that it required all states to raise their minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol age to 21. Random drug testing has been around since the Vietnam War and when Richard Nixon was President. For employees, it began in the mid-1980s. With increased awareness of drug testing, the government initiated several acts that focused on drug and alcohol-related accidents. The acts is the Drug-Free Workplace Act and Anti-Drug Abuse Act.

Due Process

To analyze the effects of these policies it is a form of positive enforcement with young adults and employees. The policy of raising the drinking age to 21 was due to circumstances and situations that involved young adults. Statistics have proven that there were more younger people who were involved with alcohol-related fatalities. Sobriety checkpoints are not permissible in every state depending on the state’s law. Most checkpoints are set up on the weekends and major holidays which are peak times for drinking and driving. Some people object to this process because they believe that it violates the law of safety from unreasonable searches as part of the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution and may violate the person’s medical privacy. Even though these sobriety checkpoints are not legal in some areas a person still would need to obtain an attorney if a person is facing a DUI or DWI due to this process. Once again, the government has found that drug use is not only happening in the military but in workplaces as well and this is when the acts of Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 went into full force. The effect of this policy proved the workplace is a safer workforce and a reduction on their bills.

It cannot be for certain what approach can be taken because the public health and safety concerns have benefited from the laws and acts that have been put in place. The information that would need to be used is through a statistical factor to determine the course of action and figuring what policies or acts would better fit the situation. If there were none of these policies been put in place political groups and other interest groups would have a difficult time with situations. A due process point of view that pertains to underage drinking is that minors can sell alcohol without adults being present for example like grocery stores. Another scenario is where alcohol is sold in a restaurant and families dine there, the restaurant should prohibit minors from entering a drinking establishment. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 would cover any questionable situations. The national law specifically requires states to prohibit the purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages. It does not require the prohibition of persons under 21 (also called youth or minors) from drinking alcoholic beverages. The term “public possession” is strictly defined and does not apply to possession for the following. Random drug testing provides equal protection because alcohol and drug use creates safety and health hazards and decreases employee productivity. The acts of the Drug-Free Workplace Act and Anti-Drug Abuse Act deter employees from using drugs and alcohol.

The Supreme Court’s three-tiered test of equal protection or due process has the potential of violation when it comes to the sobriety checkpoints but not with the raising of the drinking age. But if an individual believes that they have been violated, they will need to prove that the governing body has discriminated against them or prove that the actions have resulted in harm to the individual. According to the U.S. Constitution, the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process clause requires the United States government to practice equal protection and the Fourth Amendment’s Equal Protection clause requires states to practice equal protection as well. There will be a challenge to prove any violation has been done.


In conclusion, the public’s health and safety concerns have been the mission for many policies, laws, and acts that have been put in place for all. The fight for keeping the drinking age at 21 continues and there is statistical evidence that by keeping this age for drinking has decreased underage drinking situations. Sobriety checkpoints will not be legal any time soon but will continue to happen because the government agencies want to ensure the public is safe. However, if an individual gets stopped at one of the sobriety checkpoints, they will procure some legal issues resulting in attaining an attorney. Random drug testing for employees will be a big part of the future because the government and employers want to make sure that safety in the workplace. Understanding why these acts, policies, and laws are set is because the public’s health and safety concerns come first.


  1. United States. (1985). Drinking age 21: Facts, myths and fictions. Washington, D.C.?: U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  2. United States. (2001). Saturation patrols & sobriety checkpoints. Washington, D.C.: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  3. United States., & Battelle Memorial Institute. (1991). Random drug testing manual. Washington, D.C.?: U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Office of Technical Assistance and Safety.

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