Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. While adults are not immune to its detrimental effects, adolescents are especially at risk. Excessive drinking interferes with educational development. In order to combat adolescent drinking, social scientists research its causes and effects, and educators invest in prevention programs. Historically, societies did not make the distinction of adolescence, a phase in the lifecycle prior to adulthood, but after childhood.

Rather, adolescents were considered old enough to enter the workforce and drink alcohol.

In the late 19th century, a temperance movement began in the United States. In 1919, the U.S. government ratified the Eighteenth Amendment, which forbade the sale of alcohol. Following the repeal of the amendment in 1933, age restrictions were placed. The limits fluctuated slightly, until ...

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