Women who drink alcohol before turning age 21 have a greater risk of becoming a victim of homicide or suicide, according to the results of a new study.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis investigated the long-term effects of a lower drinking age.
They studied national death and census records from 1984 when there was no national legal drinking age.
They found that women had a 12 percent higher risk of suicide in places where 18-year-olds could drink and a 15 percent higher risk of homicide.
"For homicide, females are victimized by acquaintances in 92 perecent of the cases," study co-author Richard Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine, said in a news release.
"If lower drinking ages result in elevated rates of alcohol problems, this could contribute to alcohol-fueled domestic violence,"Grucza added. "Alcohol use by both women and their partners could contribute to domestic-violence situations."
"For suicide, it may be that alcohol contributes to the severity of suicide attempts," he said.
Some point to the study's findings to argue that the nation should keeping the legal drinking age at 21.