Why The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered Essay

According to the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, in 2010 underage drinkers from ages 15-20 were responsible for 48.8% of alcohol purchases. The minimum legal drinking age(MLDA) in the United States was 18 years old until 1984, when all fifty states raised their legal drinking age to 21 or older. The drinking age should be lowered from 21 years old to 18 years old because at that age one legally becomes an adult, it would reduce the amount of unsafe drinking activity, and there are fewer drunk driving car accidents in many other countries with a drinking age of 18. In the United States at the age of eighteen you receive the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. As an adult you should be able to make your own decisions on drinking alcohol.

You can vote, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults, and join the military. It is known that alcohol consumption can interfere with development of the young adult brain’s frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are essential for functions such as emotional regulation, planning, and organization. However, the decisions you can make as an adult include risking one’s life. Among these decisions should be alcohol consumption because as an adult you have the right to participate in actions that affect your health. Former Middlebury College president John McCardell wrote a New York Times op-ed that called the current drinking age “bad social policy and a terrible law.” It is a bad social policy because college is where you start making new relationships that could potentially last your entire life and to create such bonds it would be nice to just be able to talk over some beers. Allowing eighteen year olds to legally drink in regulated environments would decrease the amount of unsafe drinking activity. Bars and clubs are potentially unsafe environments, but they are supervised by employees. Prohibiting 18-20 year olds from drinking in such places causes them to choose to drink in unsupervised places such as house parties or fraternity parties. The rate of underage drinking arrests would go down if drinking were legal making crime rates decrease as well.

According to Boston University, “Allowing alcohol consumption legally might help cut down alcohol related deaths in colleges.” College students over drink and tend to have accidents because they are unsure when they will be able to have alcohol again. In 2006 according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 76.6% of twelfth graders admitted to drinking at some point in their lives. Lowering the drinking age would diminish the thrill of breaking the law. There would no longer be the exciting aspect of being rebellious. The United States increased the drinking to 21 in 1984, but its rate of traffic accidents and fatalities in the 1980s decreased less than that of European countries whose legal drinking ages are lower than 21. In the United Kingdom, only 15.88% of car accidents are related to drunk driving. In stating this, you can’t really say that having a drinking age of 18 reduces the amount of drunk driving accidents. Plus, deaths from drunk driving as a percentage of total driving fatalities have gradually decreased since 1982, two years before MLDA 21 went into effect. Since this decline came across all age groups, it cannot be because of the introduction of MLDA 21. In a 2002 meta-study of the legal drinking age and health and social problems, 72% of the studies found no statistics that related to an increase in suicide and criminal activities by adolescents if the drinking age were to be lowered to eighteen.

Raising the drinking age has been ineffective thus far. If the drinking age were to be lowered to eighteen it would have more benefits than consequences. Underage drinking enforcement is not even a priority for many law enforcement agencies. An estimated two of every 1,000 occasions of illegal drinking by youth under 21 results in an arrest. By raising the drinking age and making consumption only available for older people our laws have made drinking even more attractive. And drinking in excess has become a standard way of rebelling against what is seen as an unjust and immoral law.

People use alcohol for numerous reasons; peer pressure, celebration, anxiety, sadness, boredom, rebellion and insomnia are just a few. Teens fall under the category of “people”. The legal drinking age is currently twenty-one, but illegally drinking age is as low as zero. Why? Is the main question asked. I can assure you the under age drinking age percentage would drop if the age is lowered.

Few reasons for teens drinking are: peer pressure, enjoyment, etc. But the main reason for doing so is “breaking the law.” 87% of high school seniors have used alcohol. That means that a large quantity of teens under the age of seventeen to eighteen have used alcohol before. We all know why teens drink, I mean is common since. Just the feel that they get of breaking the law is huge. Being rebel and not following the rules is an important role of a teen’s life. Consequences are the one that change them, but we don’t want them to experience the consequences of being under the influence of alcohol because we know them and they are fatal. Dying in a car accident and killing others is a mess that we don’t want to clean.

Despite the fact that is illegal for young teens to purchase it, they are able to get it through their parent’s own liquor cabinets, unscrupulous store clerks, or older friends who purchase it for them. As we all see, is not hard for teens to obtain alcohol. Why not lower the drinking age then? I mean any way you put it, they are getting it.

We have all heard of the famous saying “we want you to join the military and protect your country.” Blah blah blah. Well, you are telling me that I can legally kill someone at the age of eighteen, while I sign up with the military and go to war but I can’t have a sip of alcohol. Due to this none senseless situation, age should be equaled. In other words, if voting and military sign up is eighteen, then drinking should also be eighteen. Besides at the age of eighteen you are legally an adult. Why can’t we drink then?

Drinking age in Australia is eighteen, and in UK is as low as sixteen in restaurants. Studies have showed that those teens/adults are perfectly fine. In fact, Dr. Ruth Engs; professor of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, uses this examples to propose the following: “……the drinking age be lowered to about 18 or 19 and permit those of legal age to consume in socially controlled environment such as restaurants and official school and university functions” (direct quote from Dr. Engs).

Drinking age should be lowered, and I know that by lowering it we can drop the percentage of reckless teen alcohol abusers. It is worth trying it , and if everything goes the opposite then change the law once more (which is done lots of times, for dumb reasons) and raise the drinking age back to twenty-one. Changes are always good (most of the times), and I know this one in particular is an excellent one.






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