10 November 2011
Drinking Age of 21
In July of 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was put into act, making the national drinking age 21, higher than it was in any individual state. Ever since, there has been an ongoing debate on whether or not the change has been effective and if it was necessary. I agree with the article “The Drinking Age of 21 Saves Lives,” by Toben F. Nelson and Traci L. Toomey, because they effectively used logos and ethos to present their argument and persuade the audience into agreeing that the drinking age has been successful since its move to the age of 21.
When it comes to teenagers and alcohol, it is safe to assume that no matter what the law states, adolescents are still going to find ways to obtain alcohol and consume it. However, as Nelson and Toomey reported, “in the 1970s when many states reduced their drinking ages, drinking-related deaths among young people increased. When the drinking age of 21 was resorted, deaths declined” (Nelson and Toomey, 556). It is obvious that the increase in the drinking age had a positive effect in the United States. The two authors strengthen their argument by using facts and statistics from studies and observations of the drinking habits of young adults. They also benefit from addressing the counter argument and using logos to support their opinions. For example, a common argument for lowering of the drinking age is that in most other countries, the drinking age, if there is one, is 16-18 (Nelson and Toomey). Those who propose the lowering of the drinking age often report that these countries experience less alcohol abuse amongst youth. However, as Nelson and Toomey cite, “Surveys of youth in multiple European countries show that the rates of frequent binge drinking among adolescents are higher in Europe than in the United States” (Nelson and Toomey, 556). Clearly, a lower drinking age could not alleviate the issues the United States has with underage drinking, if countries that have lower drinking ages experience more adolescent problems with binge drinking. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night the bathrooms of college dormitories are filled with pupils puking their guts out after a night of binge drinking. There have even been instances where ambulances have been needed to rush binge drinkers to the hospital to get their stomachs pumped. Making it legal for minors to purchase alcohol will only increase these incidents, because it will be easier for them to obtain alcohol.
Another effective technique that Nelson and Toomey use is proposing a better solution to the issue at hand after pointing out that college students who are underage binge drink less than students who can legally drink, aged 21-23 (Nelson and Toomey, 556), and that petitioning to reduce the age at which once can legally drink is a step in the wrong direction (Nelson and Toomey, 557). There is a saying about how it is unnecessary to fix something that is not broken. Even the article for the counter argument admits, “alcohol-related fatalities have declined over the last 25 years” (McCardell, 552). It is evident that our country has no reason to reduce the drinking age. If anything needs to be done, a raise in alcohol awareness among young adults is what it should be. Nelson and Toomey suggest that colleges and community leaders should be more focused on reaching out to students that need help, placing restrictions and increasing taxes on alcohol, enforcing laws on underage drinking and driving while intoxicated, and adjusting on and off campus drinking policies rather than adjusting the drinking age. The harsh reality is that ever year more young people are emotionally and physically affected by alcohol use. Students are injured, sexually assaulted, and die as a result of drinking irresponsibly. And without the age-21 law, these statistics would be even worse than they already are (557). Some schools do have...