Drinking Age

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I Don’t Always Drink, But When I do - I Die
Cmon! Everyone else is doing it, why can’t we? Does that plea sound familiar? In many situations, people often look to see what others do to guide their own actions. However, this may not always lead people into making the best decisions. An example of such a decision making process is whether or not the drinking age in the United States should be lowered to eighteen years of age. While most of the world embraces an eighteen year old, or lower, minimum age for drinking alcohol, the United states is only one of four countries who have set the drinking age to twenty-one (Hanson). Therefore, the United States faces many pressures to lower the drinking age, but should we follow the logic that everyone is doing it and lower the drinking age? The answer to that question for numerous reasons is no! As we all know the United States is different than every other country in the world with many college and university campuses throughout the nation. These campuses are home to thousands of underage students with significant freedom and independence who have yet to fully develop their decision making process. Lowering of the minimum legal drinking age would cause a number of problems including an increase in: health problems, vehicle accidents, and plain old bad decisions.

When thinking about priorities, one of the most important things people value is their personal health. Personal health is essential to live a fulfilling life, an unhealthy person is unable to enjoy all the things life has to offer. Therefore, with this priority in mind people should want their bodies to develop completely and to be healthy. With healthy fully developed bodies people will be able to better enjoy their lives and avoid future health problems. With a lower drinking age this proves to be impossible. As we all know, alcohol does not have very many health benefits – rather, it offers a number of unhealthy side effects especially with heavy consumption. Research has shown that, “The brain’s frontal lobes, essential for functions such as emotional regulation, planning, and organization, continue to develop through adolescence and young adulthood. Alcohol consumption can interfere with this development…” (“Drinking Age”). Therefore, as students between the ages of eighteen and nineteen, even twenty are still developing cognitively. Giving these adolescents legal permission to drink would be irresponsible and potentially very harmful to their health and development. A lower minimum drinking age would hinder their abilities in many areas as the continuation of the previous quotation shows, “…potentially causing chronic problems such as greater vulnerability to addiction, dangerous risk-taking behavior, reduced decision-making ability, memory loss, depression, violence, and suicide” (“Drinking Age”).

The heavy consumption of alcohol, often done at high school parties and on college campus can have major and long term effects of the brains development. In today’s world, addictions, depression, and suicide are very serious issues that many adolescents deal with every day. The nation has a responsibility to theses adolescents to help eliminate cases of addictions, suicide, depression, violent behavior and dangerous risk taking behavior, all problems closely associated with underage consumption of alcohol. Keeping the minimum legal drinking age at twenty-one, will allow a student’s brain to develop completely before we legally allow them to consume alcohol. Maintaining a drinking age at twenty-one years of age lowers the chances of students suffering from the negative effects of heavy alcohol consumption. The United States should not dismiss these serious side effects but enforce the minimum drink age of twenty-one especially among students. Not only does keeping the drinking age at twenty-one increase health benefits, but also benefits their education. Many adolescents nearing the drinking age are full time students...
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