Should the drinking age be lowered to 18 years old, when one is considered an adult, and assumes adult privileges and penalties, or should the drinking age remain at 21 years old, since people are more mature and therefore, can be safe and responsible with alcohol?
I believe that the drinking age should remain at 21 years old because lowering the legal drinking age would not be in the best interest of the public's safety, as well as today's youth.
The most fundamental argument in favor of keeping the drinking age at 21 is the prime reason it was put at that age in the first place: the body and brain of an adolescent cannot fully form and perform to its potential if its development is interrupted by the infiltration of alcohol. Teen brains are sponge-like and are designed for maximum learning capacity. Alcohol interferes with learning and memory. In a Duke University study, students who binge drank every weekend of their freshman year scored 10 percent lower on IQ tests than the prior year. Studies have shown that the brain becomes the primary recipient of alcohol abuse by youngsters. The 21 year old restriction was placed because one's brain should be fully formed by age 20 or 21. Alcohol use before the full formation of the brain also causes a decreased ability in "planning and execution function, memory, spatial operations and attention" all of which affect academic performance and future brain function.
Alcohol use and abuse prior to this age not only expose drinkers to negative consequences because of alcohol-influenced actions, but also can permanently affect their brain functions, bone density, and reproductive systems. An MRI test showed that the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for forming new memories, was noticeably smaller in youth who have used alcohol than in those who have not. In addition, the abuse of alcohol during adolescent years also inhibits the change of the...