A Forbidden Fruit
In the United States of America citizens are subjected to many laws, some definitely necessary, while others are not well founded. One law which is not well founded is the law that prevents anyone younger than twenty one from drinking. This law clearly states that you must be twenty-one years old in order to consume or purchase any alcoholic beverages. The citizens of the United States are considered to be legal adults at the age of eighteen. Despite many responsibilities, why is it illegal for an eighteen year old to drink? How is it that the U.S. government can trust eighteen years old to vote and decide who can run the country, possess the ability to join the military and fight for their country, buy cigarettes, get emancipated from their parents, purchase and own a shotgun and rifle and yet these same eighteen year olds are still not allowed to drink? The United States has the highest legal drinking age in the world and many U.S. citizens do not agree with the current legal age of twenty-one years (Rehab 1). The legal drinking age around the world differs. Most countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, Germany and much more allow people to drink at the ages between sixteen and eighteen years old. Others like Haiti, Jamaica, Albania and much more do not reinforce their drinking laws. Adolescents around the world consume alcohol, and most of them are aware of its effect. The problem that often occurs is that many minors who consume alcohol do it in an irresponsible manner. This is because drinking is seen by these youth as a tempting “forbidden fruit”. People always want what they are not supposed to have. When you reach the mature age of eighteen, drinking should not be a cause of dispute. According to Dr, Ruth Engs, professor of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, lowering the drinking age would not solve the problem of underage drinking, but would be an important step in the right direction (Engs 1). Therefore, the drinking age in the United States should be lowered to eighteen years of age. On the other hand, have you ever wondered why the drinking age in the United States is set at twenty one instead of eighteen? Many believe that lowering the drinking age would cause more of a disruption within society. During the Vietnam War in the early 1970’s, twenty-nine states began lowering the drinking age to eighteen so that it aligned with the voting age. When the drinking age was lowered, an increase in alcohol traffic fatalities and injuries occurred. Alcohol has several effects on the brains, and at that time, most minors lost their ability to think straight and therefore would get into accidents and commit crimes that normally would not have happened. Due to the increase in accidents, on July 17, 1984, President Reagan signed the law of the “Uniform Drinking Age” authorizing all states to raise the legal drinking age to twenty-one. (Why, 1). The goal was to reduce highway fatalities, but most people realize that this law has not stopped minors from drinking. However, one good thing that has occurred since the passage of this law is that the National Traffic Highway Administration estimates that over 900 lives have been saved (Why 1). In order for a state to receive federal highway funds, the legal age for drinking must be 21. This hinders the ability to change the legal drinking age back to eighteen years of age. This appears to be a no-win situation for those who wish the law were changed back and the age reduced. In reality, one does not have a choice but to accept these laws. Is the state really making the laws based on what would be best or on what will provide them with more funds? As a result, in order for a state to receive funding on its road and highways, they have no choice but to enforce the law of the drinking age. Lowering the drinking age would result in a legal battle that could drag on for years and years and a victory is not certain.
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