Maintaining the Drinking Age Law of 21
Teen alcohol use kills about 6,000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined (Hingson and Kenkel). Alcohol use by persons under 21 years of age is a major public health problem. Alcohol is a common used and abused drug among youth in the United States. Although alcohol is harmful to everyone, alcohol harms adolescents much more than adults. Adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to the harmful effects of alcohol on learning, memory, and judgment. The national legal drinking age of 21 should be maintained because alcohol use by adolescents damages the neurological development of the brain, cause psychological effects, furthermore, it will cause unnecessary deaths. The body and most importantly, the brain of an adolescent cannot perform to its full potential if its development is interrupted by alcohol. The national drinking age was placed because the brain does not fully develop until at least 21. This time marks a critical period for neurodevelopment. What alcohol does to the brain is affect the way neurons get their triggers from glutamate. It permits the glutamate receptors in the synapses, damaging their ability to send off their normal messages. Additionally, brain maturation takes place in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain controls judgments and weighing risks and consequences of this behavior. Not only that, but because of an adolescents inability to rationally think or make good judgments, they will most likely engage in heavy alcohol consumption which has negative health Hassan 2
affects that include liver and brain damage. Alcohol use affects an adolescent’s brain differently than it does an adult. A teenager’s brain is in different developmental stages and their body reacts differently to alcohol. Teens get drunk twice as fast as adults, but have trouble knowing when to stop (MADD). There are too many harmful effects of alcohol for it to be consumed by young people. Teenagers who drink will suffer blackouts, memory loss, alcohol poisoning from drinking (add a couple more health affects)! Teen brains are designed for maximum learning capacity and alcohol interferes greatly. Alcohol use before the full formation of the brain causes a decreased ability in memory, attention, and learning, all of which affect academic performance. Allowing teens to drink alcohol can result in academic failure because drinking leads to difficulty concentrating and memory dysfunction. Allowing adolescents to drink during these important developmental years will cause, long term, irreversible damage to the brain. Underage drinking causes unrepairable damage to lives. On the first day at her new school, Jenny felt everything went great. She made new friends and even got a date. She thought to herself. “ I want to be popular and I’m going to be, because I just got a date with the star of the team.” There was only one problem stopping her fate, her parents had said she was too young to date. With that in mind, Jenny decided to lie to her parents. She asked her parents if she would be able to stay the night at her friend’s house. Her parents agreed. Excited, she got ready for her big event, but she began to feel guilty about the lie but she said to herself oh well, it’s only a party. Jenny went to the party with her new boyfriend Jeff. After the party Jeff was drunk and decided to take Jenny home after a little ride. In the car, Jeff tried to make a pass at Jenny. Jenny did not want that at all, and asked for Jeff to take her straight home. Jeff drove off with anger and he accelerated his car and continued to go faster. Then all of a sudden she saw a big flash, and did Hassan 3
not remember the force of impact. She heard voices and she awoke in the hospital to faces so sad. They told her she was in a wreck and it looks pretty bad. They said Jenny “we have done all we can do, Jeff died and it looks as if we will lose you too”. They told her that the people...
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