In modern society, alcohol has become essential not only for socializing, but also for various kinds of religious and personal purposes. On the other hand, it cannot be neglected that many countries worldwide are experiencing different alcohol-related problems. For example, the ‘gin epidemic’ in Britain from 1720 to 1750 and the 13 years of prohibition of alcohol in the USA during the early 1900s. These examples all demonstrate the negative social impacts of alcohol. In present days, alcohol is still known as the most widely used drug all around the world. When it comes to Australia, it has been reported that the first European settlers drank more alcohol than any other community in human history (Victoria Government Health Information, n.d.). Alcohol also functions differently in contemporary Australian society: as a relaxant, a component of socializing and celebration, a source of employment and exports, and a generator of tax revenue --- it is a part of Australian culture (Preventive Health Taskforce 2008, p.2). In the 1970s’, the drinking age was lowered to 18 from 21 during the Vietnam War (Bibby 2009). One issue people nowadays are openly debating about is whether the legal minimum age for drinking alcohol in Australia should be, again, raised from 18 to 21. It has been suggested that as 18-year-olds have already been able to vote, they naturally should have the right to drink as well. However, this essay will argue that the legal drinking age should be lifted, and the reasons are as follows: there has been a trend of increasing alcohol consumption among teenagers in Australia, alcohol can bring different kinds of harms to young people, and social problems would also arise from teenage drinking.
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