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Should the Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered?

By tfaucett2520 Jun 24, 2014 1171 Words
 Forsberg 1 Haley Forsberg

English 1001

Alexia Brooks

15 April, 2014

Keeping the legal drinking age at 21

Introduction:
The question of whether or not to lower the legal drinking age has been in the mix for years. In the 70’s the legal drinking age for some states including Wisconsin and Georgia was 18. Studies have been done for both sides of the arguments to try and back up their opinion on the legal drinking age. When discussing this subject most people go back to college campuses and how changing the legal drinking age will affect young adults at the university level. The biggest problem when it comes to alcohol consumption is binge drinking. But when the issue is being talked about with people who are okay with the change of the legal drinking age they put forth the idea that when kids are presented with legal alcohol at the younger age of 18 than they are more likely to not be involved in alcohol related accidents are they are smarter about their drinking choices in the long run. The debate about the drinking age continues to be a highly talked about topic in todays world. Summary of opposing views:

People who are for lowering the legal drinking age argue, “students in the 18 year drinking states drank a lower volume of alcohol and had fewer problems than did those in the 21 year states”(Vingilis, 416). They put forth the idea that when young adults are presented with a lower drinking age they are more likely to develop healthy habits when it comes to alcohol consumption (Wechsler, 986). When young adults are able to buy alcohol Forsberg 2 at a younger age they do not feel the need to drink as much. The fact that it is illegal for someone younger than 21 to purchase and consume alcohol makes the whole process of obtaining and consuming it that much more of a rush. Many studies have been conducted in order to prove this point. One study implemented by Grant Dawson suggests that young adults who are between the ages of 21 and 24 are more likely to binge drink and have more alcohol related accidents than the young adults who consume alcohol between the ages of 18 and 20. In order to back their opinions and claims that when kids start drinking at a younger age they are better off in the long run, they have done countless studies and evaluations. These include surveys, experiments, and observations. Their main claim is that young adults are more responsible and safe if they start drinking at a younger age. Your Position on the Topic:

There are many complications and dangers when it comes to lowering the drinking age. High school drinking is a big problem in the U.S. and the problem is just getting bigger. If we lowered the drinking age to 18 the problem would escalade immensely. Rooney and Schwartz conducted a study about lowering the drinking age called teens and alcohol and they found that 10th and 12th grade students in the 21-year drinking states (which were all the states in the 70’s that did not lower their drinking age to 18) were more than likely to abstain from drinking and if they did choose to drink they would not be heavy drinkers. Compared to students in the 18-year drinking states. These students did not abstain and were very heavy drinkers. In Michigan, high school principles were mailed questionnaires after the legal drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 and they reported that problems that they used to have in the school that were caused by drinking decreased drastically Forsberg 3 (Smart,416). There were many studies conducted like this and they all showed the same result. Students who start drinking at a younger age are more likely to get into trouble, more likely to get in alcohol related accidents, and more likely to develop drinking problems later on in their life. In the states that had a legal drinking age of 18 there was more reported traffic incidents and DUI’s than in the states that had a legal drinking age of 21. Under aged drinking has proven to be the gateway to many problems. Violent, sexual, and verbal abuse are a few of the many problems associated with it. The younger an adult starts to drink the more they are likely to be affected by alcohol in a negative way. The only exception I think would be okay is if the service men and women were to drink on base or while they are over seas. Other than that there is no reason that proves good enough to lower the legal drinking age. Development of Claims:

With both views proposing that their view is the one that should be believed and implemented the U.S. has chosen to keep the legal drinking age at 21. This is the age that presents the least amount of problems when it comes to alcohol related incidents. According to Henry Wechsler binge drinking is most common is a young adult age 18-20. So by lowering the drinking age to 18 we are just encouraging and buying into this problem. Studies show that when adults start consuming alcohol at a younger age than 21 they are more likely to develop alcoholism, be victims of alcohol related accidents, and have a binge drinking problem which can cause serious health problems. Binge drinking is probably the most common abuse of alcohol. Many teens suffer from the side affects and later in life health problems when they binge drink. Henry Wechsler claims that, Forsberg 4 “Alcoholism can be associated with sexual assault and verbal and physical abuse”(Wechsler,984). With all these problems with health and addictions that arise from starting drinking at a younger age the legal drinking age should remain at 21. Integration:

With all of this being said, I do believe that there is a way to satisfy both sides. The only people who should be able to drink under the age of 21 are service men and women. If they are on base or at war they should be able to have a drink. Other than that the legal drinking age should remain at 21. This is better for everyone because it protects our young adults to at least some extent. If a young man or women is at war and they are among other soldiers that are of drinking age, they should be able to enjoy a drink with their fellow combatants. They are overseas, or waiting to be stationed overseas and they should be allowed to have a drink. When a man or women enters the service they are entering with the thought in their mind that they might not make it out. Because of this they should be able to enjoy the luxuries and privileged of being able to drink at a younger age. However they would only be allowed to drink underage if they were on base or at war overseas. This could be a way to please both views while still keeping our youth safe and helping prevent the problems that come with under aged drinking. Word Count: 1173

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