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The Drinking Age Be Lowered to 18

By gabrielle22 Dec 02, 2012 1337 Words
The drinking age be lowered to 18
"Alcohol is the drug of choice among America's adolescents, used by more young people than tobacco or illicit drugs... [T]here are 10.1 million underage drinkers in the United States... 39% of current 8th graders, 58% of 10th graders, 72% of 12th graders, and 85% of college students have tried alcohol.” -The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wrote in their fact sheet titled "Underage Drinking" on report.nih.gov. Apparently keeping the drinking age at 21 is not stopping teenagers from drinking and even worse when they drink it isn’t casual but instead they are binge drinking. Binge drinking is drinking with the intention of becoming intoxicated by a heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. Lowering the drinking age to 18 could possibly solve this problem and we won’t know unless we try. Of course there are many negatives to the consumption of alcohol but it happens throughout all ages; alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, and other bad personal choices are made under the influence of alcohol. At 18 an individual is considered an adult and can vote, gamble in some places, and so on but they cannot drink. I find this ridiculous since this is one of the most frequent ages people start drinking and everyone knows it’s going on but they choose to ignore it. People seem to want to go against the law and authority, it’s a thrill, and if the legal drinking age was lowered to 18 then maybe they won’t find it so thrilling and it would be a legal adult decision they are making to drink. Did you know? From 1920 to 1933 alcohol was prohibited in the united stated by the eighteenth amendment. During this time there were much more arrests, organized crime increased, and eventually the twenty-first amendment was ratified to repeal the eighteenth amendment, the only time this has ever happened. People will always find a way around the law and nobody likes being told what they can and can’t do so they do it anyways. Apparently this wasn’t the last time the law and alcohol would be an issue. Between 1970 and 1976 thirty states lowered their minimum drinking age from 21 to 18, 19, or 20 but the National minimum drinking age act of 1984 caused them to raise it back up to 21 because they were threatening to withdraw their highway funds. According to procon.org; today the states have had more freedom with their laws and now in 29 states underage drinking is allowed on private premises with parental consent, 30 states if for religious purposes, and 13 states if for educational purposes. There are eight exceptions to minimum legal drinking age which depend on the state: Drinking is allowed on private non-alcohol-selling premises, with parental consent, on private, non-alcohol-selling premises, without parental consent, for religious purposes, for medical purposes, for government work related purposes, for educational purposes, when reporting medical need due to underage drinking for another minor, and on alcohol-selling premises, with parental approval Society plays a large role in promoting underage drinking. The shows and movies that are directed towards today’s youth promote underage drinking by showing the characters drinking both casually and binge drinking at parties and so on. How are teenagers expected to not do these things if they are being told by the media that it is okay and socially accepted? People who are against lowering the drinking age should be fighting against the media and help educate youth, the age isn’t the problem, but societies. There is a lot of arguing about all the negatives then can come from making it legal for teenagers to drink because anyone against this only sees how destructive drinking can be while it’s illegal. But how often do you hear about kids being educated on alcohol. Sure there is MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) but that is just scaring children and using their emotions against them. They aren’t really educating teenagers on how to drink responsibly but instead just telling them not to. John McCardell Jr., a historian of the American South and former head of Middlebury College, founded Choose Responsibility in 2006 to argue in favor of licensing 18-to-20-year-olds to drink after they are educated. According to McCardell they should be licensed to drink after they complete 42 hours of instruction on the history, chemistry, psychology, and sociology of alcohol, including sitting in on AA sessions. At the age of 21, people still make bad choices under the influence of alcohol, maybe being educated would help them make better ones. Society isn’t the only one to blame, parents are a child’s first teacher and their actions speak louder than words. A baby learns to talk and do everything by watching their parents. According to MADD, “Seventy-four percent of kids (ages 8-17) said their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking.” If parents educated their kids and also demonstrate how to be responsible while drinking then kids could make better choices. The biggest issue is that the government and society doesn’t think that at 18 an individual is responsible enough to drink but they are mature enough to legally be able to vote, serve on juries, get married, join the military, and can be prosecuted as adults. It doesn’t seem right that one can be held responsible for so much but not responsible enough to drink when people who are legally allowed to drink can’t even do it responsibly. One argument on the pro side is that Europe’s traffic fatalities were less than ours in the 1980s when the law was passes for the minimum drinking age to be 21 proving that the drinking age being higher doesn’t stop the fatalities. But the con side counters this by pointing out that the “Lower drinking ages to 16, 17, or 18 like the MLDA in some European countries is inappropriate for US standards because American teens generally start driving at earlier ages and drive more often than their European counterparts. American teens are thus much more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol if the drinking age were lowered in the US” –ProCon.org. Yes this is logical but either way European countries have different societal expectations as well as many other factors. The point it that if we know that teenagers are drinking and driving illegally then how is the age limit doing any good? And to make it worse teenagers don’t like to be told what to do and the thrill of drinking because it’s illegal and reckless attracts them to it even more just as going against their parents and other authority figures excites them. Other things to keep in mind: Sixty-seven percent of teens in the United States drink alcohol, lowering the drinking causing adults to be able to drink in bars and public places will stop them from always drinking in unsupervised places where it turns into binge drinking, and there are always going to be fatalities that come with drinking and they are already across all age groups whether or not the younger generation’s fatalities are higher. The united states has tried to completely ban alcohol and now they are trying to stop legal adults from drinking for reasons that they don’t know will actually occur, and if they can take the ban off alcohol as they did in history to stop all the negatives that came with it then isn’t it worth a try to lower the drinking age and see if we get positive results. It seems that the pros and cons are fairly even and some are opinion based and it’s only a matter of time where something is going to need to be done about this. The best option is to educate the youth and as they come of age, 18, then they can make more responsible and educated choices as an adult.

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