What Is the Right Drinking Age?

Topics: Drinking culture, Legal drinking age, National Minimum Drinking Age Act Pages: 7 (2150 words) Published: January 9, 2002
American society believes that lowering the drinking age back to eighteen will lead to a domino affect of bad premonitions like rampant drinking binges, raving alcoholics, and more traffic accident deaths upon the entire nation. Realistic Alcohol Laws for Legal Youth (RALLY) is one of many major organizations dedicated to rectifying these faulty perspectives that Americans hold. Due to the irrelevance on the number of alcohol related car accidents in the 1970?s, the parents obligation to teach responsible drinking, and the fact that eighteen year olds have the same constitutional rights as all adults, I believe that the legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered to eighteen.

Whatever our personal opinion may be, we can not denounce that alcohol has been embedded with every major civilized society from the Greeks to the Romans and even American society as it was stated in the book Opposing Viewpoints: Alcohol (Barbour 25-32). Drinking has been part of the social element since colonial America. According to the book Alcohol: Teenage Drinking, alcohol was viewed as ?God?s Good Creature (Lang 25).? The view of alcohol then changed during the Prohibition period when it became known as ?Demon Rum?. Despite this ?Demon Rum? perspective, society rebelled astoundingly against the 18th Amendment to the Constitution (Prohibition) emphasizing the idea that American people wanted their liquor. Tough restrictions on alcohol and the general concept that alcohol is wicked exist to this day. The controversy lies in that the government literally blackmailed states into increasing the legal drinking age. The nationwide legal age limit was enforced with the threat that President Reagan would not give money to states for roads until they increased their drinking ages. When Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, the country went dry to everyone under 21-legally, that is. Now, some young adults are opting to reverse that decision.

We must take into account that alcohol and teens are very well acquainted. The book, Teenagers and Alcohol: When Saying No Isn?t Enough, asserts that high school surveys in the last decade show that ninety-two percent of its students have tried alcohol (Vogler & Bartz 4). Former Senator Baker says, in Teenagers and Alcohol: When Saying No Isn?t Enough, that alcohol is the ?bloody monster that defiles innocence; creates misery, poverty, fear; causes helplessness and hopelessness, then certainly, I am against it (Qtd. in Vogler & Bartz 3).? Of course, alcohol does have its downfalls like anything else; but then again it also has its benefits. Senator Baker went on to say, ?Alcohol is the oil of conversation that puts a song in the hearts and laughter on people?s lips, magnifies joy and happiness. Alcohol reduces the risk of heart disease. It also floods the Treasury of untold millions of dollars used to help the crippled, blind, deaf, aged, infirm, and builds hospitals and schools (Qtd. in Vogler & Bartz 3-4).?

Although the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was enacted to prevent drunken driving accidents among inexperienced adults, it has pushed underage drinking into unsafe environments. In a recent Internet search, I found that the ?Medical Examiner? from the University of North Carolina gave statistics on how the law did in fact decrease the number of alcohol-related crashes for 19 and 20 year olds. The irrelevant or flawed part of the statistics is that there was also a dramatic decline in such crashes among all age groups in general across the United States (1). Avoiding such tragedies is of great importance, after all the law was passed after the high rate of deaths due to teen drunken driving in the 1970?s. Instead of denying alcohol to adults until they are 21, perhaps the government should have raised the driving age to 18, and more rigorous drivers? training requirements should have been established. A recent poll taken by the Motor Trend TV show, asserts...

Cited: Lang, Alan R. Ph.D. Alcohol: Teenage Drinking. New York:
Chelsea House, 1992
and Alcohol: When Saying No Isn?t Enough. Philadelphia: The Charles Press, 1992.
Wells, Melanie
USA Today 10 Sept. 1997: 4B.
?When were the best muscle cars made?? Motor Trend
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