Why the Drinking Age Should Stay 21

Topics: Drinking culture, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism Pages: 5 (1917 words) Published: October 23, 2012
On July 1, 1971 the 26th amendment was passed which lowered the minimum age to vote from twenty one to eighteen years old. Shortly after the amendment was passed twenty nine states across America started lowering the drinking age from 21 to either 18,19, or 20 years old. This new freedom for young adults only lasted for a brief time by 1984 the Uniform Drinking Age Act was passed. The Uniform Drinking Age Act forced states to change the drinking age back to twenty one years old; by reducing the federal transportation funding, for each state that did not have a minimum drinking age of21. This act has caused controversy for years, there even is group of 136 college presidents called Amethyst Initiative that support a lower minimum legal drinking age (MLDA). All of these college presidents have signed a petition that agrees with lowering the MLDA. The Amethyst Initiative teamed up with another Association called Choose Responsibly that also believes MLDA should be lowered. The Choose Responsibility association published an informative letter written by John McCardell expressing many arguments and reason why they believe the MLDA should be lowered. I read this article and many other articles that believe the MLDA should be lowered. I disagree with all of them for three reasons my first reason is that lowering the MLDA would increase consumption of minors and cause more binge drinking in America, my second reason is that changing the age to twenty one has saved that many lives, and the third reasons is that the drinking before 21 can delay brain development. Becoming an adult in this country should be a process young Americans should have to deal with getting freedoms and rights on age at a time. There is no way an 18 year old is mature enough to drink without learning how to handle having certain rights and freedoms first. For instance, the national alcohol related fatalities rate in 1984, before the MLDA was raised to 21was 4,612 deaths in a year. Since then in 2006, 2,121 people ages 16 to 20 died in alcohol-related fatalities on U.S. roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). However some supporters of lowering the MLDA such as John McCardell argue the reason the fatalities have decreased is because of improved safety in cars. McCardell states in his article “improvements in seat-belt use and air bag improvements are the reason the number of fatalities decreased”. However, McCardell forgets to mention that traffic fatalities unrelated to alcohol have also increased 21 percent in the age group of 16 to 20 year olds during the same period of time (NHTSA). In 1984 2,915 people died in unrelated alcohol accidents and in 2006 3,537 died in unrelated accidents (NHTSA). Car safety nothing to do with the drop in alcohol related fatalities, changing the MLDA back to 21 has caused a drop in alcohol related deaths. There are some reasonable arguments that McCardell and other supporters of lowering the MLDA have. One of their biggest arguments is that a large majority of people under 21 drink any ways and many of them dangerously binge drink. This is a true statement according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDH) 48% of 18 to 20 year olds consumed alcohol a month prior to the survey and 33 % of 18 and 20 years old binge drinking. However many supporters of lowering MLDA believe the reason these numbers are so high is because alcohol is outlawed and these young people feel the rush of breaking the law. Ruth Eng a supporter of lowering the MLDA writes in her article (Why the Drinking Age Should be Lowerd) “drinking by teenagers is seen as a forbidden fruit, a badge of rebellion against authority and a symbol adult hood.” However, if Eng s theory is correct the binge drink rates and alcohol consumption rates would lower once young adults turn 21 because it’s finally legal to drink. On the contrast, Eng’s theory is s wrong the rates actually sore higher once...
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