Drinking Age: Lower It

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After Prohibition, nearly all states adopted a minimum legal drinking age of twenty-one. Then, between 1970 and 1975, twenty-nine states lowered the MLDA to eighteen, nineteen, or twenty. Advocacy groups urged states to raise their MLDA to twenty-one.

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Several did so in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but others did not. To encourage a national drinking age, Congress enacted the national MLDA. Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, establishing twenty-one as the minimum legal purchase age. Today, almost 72% of teens who drink get alcohol without having to pay for it. Although a substantial amount of Americans claim that persons under twenty-one do not yet have the physical or mental capacity to handle drinking responsibly, drinking age should be lowered from twenty-one to eighteen due to the fact that persons at the age of eighteen are able to make important decisions and the prohibition of alcohol has been unsuccessful in the past sixteen plus years.

Many Americans have argued the drinking age should either stay twenty-one or be raised due to the undeveloped prefrontal cortex. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, Cells that will produce the nervous system begin to form about three weeks after fertilization in humans, and cerebral maturation is not complete until an individual reaches his or her fourth decade of life. This means the prefrontal cortex, which is where the brain makes informed decisions, will not be fully grown until about forty years. Do American citizens want the MLDA to be forty? According to Health Magazine, Alcohol speeds up a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which is responsible for regulating dopamine in the brain’s reward center. In an underdeveloped brain, the neurotransmitter will react in a worse way causing the brain’s reward center to go insane. One’s judgment would be greatly impaired.

Excessive alcohol consumption causes physical and mental impairment. Peoples under twenty-one will face major consequences in their persons. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, there were about 189,000 emergency department visits by people under age twenty-one for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol in 2010.

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