The Appropriate Drinking Age

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Each year, approximately 5,000 teens under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; including 1,900 deaths from car crashes, 1,600 from homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings (Underage Drinking). Alcohol is the leading factor in several deaths by teens per year, revealing just how difficult finding the perfect age of responsibility is. As new information is being revealed to us, it is clear the dangers of alcohol can be devastating in young people’s lives.

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Lowering the drinking age, as well as raising it, both have their benefits and drawbacks. Although the new brain research reveals that the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25, the current drinking age should remain the same.

During July of 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was signed into the law, making all states prohibit people under the age of 21 from buying and having public access to alcohol. Before this Act was passed, the United States had various drinking ages, ranging from 18-21. Several groups are still suggesting that the drinking age should be readjusted to the age of 18. Jack McCardell, a former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, believes that the wait involving the drinking age is counterproductive. The laws surrounding the current drinking age are ineffective and unenforceable (Greenblatt 153), and are only leading teens to unsafe drinking. With several other laws being enforced around age 18, is the current drinking age out of step with social and cultural reality (153)? On the other hand, advocates suggesting we keep the law explain that lowering the drinking age would be disastrous (153).

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