The Legal Drinking Age Essay

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Drinking Age More lives have been saved in the last two years alone by safety belts and air bags than have been saved in the 30 years since the adoption of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, making the Legal Age to consume alcohol 21 (McCardell). According to the above quote it is shown that increasing the legal drinking age to 21 has done nothing: it is more common to be saved by a seatbelt and airbag in a car accident than it was before increasing the legal drinking age to 21. Lowering the drinking age to 18 will cause less temptation and urge to drink at a “non-legal” age. This will also create more honesty among young adults with the simple fact them knowing it is legal and they aren’t breaking a law. People would be less sneaky about it and it would make drinking a lot safer. After all it is considered to be an adult at 18 and it is legal to purchase tobacco products, get a tattoo, vote, and even defend our country. If the government is worried about the health risks then it shouldn’t be allowed to purchase tobacco at 18 either. A logical legal drinking age is 18. This topic is extremely relevant to today’s society because it is such a part the social world we live. Drinking alcohol is often the focal point of most social events including; church, weddings, concerts, sporting events, restaurants, bars, and many private parties. In some countries including Belgium, Denmark and Germany, 16-year-olds are permitted to buy beer and wine (Griggs). Other countries such as, Iceland, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, young adults have the opportunity to drink at the age of 18 (Griggs). Prohibiting the consumption of alcohol publically encourages students and young adults to drink behind closed doors and “pre-game” before heading out to parties or concerts where they know they can’t consume alcohol lawfully. This behavior is much more likely to result in an overdose, leading to disorderly conduct and no one getting medical help if or when it is needed (Huffington Post). Lowering the legal drinking age to 18 will create less underage drinking and less temptation to drink. Increasing the drinking age to 21 hasn’t stopped kids and young adults from drinking (CBSnews). In the 1980’s when the legal drinking age increased to 21 the goal was to decrease the amount of highway fatalities there were. Experts believe that the increased drinking age has led to a significant breakthrough in excessive drinking among kids and young adults (CBSnews). It's not shocking to hear that the legal drinking age is one of America's commonly violated drug laws, however many have yet to realize that having such a high minimum age is doing more harm than good (Huffington Post). Truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness are all characteristics of honesty. Being honest in today’s society is rare. Around the age of 18 is when young adults want to experiment with things like alcohol and tobacco products. Tobacco products, especially, because the “legal” age to purchase tobacco is 18. With the way society has changed it’s become “cool” to go to parties and drink with your friends. However, with this being an illegal action, kid’s feel they need to do it behind “closed doors” and into a very unsafe environment (CBSnews). This is not good for multiple reasons, kids are inexperienced and don’t know how much is too much and its common for “friends” to pressure friends into doing unsafe things. For example, drinking games have become a popular thing to do among young adults (CBSnews). When teens take part in drinking games this leads to too much alcohol in a too short of a time period leading to getting sick, getting hurt or hurting someone else, passing out, or even dying. If something were to happen at a party where there wasn’t anyone aware there was drinking and someone were to become severely intoxicated and in harm’s way, someone underage is less likely to get help or “fess up” due to it being illegal. This is where it becomes harmful and dangerous (CBSnews). Cops have to limit underage drinking due to it being illegal. It is the law. With that being said this is an unenforceable law (CBSnews). John McCradell founder of Choose Responsibly points out that the 21 year old legal drinking age limit hasn’t reduced binge drinking and that it's unreasonable to tell some adults -- who are able to join the military, gamble, and get married -- that they're not responsible enough to drink (“Is the National Drinking Age Doing More Harm than Good?”). Underage drinking is strongly associated with many health and social problems among youth including alcohol-impaired driving, physical fighting, poor school performance, sexual activity, and smoking too (Fact Sheets - Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age). If the government is truly convinced that lowering the drinking age will cause health factors among young adults then the purchase of tobacco products should be unlawful until the age of 21 also. Tobacco has no health benefits and is harmful to others if smoking cigarettes. There are, however, studies to support that in moderations alcohol can have health benefits. Some believe that the age of 8 or maybe even 6 could be the minimum legal drinking age in the U.S (Griggs). Lowering the drinking age to such young ages would allow parents to educate their children about alcohol and remove the enticement, which makes rebellious teenagers sneak off to basements and cars to binge drink without adult supervision. "The Puritan ethic has really shaped the way alcohol is regulated in the U.S.," Martinic said. According to Brandon Griggs "Alcohol is seen more as a drug, and not something that's integrated into everyday life." Marjana Martinic says “18 is viewed (by most countries) pretty much as a reasonable age limit," after all at the age of 18 is when you legally become an adult and become responsible for everything. It may be assumed that many young adults are too immature to drink at age 18 and that it is unhealthy. Drinking is unhealthy if too much is being consumed in short amount of time causing intoxication ;if alcohol is consumed excessively every day or if drinking large amount of alcohol infrequently ( binge drinking). Some research speculates that some young adult livers may not be a fully developed at the age of 18, like that of an adult at the age of 21and that drinking may predispose on to liver problems. Many studies however support that drinking responsibly has proven to be not all that harmful for most people. Too much alcohol intake contributes to more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth under the age of 21 in the United States each year (Fact Sheets). With that being said young and inexperienced drinkers don’t know how to regulate what truly is too much other than to pass out or black out. About 2 in 3 high school undergraduates who drink do so to the point of intoxication, that is, they binge drink (defined as having five or more drinks in a row), typically on multiple occasions (Fact Sheets). No studies have determined a direct cause and effect result between a higher drinking age and reduced drunk driving fatalities. In addition, there have been numerous studies completed that have found no correlation between the drinking age and other alcohol related harms such as, vandalism, suicide and homicides. Unfortunately supporters of a heightened drinking age only focus on drunk driving rather than the other off-road harmful effects of excessive alcohol that go in hand with underage drinking (Huffington Post). A logical drinking age is 18. It makes more sense to do away with this law simply because it’s a law cops can’t control (CBS news). There are not significant studies to support the drunk driving fatalities platform in which the lower drinking age was based on. Legally an adult is 18. If at 18 years of age an individual is held legally accountable for their actions then it should be lawful to drink at 18 and pay the consequences of drinking irresponsibly. Works Cited CBSNews. "The Debate On Lowering The Drinking Age." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 19 Feb. 2009. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-debate-on-lowering-the-drinking-age/2/>. Commerce, The Ohio Department Of, and Division Of Liquor Control. "SUMMARY OF OHIO'’S 21 DRINKING AGE LAW." SUMMARY OF OHIO’S 21 DRINKING AGE LAW (n.d.): n. pag. THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DIVISION OF LIQUOR CONTROL. STATE OF OHIO, Sept. 2004. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/waitl_learn_live/drinkagelaw.pdf>. "Fact Sheets - Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/mlda.htm>. Griggs, Brandon. "Should the U.S. Lower Its Drinking Age?" CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/16/us/legal-drinking-age/>. McCardell, John. "Choose Responsibility." Legal Age 21. Choose Responsibility, n.Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.chooseresponsibility.org/legal_age_21/>. Tracy, Sam. "Is the National Drinking Age Doing More Harm Than Good?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-tracy/national-drinking-age-doing-more-harm_b_4629417.html>.
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