Should the U.S. lower the drinking age to 18? Every year, millions of American kids graduate from high school, throw massive parties and get drunk. Police end up arresting a lot of these kids, causing them legal trouble for months or even years. So, every year, there's a new debate about whether we should lower or even abolish the legal drinking age (Cloud)…
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Smith (2008) pointed out that “teenagers have not developed the cognitive, social, and psychological mechanisms that are needed to make thoughtful and logical decisions about alcohol use” (Smith). In other words, people below the age of 21 may not be able to take sound decisions in their life and therefore they should not be allowed to drink. At the same time, many people argue that if an 18 year person is wise enough to elect political leaders, then he should be allowed to take drink at the age of 18. At 20 years old, an American can drive a car, buy cigarettes and pornography, vote for the next leader of the free world, and even die for his or her country by enlisting in the military. But that same person cannot order a beer with friends while watching the game at a sports bar. Because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, some Americans can put themselves in front of terrorists with machine guns, but not a Heineken” (Blanche). In short, legal drink age is a controversial topic in America at present because of the various dimensions attached to this topic. So many arguments were cited in favour and against the lowering of drink age in America. In my opinion, drink age should not be lowered under any circumstances since lowering of drink age can generate so many social, physical and mental problems not only to the drinker but also to the family and society in which he belongs. Seaman Barrett (2005) in his article "How Bingeing Became the New College Sport" argued in favour of lowering drink age from 21 to 18 in America. He has cited many reasons for his argument. “Pregaming is a common thing in American college campuses which came into existence in the 1990’s. It usually involves sitting in a dorm room or an off-campus apartment and drinking as much hard liquor as possible before heading out for the evening's parties” (Seaman). Parker (2007) also supported the arguments of Seaman. In his opinion, “because of the ban, instead of drinking in bars or restaurants where there is supervision, it's happening in dorms and dark corners” (Parker). One of the major arguments cited in favour of lowering of drink age to 18 is that non-availability of drinks through legal channels may force the teenagers to get it from illegal sources. Supporters of these arguments are of the view that drinks from illegal sources could be more dangerous and poisonous than the drinks from legal channels. “Over 80% of adults believe that it is easy for people under the age of 18 to access alcohol in pubs and off-licenses” (Morrissey). It is a fact that antisocial elements can exploit these teenagers for various purposes. However, in my opinion, these arguments are illogical. It is the duty of the government to take necessary actions to punish those who supply liquor illegally. It is meaningless to lower the drink age instead of prohibiting illegal liquor supply. Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning”(Alcohol Alert). Teenagers during their developmental stages many not be able to take sound decisions. They are not matured enough to take wise decisions for their
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Carter. The A-Z Encyclopedia of Food Controversies and the Law. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2011.) There are the majority of the states which have kept the dinking age at the 21 years whereas on the other hand, there are some which have reduced the underage drinking to 18-20 years.
The debate regarding the minimum alcohol drinking age has been in the limelight for the past few decades. The discussion here will take place with the view that “lowering the drinking age in the United States where the minimum drinking level currently stands at 21 years is the need of time and it is the only viable long term solution to the drinking problems”.
In the adult population, binge drinkers form 23 percent of the population but drink 76 percent of the alcohol. Frequent bingers form 7 percent of the population but drink 45 percent of the alcohol. The survey made the conclusion that most American adults either abstain or drink very little.
The adverse effects of alcohol consumption on the mind and body of an individual mark the bad side of the habit. At the same time, according to many experts, intake of alcohol in limited quantities is not at all problematic. But alcohol is an intoxicating liquid and its continuous consumption leads to addiction and gradually the quantity consumed only increases and it becomes very hard for one to be free from addiction.
Alcohol Consumption in the United States
It is undeniable fact that, alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of most deaths in the United States. For the past years, alcohol consumption has been the major contributing factor to road accidents and the leading cause of death for young adults and youths.
As time progressed, interest arose over adolescent alcoholism and alcohol-linked road accidents, and, in the 1980s, several states invalidated their previous resolutions by increasing the MLDA to 21. Rising to a proposal of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving,
y fall within this age bracket (Tracy, 2014), this begs the question what is the point of having a law that has perpetually proven impossible to implement given the high alcohol consumption statistics among teenagers. This has sparked considerable debate on whether the drinking
Online audiences also support very much the reduction of age bar to 18, as is visible from the online poll on the topic, as 82 percent say les and only 18 percent say no to it (Debate.org 1). Pros and cons of the issue need to be considered thoughtfully.
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