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Should the legal drinking age in the US be reduced to 18 - Essay Example

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The main concern of the paper is to identify and answer the question: “Should the legal drinking age in the US be reduced to 18?” The researcher of this paper states that the cons of lowering the minimum legal drinking age outweigh the pros…
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Should the legal drinking age in the US be reduced to 18
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that in the United States, the legal drinking age has been set at 21 as per the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. The Act states that it is illegal for an individual below the age of 21 years to purchase or possess any form of alcoholic beverage in public. The aim of the Act was to reduce the number of highway fatalities caused by drunk driving as alcohol was and still is the leading cause of death among teenagers in highway crashes. Congress mandated in 1984 that states establish 21 as the drinking age in return for federal highway funding. The legal drinking age has always been a contentious issue which has generated much comment. Proponents of lowering the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) from 21 argue that it has not stopped teen drinking but has instead pushed underage drinking into private and less controlled environments thus leading to life-endangering behavior by adolescents. The continued incidents of alcohol abuse among adolescents especially on college campuses have fueled debate on whether or not setting the MLDA at 21 is smart and effective. Opponents of lowering the minimum legal age from 21, on the other hand, are of the opinion that by 18 or even 19, teens have not yet reached an age where they are capable of handling alcohol responsibility and therefore when they abuse alcohol, they are more likely to harm themselves and others....
the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking claim that a higher percentage of young Americans between the ages 12 and 20 use alcohol more than they use tobacco or illicit drugs. It further claims that “by age 15, approximately one-half of America’s boys and girls have had a whole drink of alcohol, not just a few sips”. Since alcohol consumption starts as young as at 12, there is no reason to think that lowering the minimum legal drinking age will teach young Americans responsible and sensible drinking behavior. Professor Ruth further asserts that “Although the legal purchase age is 21 years of age, a majority of college students under this age consume alcohol but in an irresponsible manner. This is because drinking by these youth is seen as an enticing “forbidden fruit,” a “badge of rebellion against authority” and a symbol of “adulthood.” Thus, lowering the drinking age to 18reduces the thrill factor and encourages teenagers to consume alcohol in moderation. However, the American Medical Association says that lowering the drinking age will make alcohol more available to an even younger population, replacing “forbidden fruit” with “low hanging fruit (Minimum Legal Drinking Age in College Communities). When 18 year olds have legal access to alcohol, they will provide more opportunities for younger teens to obtain it. Professor Ruth’s final argument is that because the present minimum legal drinking age is “not working and is counterproductive”, we should change it. This argument, too, does not hold water. The present minimum legal drinking age is not working because enforcement is lax. Stricter enforcement of these laws will certainly make Sebastian 3 these laws more effective in prohibiting the sale of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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