Bryan Blejski ENG 101-010 Ms. Abbott 28 July 2011 Not Lowering the Drinking Age Many teenage deaths in the United States are caused in some way by the influence of alcohol; however, many people still believe that the legal drinking age should be reduced to eighteen. This issue has been going on for years, but the law has not been changed since the change to twenty-one in 1980. States have become stricter about preventing under-age drinking, but teenagers have no problem getting alcohol. There are many arguments in favor of changing the drinking age back to eighteen.
The facts show that drinking alcohol is too large of a responsibility for an eighteen-year-old to handle. In 1980 the government raised the drinking age to twenty-one because the number of drunk driving accidents was causing many teen-age deaths. The young adults of America considered this law a second prohibition. Prohibition was the period in United States history in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors was outlawed. The push for Prohibition began in the beginning of the nineteenth century. After the American Revolution, drinking was on the rise.
To combat this, a number of societies were organized as part of a new Temperance movement which attempted to dissuade people from becoming intoxicated. At first, these organizations pushed moderation, but after several decades, the movement’s focus changed to complete prohibition of alcohol consumption. The Temperance movement blamed alcohol for many of society’s ills, especially crime and murder. The problem with the arguments for lowering the legal drinking age is it is simply not in the best interest of the public’s safety to do so.
Teenagers who drink are a danger to themselves and others — especially on the highways. The drinking age was first lowered to eighteen in many states back in the Vietnam War era. The country was asking thousands of its young men to fight and die for their country on foreign soil, so the popular thinking was, “How can we ask them to die for their country and not let them have a drink if they want one? ” But the lower drinking age begin to take a toll on the nation’s highways. The number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities began to rise at alarming rates, and a high percentage of those involved young drivers.
Congress again put pressure on the states to raise the drinking age because of this startling increase in highway deaths. Many groups perform a series of arguments about the status of legal drinking age and few seem happy to leave it at twenty-one, where it has been for many years. One persistent argument in the discussion is on youth rights and privileges, means the age at which you can drink alcohol legally should be lowered to the age where you obtain right to vote and die for your country, eighteen. Currently, the legal drinking age is twenty-one in the U. S. , which is higher than the legal drinking age in many other developed countries.
Supporters with an argument for lowering the drinking age, argue that if you have certain rights and obligations that seem more “adult” in a younger age that are fighting for the country, pay taxes and they marry, should be able to drink. These supporters who make this argument to lower the legal drinking age also suggest that the current legal drinking age simply encourages the illegal use of alcohol, many teenagers have tried alcohol, and some heavily and persistently before they reach the age of twenty-one. Although the above argument for lowering the drinking age may be most logical, it is a more convincing and persuasive argument.
Research confirms the argument that the legal drinking age should be twenty-one, in short, adolescents have not developed the cognitive mechanisms, social, and psychological need to make thoughtful decisions and logically about alcohol and also, their bodies have not completed their physical maturation. The government’s changing the legal age to drink from twenty-one to eighteen would be the same as the promotion to avoid the time adolescents have to mature, which is vital for human development and it lays the foundation for responsible participation in society.
In summary, research supports the argument that the drinking age should consider the overall perception of how successful undeveloped teens could handle alcohol. Those who want to see the legal drinking age was reduced from twenty-one to eighteen often argue that the legal drinking age in Canada and many European countries are in the middle of adolescence, and argue further that this “lower drinking age has not resulted in the dismantling of the social structure “(Heath 28).
As some scientists and social researchers have pointed out, however, drinking habits of young people has changed considerably in recent years as the influence of American advertising and the availability of U. S. products has spread (Heath 231). Although the argument that a lower legal drinking age may be based on data from other countries, we must remember that the culture of alcohol are different in many of these countries and should not serve as a valid basis for a discussion of American matters.
Once again, science and research should lead to an argument for reducing or increasing the legal drinking age. Interestingly, on a cultural tone, in relation to the argument against lowering the drinking age, the fact that younger teens are allowed to drink helped researchers suggest that there is an increase in binge drinking, which have been associated with a dramatic increase in harmful and fatal. accidents, social deviance, and increased distance between adolescents and their parents (Heath 231).
Thus, those who support the argument for maintaining the legal drinking age of twenty-one in the United States points out that the vision we have of European drinking heavily romanticized, even dangerously so. There is an extensive amount of research which substantiates the claim that teenagers are simply not prepared, mentally or physically, for alcohol use. Recognizing that teens want to experiment with alcohol drinking regardless of the legal age, lifting the current age or declining it would approve the study, and perhaps even normal use, in an age where teens have not fully matured cognitive or physiological systems (U.
S. Department of Health and Human Services VI). Cognitive maturity is necessary for people to make thoughtful and logical decisions in matters that require much thought and insight, while the physical maturity necessary to control the physiological effects of certain drugs, including alcohol. The consumption of alcohol, particularly in large quantities before the body’s systems are ready to form can stunt the healthy development that causes lifelong deficits. At sixteen or even eighteen years, is a teenager able to think ahead and make decisions based on such information.
For this reason, the legal drinking age, instead of helping them by holding illegal use until the development has reached its conclusion (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services VI). Research findings about alcohol among teenagers is dramatic and confirms the need for the legal drinking age to be maintained at twenty-one. According to Loeb, Talley, and Zlatoper, the minimum legal drinking age “has a statistically significant impact on youthful fatality rates” (64), and there is evidence to suggest that lowering the drinking age to eighteen or sixteen would have the effect f increasing deaths caused by traffic and other types of accidents. People tend to view college drinking as a harmless rite of passage. But the problem is not that students drink. It’s the quantity in which they drink too much. At least forty percent of students report binge drinking – having five or more drinks in one sitting – according to the National Center on Addiction and substance abuse at Columbia University. Excessive drinking has contributed to more than 1,700 college student deaths and more than 500,000 student injuries in 2001, says the National Institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
Thousands of sexual assault among students, are also linked to binge drinking. For all the reasons mentioned here, the legal age of drinking should be maintained in current age: twenty-one. Although it would be naive to think that teens do not experiment with alcohol, not the government and we as responsible citizens, we cannot agree with the previous use of a substance that can have harmful effects if not used correctly.
In addition to maintaining the current age, as well as government and people, especially teachers, parents and other adults who are in direct contact with young people, should increase their efforts to educate young people the dangers of early alcohol use. Although alcohol consumption can be integrated into the adaptive form of social routines, context, and limits the proper use should be taught. Cognitive and physical development of young people must be protected.
As an adult he can, and hopefully to make considered decisions on alcohol use, but less than twenty-one, they are unable to do so. Works Cited Heath, Dwight B. International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995. Print. Heather, Nick, and Tim Stockwell. The Essential Handbook of Treatment and Prevention of Alcohol Problems. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004. Print. Loeb, Peter D. , Wayne K. Talley, and Thomas J. Zlatoper. Causes and Deterrents of Transportation Accidents: An Analysis by Mode.
Westport, CT: Quorum, 1994. Print. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007. [Electronic Version]. http://www. surgeongeneral. gov/topics/underagedrinking/calltoaction. pdf United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Federal Highway Administration. Highway Safety Program Standards. GPO, 1973. Print.