Should the Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered?Didyou know that the United States has one of the world highest minimum drinkingages? In the United States every person must be legally 21 years old to consumealcoholic beverages.The topic of the minimum drinking age has always beencontroversial for many decades in theUnited States. In the early1970s, 29 states lowered their legal drinking age to 18, 19 or 20.
But after arise in drunk-driving crashes among young people, many states began to reversecourse. A change in federal law eventually pushed all states to adopt a minimumdrinking age of 21L Therefore, in 1984 the Congress passedthe National Minimum Drinking Act which required states to have a minimumdrinking age of 21 to the consumption of alcohol if they wanted to receivefederal highway monies. The Legal Drinking Age should remain to 21 in orderto prevent traffic fatalities, health problems, and to promote safety andresponsabilities among teenagers. Alcohol is a substance that isdangerous and if people who consume it don’t do it in a moderate way it canlead to serious consequences, due to the fact that it is considered a drug sinceit can lead to addiction.
Since the minimum drinking age was raised to twenty-onein 1984, fatal accidents among younger people has decreased significantly.According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention “After all statesadopted an age 21 MLDA, drinking during the previous month among persons aged18 to 20 years declined from 59% in 1985 to 40% in 1991.” lowering the drinkingage will result in more alcohol-related accidents and deaths, especially whiledriving. Drunk driving deaths have actually steadily decreased in the pastthwenty years. In fact, this trend began occurring since 1982, two years beforethe legal drinking age became twenty-one through the Uniform Drinking Age Act. Ithas shown that this trend occurred throughout all age groups and various othercategories and therefore cannot be directly attributed to the drinking age.
Anestimated 90% of drunk driving deaths in the United States were found in theover 21 age group so drunk driving cannot be necessarily attributed to age.Furthermore,the amount of drunk driving deaths in the United States has decreased at aslower rate. As many people argue that lowering the drinking age is fatal, becausemost of the car accidents are caused by underage people who were driving underalcohol influence. In the United States, alcohol-related car crashes amongdrivers aged 16 to 20 declined by 61% from 1982 to 1998, according to theNational Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, theNHTSA estimates that more than 23,000 alcohol-related vehicular deaths in theU.S. have been prevented since 1975, the year many states began raising theirdrinking ages.
Alcohol dulls parts of the brain that are crucial to decisionmaking, decreases the ability to concentrate, and slows the reaction timebehind the wheel. Drunk drivers are treacherous on the road and can easily hurtthemselves or someone innocent. for those reasons the legal drinking age shouldremain 21 in order to prevent car accidents. “The (minimum legal drinking age) should stay at 21 becausepeople tend to be more mature and responsible at 21 than 18” (ProCon.org).Many lives are taken away because of underage Atthe age of twenty one, one has experienced more life situations than aneighteen year old has, making the twenty one year old a more responsible humanbeing.
Can alcohol affect the growing and developmentalprocess for teens? This is a questions that most of the young people ignorekwnowing that alcohol can make a big impact in the development of their brain.In addition, Drinking alcohol can be very dangerous in terms of health, it canaffect people from having a headache to leading to cirrhosis which is one ofthe leading cause of death on mens, due to the fact that mens are more prone toget into addiction. According to MMDA “Excessive alcohol consumption beforethat age can lead to permanent brain damage, negatively affecting a person’smemory, motor skills and test-taking ability for the rest of their lives,”.Additionally, supporters cite research showed that because many teenagers’bodies are not fully developed until they reach their late teens or earlytwenties, excessive alcohol use could severely damage their more-sensitivelivers.
Also binge drinking can cause learning disabilities and damage yourmemory. It distorts your vision and leads to blackout. Teenagers often thinkthat drinking will give you more energy, but alcohol isn’t an energy drink;it’s a depressant. Alcoholalso has a significant affect on the heart. The heart is the main part of thebody that needs to stay healthy and consumption of alcohol can cause irregularheartbeat, strokes, and high blood pressure. Consumption of alcohol causes manyfuture health risks such as; increase risk of cancer, cirrhosis, fibrosis, andalcohol hepatitis.
According to (Drinkingage.procon.org,2017) Lowering MLDA 21 wouldbe medically irresponsible. Alcohol consumption can interfere with developmentof the young adult brain’s frontal lobes, essential for functions such asemotional regulation, planning, and organization. When alcohol consumptioninterferes with this early adult brain development, the potential for chronicproblems such as greater vulnerability to addiction, dangerous risk-takingbehavior, reduced decision-making ability, memory loss, depression, violence,and suicide is greater. Underage drinking is consideredirresponsible because it can lead to serious consequences.
A Peoplewho drink before they are 21 years old are also more likely to take part inrisky behavior such as having unprotected sex, having multiple sexual partners,and taking other risks they normally would not when sober. This results in alarge number of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases amongyoung people. “The United States has the highest rate of STDs in the developedworld.” (Torr,2002). Combining alcohol with sex can be very dangerous forteenagers because having unprotected sex can change the course of their lives.In addition, the chance of sexual assault taking place when using alcoholincreases greatly, whether it is just the victim, the offender or both underthe influence of alcohol. Women have a harder time completing complex taskswhen they drink at an early age, where as men have a difficult time payingattention.
having unprotected sex, asthe Center of Disease and Prevention says “Women who binge drink are morelikely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. These activitiesincrease the risks of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”This is one of the most common consequences on underage drinking, mostly inHigh School students. high school students are ore prone to have unprotectedsex while they are drunk because the only thing that matter for them is havingfun, therefore underage alcohol can lead to unintended pregnancyes.Therefore isvery important to maintain the legal drinking age to 21 because at 21 peopleare more responsible and assume the consequences. In the other hand, The commonargument that most debate is that people of the age of 18 “can vote, join themilitary, sign contracts, and even smoke.
Why shouldn’t they be able to drink?”This is because there is a certain maturity level that one must reach. “18 isthe age of adulthood in the United States, and adults should have the right tomake their own decisions about alcohol consumption”. (Drinkingage.procon.org,2017). An 18 year old is considered anadult and can be tried in court if he makes false judgement and commits acrime. Threfore, an 18 year old is capable of making every other decision as anadult but perhaps is incapable of making a decision whether or not they shoulddrink.
The 21 year old age limit for alcohol consumption sounds somewhathypocritical, but may indeed serve teeneagers and society alike with feweralcohol related deaths. eighteen year-old to twenty-one year-olds are notmature enough to handle such a chemical as alcohol. Which then we would have totake into consideration that some adults older than 21 are not mature. Butthese adults would still have to take responsibility for their actions. Most ofthese adults are responsible and know how to handle their alcohol. Teenagers,on the other hand, are not at all responsible. They only think about themselvesand sometimes they do not think at all.
In conclusion, The United States hasa minimum drinking age of 21.Theminimum legal drinking age of 21 has proven to save lives and reduce negativeeffects in people who consume alcohol legally. Compared to other countries hasproven a safe drinking age. In addition to all of the positive effects ofhaving this law set in place, there are plenty of ways parents can preventtheir adolescent from consuming alcohol.