Lowering the Drinking Age
In all American sates, the legal drinking age is 21 years. However, people have contradicting views on the issue. The supporters of lowering this age claim that this law has not stopped youngsters from taking alcohol in secret. They blame this policy for increased health complications and risky behaviors among such juveniles. On the other hand, proponents of the existing law believe that adolescents are not capable of drinking responsibly and may harm themselves or other people if allowed to engage in this practice. They support their argument with the reduction of road accidents in the country upon enactment of this law.
Nonetheless, this law faces various challenges hence the variance in the public’s opinions. To start with, various states in USA differ in its implementation. Of the fifty states, 29 of them allow teenagers to consume alcohol as long as the guardians are okay with it or the practice is behind closed doors. Likewise, 25 and 10 states allow underage dinking for religious and educational reasons respectively. Moreover, various American regions have reduced the required drinking age to as low as 18 years in the recent past while some states such as Oklahoma allowing women of 18 years to consume this beverage (Fell, and James 10).
In my opinion, the government should not amend this policy to suit youngsters. Firstly, doing so may lead to various health complications. Below 21 years, the brain is not fully developed and this brew may tamper with the functionalism of the frontal lobes in this vital organ. These chambers are responsible for controlling one’s emotions in addition to decision-making. Due to this, teenage drinking may cause problems such as addiction, violence depression, memory loss, and suicide (Birckmayer, and Hemenway 12). Moreover, the victims may have reduced capacity of making crucial decisions hence engaging in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex.
Reduction of the drinking age will also lead to increased road accidents and death. According to a survey conducted in 2002, ratification of this law resulted to a 13% decline of traffic accidents involving people between the ages of 18 and 20. Moreover, most analysts relate underage drinking to careless driving. This survey also indicates that the law saved more than 27,052 lives between 1975 and 2008 (Wagenaar 25).The facts in this research are proof of the consequences of reducing the drinking age requirement in America. It will not only lead to death of the youngsters but also other innocent individuals.
People in the teenage phase are still immature and lack the capacity to make certain decisions on their own. Furthermore, they are more prone to peer-pressure that may lead them to engaging in risky behaviors like unprotected sex. The age of 18 is a transition point from parental dependency with most of these persons being in their first job or learning institutions (Fell, and James 17). Consequently, they are more prone to overindulgence in alcohol consumption, irresponsible sexual relations and other life-threatening activities. Due to this, it is important to retain the legal drinking age at 21 since at this period people are mature and responsible.
According to several surveys conducted by experts in this field, reduction of the legal drinking age may lead to an increase in substance abuse among teenagers (Fell, and James 19). Due to the peer-pressure experienced in this stage, youngsters who use this cocktail are likely to abuse other drugs such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana. These drugs will not only lead to medical complications but also increase the crime rate in the nation. Additionally, these victims may indulge in unprotected sex, leading to sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancies. This shows the severity of reducing the drinking age.
Another reason why the legal requirement for alcohol consumption should stick to 21 years is the overwhelming public support for the law. Majority of America’s population believe that people under the age of 21 are not mature enough to engage in alcohol consumption. In 2007, a survey indicated that 77% of the citizens approve this policy (Musto, and David 20). With America being a self-governing nation, the government should consider the opinions of its people. The policies formulated should benefit the country. Due to this, amending this law will contradict the requirements of the democratic mode of governance adopted in USA.
In addition, there is no theory that supports the lowering of the American legal drinking age as a right. Laws in America relate to the Constitution hence the irrationalism of amending this policy. According to a court verdict in 1978, the rule concurs with the government’s goal of reducing traffic accidents in the country. Moreover, the Constitution does not regard the use of this brew as a basic right. Unlike race and gender, age is also not a measure of prejudice hence the illogic nature of the law’s amendment (Alvarez, Twitchell, and Trock 10). Consequently, the need to reduce road accidents and deaths overpowers the personal pleasure of these youngsters.
activities that require one to be of a responsible age, the law should not
allow teenagers to use this brew. For example, in America, one has to be 21 years and
above in order to acquire a gun, gamble, or adopt a child (Fell, and James 24).
This is because of the immense accountability required to engage in such
activities. Likewise, consumption of alcohol necessitates responsibility in
order to avoid risky behaviors such as unprotected sexual encounters, substance
abuse, and fatal road accidents. In conclusion, lowering the legal age
requirement of alcohol consumption will do more harm than good to both the
teenagers and the entire nation.
Alvarez, M R, L E. Twitchell, and Y Trock. “Minors and Alcohol.” Journal of Juvenile Law. 16 (1995): 229-241. Print.
Birckmayer, J, and D Hemenway. “Minimum-age Drinking Laws and Youth Suicide, 1970-1990.” American Journal of Public Health. 89.9 (1999): 1365-1368. Print.
Fell, James C. “Drinking Age 21: Facts, Myths and Fictions.” Quarterly/journal. 7.1 (1985). Print.
Musto, David F. Drugs in America: A Documentary History. New York: New York University Press, 2002. Print.
Wagenaar, Alexander C. Effects of the Minimum Drinking Age on Automotive Crashes Involving Young Drivers. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 1982. Print.