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Drinking Age Bus/275


Submitted By batsonmi
Words 1779
Pages 8
18 or 21?
Michelle Batson

The great debate of the use of alcohol has challenged the nation for many years. The age limit that has been put into place in many states to legally drink is 21. Yet some still believe that 18 should be the legal age for the consumption of this drug called alcohol. Some argue that if a person can join the military, vote and be held responsible for themselves at the age of 18 that they should also have the right to drink alcohol. Others claim that fatalities from underage drinking are just too high and at the age of 18 a person is still not responsible enough to drink. In 1984 a bill was brought before government to raise the age to 21 or states would lose highway funding and in 1987 the government complied and signed a bill that forced most states to raise the legal age to 21, if they did not comply the state would lose ten percent of their highway funding. Some saw this as unfair and put laws into place where it was still legal for underage drinking with certain conditions attached, such as being supervised within your parents’ home. This bill has claimed to of saved 17,000 lives since 1988. The debate on the drinking age has raised many concerns for both sides and still continues to be a subject that brings controversy to any conversation.
The pros of lowering the drinking age to 18 can be a very valid argument. At the age of 18 a young person is considered an adult and most believe that if you have the rights to join the army, get married and vote that the use of alcohol legally should be a right as well. Allowing an 18 to 20 year olds to drink in a controlled environment can decrease unsafe drinking activity. Being supervised by parents that drink responsibly and provide guidance at this age can greatly reduce the abuse of alcohol during this age. Lowering the drinking age would take the thrill out of breaking the law to drink and teach young people that alcohol is to be used in moderation if at all. The age limit to consume alcohol is for the most part not obeyed anyway and lowering it would teach our youth responsibility of the use of alcohol. The fear of being prosecuted by the law for underage drinking has caused many accidents that would not have occurred if the age limit was dropped. Teens will sometimes run or hide from law officials while consuming alcohol just because they fear the consequences they will face as an underage drinker, this has caused unnessacary accidents. The economy would also be a factor to consider. Revenue from taxes associated with the purchase of alcohol can boost private business owner’s profits in restaurants, bars and other establishments. Others argue that younger people that are allowed to consume alcohol at an earlier age are less likely to harm themselves or others because they have been taught the responsibility of using alcohol at a younger age. Taking the risk of being caught using alcohol at an age that is legal for other adult things will reduce the need for binge drinking and help curb accidents from fear of being caught. Lowering the drinking age can be a good step in giving young people the chance to prove they are responsible when it comes to the use of alcohol.
The cons of alcohol use far outweigh the pros and have more statistics to back them up. The use of alcohol at a younger age can be medically irresponsible. The development of a young person’s brain is shown to have not fully developed at the age of 18 and the use of alcohol can interfere with the ability to control addiction and make other emotional decisions. This can lead to problems with the law and depression among teens. The use of alcohol at this age can increase the frequency of going to bars and nightclubs that are considered not safe. Judgment during this age with the use of alcohol can be dangerous and unclear of the risks. One of the main concerns with drinking at a younger age is the statistics of traffic related incidents to the use of alcohol. Traffic related crashes due to the age limit of 21 were decreased between 1975-2008 by 13% and saved 27,052 lives during this time. Keeping alcohol use from the younger crowd reduced the weekend crashes that would otherwise have occurred. The use of alcohol is not a fundamental right garuntted by the constitution. A U.S. District court ruled on Dec.22, 1978 that the drinking age of 21 is reasonably related to reducing crashes and maintaining highway safety. In a 2007 gallop poll it was shown that 77% of Americans support the age of 21 to legally drink. Several polls have shown since the 70’s that Americans overwhelmingly support the age limit of 21 to legally drink and would oppose any change in this law. Although the main concern with lowering the age limit is the risks posed to our youths there are still many reasons other than just traffic related or poor judgment among teens. The use of alcohol at this stage in life has been proved dangerous and should not be allowed.
There are several legal issues that one might incur if the age stays at 21. The risk of being caught drinking at this age carries consequences like fines, probation or even jail time. The first offense for underage drinking is a $500 fine, mandatory alcohol awareness class, 30 day suspension of license and 8-12 hours of community service. This is just for the possession of alcohol or consumption at an illegal age. The consequences of a driving under the influence charge are much greater and can cause future damage to the offender. The use of alcohol among younger crowds can be a risk that may follow the younger crowds into the future. Addiction, misconduct sexually and depression are all things that need to be looked at closer. It is a question of morals for some if they wish to obey the law or chose to break the law when it comes to drinking at an illegal age. Underage drinking cost society 68 billion dollars in 2008, due to medical bills, loss of income and cost from pain and suffering. This may raise issues with teens that are not of age within their own minds whether to drink or not. Morals and drinking are often not perceived by young people as a choice and they continue to drink anyway. Peer pressure can be a factor when choosing to do the right thing among teens. If a teen has yet to develop the skills to make good judgment they might end up with feelings of regret after choosing to do what they think was a wrong choice.
In conclusion I believe the age limit should stay at 21. The traffic statistics show the facts that lives are saved at a higher age. If lowering the age limit to 18 is creating more fatalities on the highways then why should we as adults even consider it? It is not only our children’s safety at risk but the safety of others that are on the highways. This is the main argument that is most convincing to me in the articles I have read all show the same thing when it comes to the use of alcohol at a young age, it is irresponsible and dangerous to allow among 18-20 year olds. The use of poor judgment is also a convincing argument. It is irresponsible for us as adults to allow our children to use alcohol when their brains are still developing and growing. The pros of alcohol use at a younger age do not convince me that it is a good idea or a secure one to allow consumption of alcohol at 18.Alcohol is not a right just because you are 18 and it is not like voting or making the decision to join the Army. These are choices that allow you to grow and continue develop they do not impair your judgment and fog your brain so you make bad decisions. They are rights that will teach you and help you developed into a responsible adult. These rights do not create addictions, unwanted pregnancies, drug use or traffic accidents due to the use of alcohol that causes poor judgment. I believe these are weak arguments because they have very little facts associated with them. There are very few statistics that show it is safe to use alcohol at a younger age that prove it is a good idea or it will teach our children anything. Anyone can claim that drinking at a young age will teach responsible drinking, but the facts are not overwhelmingly in favor of it. The use of alcohol at any age can be dangerous due to the impairment of judgment, after all that is why most people drink, to feel the high from it. Allowing 18-20 year olds to drink alcohol would be a mistake that can be costly, not only to them but to society. It raises a concern that if the age were to be lowered to 18, there would be legal issues, health issues and responsibility issues. Teaching responsibility should be something that is done throughout a lifetime when it comes to alcohol and being a role model in a child’s life that is responsible about drinking can help aid it assure their safety when they are of age to drink. Alcohol is an adult drink and we as parents should do our part in making sure that our children are prepared for the use of alcohol. Through education, example and keeping the age at 21 we can protect our children from a drug that can cause devastation to their lives and other lives. I believe that lowering the drinking age is just too risky based on the facts of traffic accidents, the health issues and the irresponsible behavior it can create among anyone. Making it available at the age of 18 could create several problems for a young adult that can be avoided and the concerns of alcohol use at that age can be life threatening. I feel keeping the age at 21 to legally drink is the best idea for everyone including society in general. It could be a grave mistake literally to lower the age to 18 and allow these risks to become part of a young adult’s life.

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