Sunday, May 22, 2011

Changing the Legal Drinking Age

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In 184 the federal government passed the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act, there has been a lot of controversy as to whether the government has a right to create such legislation. (Berg 1) This law was passed to encourage each state to change their legal drinking age to twenty-one years of age. Congress believed that if they raised the minimum drinking age that it would save a significant number of lives. They figured that a twenty- one-year-old person was more mature than the average eighteen year-old. That, in my opinion, was a huge mistake. Just because a person lives to be twenty-one does not determine how mature they are. There are many teenagers in the world that are considerably more mature than the average twenty-one year-old. The legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered from twenty-one to eighteen years of age.

Setting the legal age to purchase and consume alcohol is unrealistic in today?s way of life. Prohibiting the sale of alcohol to people under the age of twenty-one may cause habits such as binge drinking and alcohol abuse. It just causes a rebellion. Keeping the age at twenty-one makes it seem as if an eighteen year-old is not a real adult. Drinking is then viewed as a glamorous activity since it is only for adults. Then, in rebellion, those who are underage will just find a way around it. For example, many have fake identification cards, steal alcohol from their parents? liquor cabinets, or even put another person in jeopardy by asking someone whom is twenty-one to illegally purchase the alcohol for the underage drinkers. This kind of deceitful attitude does not encourage responsible drinking habits. In addition, this gives young individuals the urge to drink even more when they get older so that they could make up for their so ?called lost time, hence causing alcoholism. An examination conducted at East Carolina University, students indicated, ?it might be easier to hide a little pot in my room than a six pack of beer?. (Hanson ) This is the attitude that congress is teaching today?s young people to have.

?Children in European countries such as France, Spain, and Portugal are taught appropriate drinking behavior because no drinking taboo exists in their society. In these countries, despite higher rates of alcohol consumption, there are lower incidences of alcohol abuse?. (Berg 1) As a matter of a fact the United States has the highest legal drinking age in the world, many countries have no minimum drinking age. (?Legal Drinking??1) The reason these countries policies on drinking work so well is because at an early age they start educating the young people which I think is something the United States should consider.

The determination of legality in drinking should not be age, but rather maturity and ability to handle responsibility. The twenty-one restrictions seem out of date in today?s society. Many parents of today?s teenagers were legally allowed to drink at the age eighteen. Today?s teenagers face more responsibility and are treated much differently from the way their parents were treated. If twenty-one is considered so mature, then why are eighteen year-olds considered adults? At the age of eighteen, an individual can vote, serve on a jury, stay out without a curfew, leave home, drive, smoke, buy weapons, engage in financial contracts, start a family, be sent to adult prison, join the military, and die for this country. (Park ) I f an eighteen year-old can be held to so many responsibilities, and then it seems unfair to say that they are not old enough to drink. At eighteen, a person can even have a closed container of alcohol in their possession, but they cannot drink it. That is absurd! ?An examination of East Carolina University students? intentions regarding their behavior following passage of the twenty-one year-old drinking law revealed that only six percent intended to stop drinking, seventy percent planned to change their drinking location, twenty-one percent expected to use false or borrowed identification to obtain alcohol, and twenty-two percent just intended to do other drugs?. (Hanson ) The other drugs these students are doing probably have worse side effects than alcohol.

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It has been said that with the law remaining at twenty-one it helps to prevent needless deaths from driving under the influence. As numerous studies have shown, one of the biggest killers of young teenagers is drunk driving. (Neveau 1) This is evidence to me that is only proof that the twenty-one year-old drinking laws are not working. I feel by that by lowering the drinking age to eighteen these young people can sit down in a controlled environment like a pub or bar and legally consume alcohol without having to drive around and hide from people, putting other person?s lives in jeopardy. It has also been said that, the earlier a person begins using alcohol, the greater the risk of current and adult drug use. (?Booze News? ) If in the educational system young people were taught more on the effects of what drugs and alcohol could do to a person?s development maybe they would stop using as many drugs.

In conclusion, the legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered from twenty-one to eighteen years of age. People have provided congress with sufficient evidence on why the legal drinking age should be lowered; yet they refuse to take into consideration that they should speak for the people instead of their selves. I for one feel being able to drink should be based on the person?s level of maturity instead of their age. I for one feel that at the age of eighteen I was responsible enough to consume alcohol but still I was refused the chance to. It is upsetting to know that if I were married at the age of twenty I could not legally toast with champagne at the reception.

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