Is the drinking age appropriate?

Subject: Law
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 1915
Topics: Age of responsibility, Alcoholism, Health, Social Issues

The legal drinking age is described as the minimum age at which one is allowed to buy or drink alcohol. The prohibition that started in the year 1919 only banned people from the production of liquor drinks; however, people never stopped taking alcohol. In the year 1984, the congress passed a law that increased the legal drinking age to twenty-one (Carpenter and Dobkin 170). Unfortunately, the law has not prevented minors and youths from consuming alcohol. In the society today, many people have argued that the age needs to be lowered, but this argument has faced various oppositions from people with different views. There are countries where children start engaging in alcohol drinking at an early age, why not in the United States of America? If one can defend their nation from enemies at the age of 18, then they are old enough to start taking alcohol. Many people in the United States of America allow underage drinking provided they are at home and cannot destroy the properties of others (Perkins 95). Opponents argue that lowering the drinking age would demonstrate irresponsibility on the side of the government and parents, and this would encourage many children to start drinking. Besides, leaving the drinking age at twenty one would significantly reduce the number of people engaging in the drinking habit. However, I believe the age of drinking should be lowered to eighteen years because anyone who attains that age is an adult and should be in a position to take responsibility of all their actions. Furthermore, efforts by the government to stop those below 21 years from drinking alcohol are yet to be fruitful.

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Lowering the age of drinking can have numerous negative consequences on the teenagers in the community. Firstly, it is medically irresponsible to allow teens to start drinking alcohol. According to studies on the effects of alcohol, there are high chances of young people having brain damage because of too much alcohol drinking (Voas et al. 582). A different study showed that alcohol drinking is one of the contributors of illicit drug use. Another reason not to lower the drinking age will increase the cases of many people using drugs. The largest percentages of individuals that drink alcohol are between twenty-one and twenty-five years. Therefore lowering the age of drinking will record a high proportion of young people taking alcohol, which would probably be around 18-21 years. It would serve no good to have a society full of drunkards.

There is a general belief and agreement among adults that teenagers are not capable of handling alcohol consumption. Just like how the teenagers cannot be trusted with managing their financial affairs, they are still too young to know how to drink responsibly. The drinking age should remain at twenty one because this would reduce the general fatality rate that results from alcohol drinking-related activities. Lowering the age would endanger the lives of more young people (Wagenaar et al. 220). For example, increasing the number of individuals drinking irresponsibly will lead to reckless driving causing a rise in deaths to road accidents. Young children should not hurt their future through alcohol. In fact, they need to look at other ways of enjoying themselves apart from going to parties and consuming alcohol.

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Another argument against lowering the drinking age is that a significant segment of the population will engage in drinking alcohol in unsafe environments like bars. Bars and night clubs are filled with violent activities hence the young people can get hurt (Wagenaar et al. 220). At twenty-one, people tend to be mature. Eighteen-year-olds find the new experience of independence to be different and want to explore everything. These groups of teenagers are more susceptible to taking alcohol and end up engaging in sexual behaviors because they are not mature enough.  Allowing young children to take alcohol can make most of them get hurt when they go to places where there are numerous youths and adults. .

In spite of the several risks that come with a reduction in the drinking age, there are numerous arguments put forward to supports the reduction of drinking age. Lowering the drinking age to eighteen is appropriate because the teens are mature. When one is eighteen years of age, they are adults and can make decisions by themselves and know the consequences of their actions. There are countries whereby children are introduced to alcohol drinking at a tender age, then why not the United States. Allowing teenagers take alcohol will make them experience the effect of alcohol and know the consequences. Besides, children who are eighteen of age can buy tobacco products, drive, and vote. At eighteen years, one can get married and even get sentenced in jail; this is an adult and should be allowed to take alcohol because they can handle the consequences (Crost and Guerrero 120). If a person can commit a crime at that age and face the law, I do not see any issue with permitting them to use alcohol because they are not small kids. Take for instance, when a girl gives birth at the age of eighteen, the government recognizes her as a teenage mother and the child is not withdrawn from her, meaning that she is entrusted with the life of the child. Therefore, the same should apply to drinking alcohol; the teenagers need to be entrusted with their health (Crost and Guerrero 120).  There is no point of preventing them from taking alcohol when they are handled as adults in the community. Allowing them to start drinking at eighteen years does not necessarily mean that they will drink irresponsibly. For those eighteen-year-olds that have jobs, they deserve to enjoy themselves with their friends. For instance, the youths who are from a military mission defending the nations should be given the opportunity to enjoy with family members and friends.

Besides being mature people, the elderly in the community can help the teenagers take alcohol in a controlled environment. Parents should serve as the role models of all children in the community. However, some young adults drink irresponsibly. Unfortunately, young children copy such activities when they grow up. If adults do not teach children to drink responsibly, they will think that breaking the law is a good thing (Naimi et al. 72). Parents should teach children the importance of drinking responsibly. Besides, they should be told about the consequences of bad behaviors and may end up adapting the appropriate drinking habits. A different way of ensuring that children drink responsibly is allowing them to take alcohol in a controlled environment. Besides, young children would be brought closer to the community where they would feel appreciated. Such a move would limit secret drinking whereby they might pick poor behaviors. In case of excessive drinking, the community members will handle the situation like other matters that concern adults.

Another reason to support the lowering of drinking age is because of the failures by the government. Although the government has taken several strides in preventing kids under age 21 from buying alcohol in public places, it has not succeeded in stopping alcohol intake among underage kids. The concern is that there are few measures to prevent older people from selling alcohol to young children (Hingson et al. 25). Prohibition in the past was designed to prevent people from buying, drinking, and transportation of alcohol. Today, the policies of the government on drinking state that people need to be at least twenty one years so that they can purchase alcohol (Hingson et al. 25). However, the government has failed to stop young children from buying alcohol through friends and older siblings. Also, business corporations that deal with alcohol selling need profits and most of them allow young people buy alcoholic drinks. For example, most teenagers go to clubs and bars and consume alcohol. It is, therefore, important for the government to consider lowering the age of alcohol drinking because either way, the children will buy and drink alcohol. Therefore, it would be wise if it looked for a different way to address the situation.

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Children can get alcohol despite the measures put by the government. Most teenagers in high school believe that the easiest task is finding a twenty-one year old to help them purchase alcoholic drinks. The kids can only ask their neighbors to buy the alcohol for them. Children are smart and can always find ways to get what they need. The older siblings would also not miss a chance to help them purchase drugs (Hingson et al. 25). The older college students make, the younger peers feel like that they are missing something important. Hence they would also want them to have the feeling. All these activities take place behind the backs of their parents, which might be risky to them. Therefore, lowering the drinking age can minimize some of the impacts of alcohol while hiding from their parents.

My stand is that the drinking age should be reduced to eighteen. First, the laws of the government are not enforced effectively and those under 21 years still take alcohol. Secondly, the kids are old enough to take responsibility for their actions. There is no need to deny them one thing; alcohol consumption. It is the responsibility of the older people to change their behavior by drinking responsibly so that the children would admire them. The internet is the source of mixed emotions among children (Norberg et al. 2183). For instance; they find quotes that state every person in the society will drink at some point in their lives. The community should guide them by providing them with a controlled environment for taking alcohol.  No matter the age of a person, the effects of alcohol are still the same. For example, a twenty-one year’s old liver will be damaged the same way as an eighteen old college student when they drink irresponsibly. The best thing is to guide the children on how to be responsible and drink responsibly.

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  1. Carpenter, Christopher, and Carlos Dobkin. “The Effect Of Alcohol Consumption On Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence From The Minimum Drinking Age.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, vol. 1, no. 1, 2009, pp. 164-182.
  2. Crost, Benjamin, and Santiago Guerrero. “The Effect Of Alcohol Availability On Marijuana Use: Evidence From The Minimum Legal Drinking Age.” Journal Of Health Economics, vol. 31, no. 1, 2012, pp. 112-121.
  3. Hingson, Ralph et al. “Age Of First Intoxication, Heavy Drinking, Driving After Drinking And Risk Of Unintentional Injury Among U.S. College Students..” Journal Of Studies On Alcohol, vol. 64, no. 1, 2003, pp. 23-31.
  4. Naimi, Timothy S. et al. “Binge Drinking Among US Adults.” JAMA, vol. 289, no. 1, 2003, American Medical Association (AMA).
  5. Norberg, Karen E. et al. “Long-Term Effects Of Minimum Drinking Age Laws On Past-Year Alcohol And Drug Use Disorders.” Alcoholism: Clinical And Experimental Research, vol. 33, no. 12, 2009, pp. 2180-2190.
  6. Perkins, H Wesley. “Surveying The Damage: A Review Of Research On Consequences Of Alcohol Misuse In College Populations..” Journal Of Studies On Alcohol, Supplement, no. s14, 2002, pp. 91-100.
  7. Voas, Robert B. et al. “Assessing The Effectiveness Of Minimum Legal Drinking Age And Zero Tolerance Laws In The United States.” Accident Analysis & Prevention, vol. 35, no. 4, 2003, pp. 579-587.
  8. Wagenaar, Alexander C, and Traci L Toomey. “Effects Of Minimum Drinking Age Laws: Review And Analyses Of The Literature From 1960 To 2000..” Journal Of Studies On Alcohol, Supplement, no. s14, 2002, pp. 206-225.
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