Factors in Favor of and Against Lowering the Legal Drinking Age in the United States
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There are many different reasons, facts and opinions for and against the subject of whether or not the legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered. I have researched this topic and added my own personal views and thoughts on the issue. This is a controversy in which many people have different views. Six Reasons for why the legal drinking age should be lowered are: 1) The legal age to become responsible as an adult is eighteen. At eighteen you are given the right to vote, sign contracts, get married, buy cigarettes, serve on juries, be prosecuted as adults, legally adopt, and choose to serve and join the military. If they are given all of these rights and responsibilities I don’t see why they are not given the responsibility to get to make the decision to consume alcoholic beverages. 2) There have been statistics that show that other countries, such as Europe, have less or equal as many traffic fatalities or problems with drunk drivers and their drinking age is less than twenty one. 3) Traffic accidents and deaths will occur no matter what the legal drinking age is. 4) If the drinking age was lowered it would make drinking more of a social, normal, and casual thing.
It would give adults a chance to teach young adults how to drink responsible and in moderation. This could result in making alcohol less appealing to young adults and may cut back on acting rebellious and breaking the law. 5) Lowering the drinking age could be beneficial because if young adults were allowed to drink in areas such as restaurants and pubs under supervision it could decrease the activity of binge drinking at house parties or other unsupervised areas where they may be hidden from authority. When kids or young adults feel like they need to hide it usually ends up in unsafe areas and environments. 6) By lowering the drinking age it would not require teenagers to want to get fake identification or steal beer when they did not have someone old enough to buy it for them. With either of these things if caught could make punishment by jury so much worse. I think that the reason I chose number one is stronger than number two is because not all reasons have to do with drunk driving.
There are many more factors to be considered. “In almost every legal and cultural respect, you’re an adult at age eighteen. You are given many rights and responsibilities at this age. Treating alcohol differently helps turn it into a holy grail of adulthood.” (Cloud, 2008). If a person is allowed to make such big decisions and have all the rights and responsibility like given the choice to risk their life for their country why shouldn’t they also be given the right to drink alcohol? It will be up to the individual themselves to choose rather they are going to drink responsibly no matter what age they are. In Reason two they may have fewer fatalities in Europe but the rate of drinking in teenagers in the United States is lower than most European countries. I think that Reason six is the weakest because it may be harder for most teenagers to have the ability to obtain fake identification. From my person experiences they were not an easy thing for teenagers in my area to get a hold of unless they had older siblings or new someone. Although it does happen, the other reasons are more valid on why the drinking age should be lowered.
If teenagers choose to steal or commit other offenses to obtain alcohol that is looking at more serious crimes than just underage drinking. Six Reasons against lowering the drinking age in the United States are: 1) The brain is not fully developed until the age of twenty five. 2) Alcohol consumption by people under the age of twenty one has been known to be major health problems for the public. 3) Most eighteen year olds are still in high school. If given the opportunity to buy beer it could lead to more drop outs and buying friend’s beer that are also still in high school and still promote underage drinking and house parties. 4) The drinking age should not be lowered because most DWI arrests and drunken driving fatalities are when leaving a bar or a drinking establishment. A DWI is taken very seriously. They are very expensive and can haunt someone for the rest of their lives. It can make it harder to get jobs; you lose your license, pay large amounts of money in fines, and can affect many other areas as well.
Most young adults do not have the maturity to handle alcohol or drink responsibly. 5) If they develop a bad drinking problem at a young age it can carry the habit of binge drinking into adulthood. This could lead to poor values, financial problems, emotional issues and many more problems that are hard to get out of or cure. 6) Many rights in the United States begin at twenty one or older such as gambling at casinos in most states and purchasing handguns. I think that reason one is the strongest argument is because “From a psychological perspective, the human brain does not fully mature in terms of decision making until around 25 years of age.” ( myCentralJersey, 2008 )
The cerebral cortex which is the place of judgment, reasoning and logic in the brain is what will tell you if the action you are doing will have consequences. After age twenty five, decisions are often made in best interests rather than impulse. (myCentralJersey, 2008 ). It is stronger than reason three because if the brain does not fully develop before drinking it can cause major problems. Although reason three has good reasoning it relates to reason one which I feel is more relevant. I feel reason six is the weakest because although the points are valid that some things are restricted until the age of twenty one, many rights are still granted at the age eighteen. It could be argued that if the drinking age did become lower to drink, then the age to be able to do these things may be lowered as well.
ProCon.org. (2013, January 4). Drinking Age ProCon.org. Retrieved from http://drinkingage.procon.org/ Cloud, J. (2008, June 6). Should the Drinking age be Lowered?. Time U S. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1812397,00.html.
myCentralJersey.com. (2008, December 26). If the brain matures at 25, why is drinking age only 21? Retrieved from http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20081226/OPINION02/812260302/If-brain-matures-25-why-drinking-age-only-21-