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Throughout many years there has been a debate on whether the US should lower the drinking age to 18 or have it remain it at 21. In the 1980’s the drinking age was raised to 21 to decrease the number of fatalities occurring and to decrease the number of minors drinking. But this has not stopped minors from drinking. Another huge factor with this was President Reagan. He has issued a requirement for all states to raise the drinking age, and if they did not raise it, they would risk losing highway funding from the government. In the US, when you turn 18 you are considered an adult. You are allowed to get married, vote, adopt children, drive, and even risk their lives by serving in the U.S. military. However, they are not even allowed a glass of Champagne for a New Years Party. They are “adults” up to the point of drinking alcohol. This has been one of the most ongoing topics because it has many controversial views. It is proven that decreasing the drinking age to 19 would diminish the mishandle situations of alcohol among those younger than 21. The U.S. has one the strictest under age drinking laws within the world. Yet has the most drinking-related issues among its young people. What’s more, is that there seems to be a relation between these two aspects. One of the most viewed arguments is it could reduce or even eliminate unsafe drinking activities. One of the most dangerous times for drinking in the United States is between the age of 18 – 20. At the age of 18, people gain all of their legal adult rights, except the right to drink. By allowing even a supervised drinking ability for those in this age bracket, it could reduce or eliminate risky drinking behaviors that can lead to bad decisions.
There are fewer drunk driving accidents in countries with lower drinking ages. A prime example as to why we should lower the drinking age is within other countries. In many countries around the world, the legal drinking age is already 18. In these countries, they have seen a greater reduction of drunk driving accidents than the United States, where the legal age is 21. Lowering the drinking age would eliminate thrill drinking. In the critical 18 – 20 age bracket, there are often binge drinking episodes simply because it is a thrill to break the law. We can eliminate the thrill by lowering the drinking age and the adrenaline will be gone as well, encouraging normal alcohol consumption in the critical age bracket. The U. S. has the highest national minimum legal drinking age in the entire world. No country has a higher one. Raising the drinking age to 21 was a radical social experiment both cross-culturally and historically.Most other countries have a minimum drinking age of 18 and they rarely enforce it vigorously. Except in Islamic countries, most of the world has a much more relaxed attitude toward drinking by young people. Consequently, they suffer fewer alcohol-related problems among their youth. The U.S. has the strictest youth drinking laws in the Western world. Internationally speaking, its underage alcohol drinking laws are radical.
Most adults age 18, 19 and 20 consume alcoholic beverages. Indeed, by raising the drinking age we’ve made consumption a sign of “real adulthood.” Thus, our laws have made drinking even more attractive. And drinking in excess has become a standard way of rebelling against what they consider an unjust and immoral law.In my other research I conducted that:“They say your brain is not fully developed until you are 25. Therefore teens should not drink alcoholic beverages because their central nervous system is still developing, his neural pathways are more susceptible and, the use of alcohol can abuse of several functions. The use of alcohol in teenagers can bring about changes and emotional, cognitive, social and physiological problems. In addition to various problems, teens have characteristics that make alcohol a more dangerous substance than for most adults:
• Claiming attitude – this feature can lead teenagers to break rules, not only to drink alcohol but to go too far and drink too much.
• The search for independence, the separation of parents are also characteristics that can cause teenagers to consume alcohol as a form of belonging to the adult world, or something like: “I am not a child, I grew up, I’m an adult, I can do adult things now, like drinking for example.
“• The evolution of sexuality and the search for partners may also favor the use of alcohol as a substance that helps the teen to overcome the shyness of the first attempts at sexual approximation.
• Compared to adults, teens get drunk much faster because they have a lower body mass, less alcohol tolerance, and inexperience with their effects, which makes them unable to control the amount, making it harder to control the amount consumed.
• Finally, adolescents are generally very vulnerable to peer pressure, a feature that makes it difficult to refuse invitations to drink.”But after a thorough research on the sceince behind underaged drinking I found a report made by the State University of New York that stated, “Today, scientific evidence supports a simple fact. The early introduction of drinking is the safest way to reduce juvenile alcohol abuse. Young people in France, Spain, and Argentina rarely abuse alcohol. They learn how to drink within the family, which sees drinking in moderation as natural and normal. Youth in these societies rarely embarrass themselves or their families by abusing alcohol. In Portugal and New Zealand there are no minimum drinking age requirements. In many countries young people of sixteen years may consume in restaurants when with parents or another adult. Australia and South Africa have an 18-year minimum. Researchers have pointed out that minimum drinking age laws in the U.S. are a post-Prohibition phenomenon. Prior to the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition), states rarely prohibiting minors from drinking.
Informal controls regulated adolescent drinking. The family, community, peers, and self-restraint exerted controls. The only successful drinking controls over the centuries have been social and cultural constraints. Despite the dissolution of the nuclear family, the vast majority of young people in America are upright citizens. The twisted logic of youthful minimum drinking age laws denies them that basic respect.”There was a nationwide study of over 6,200 teenagers in 242 communities across the U.S. Teenagers who drank with their parents were less likely to have either consumed alcohol elsewhere or abused it. Drinking alcohol with parents can possibly teach them more responsible drinking habits. It can also eliminate some of the “thrill” or “excitement” of drinking. Dr. Kristie Long Fole, who is a senior researcher at the School of Medicine at Wake Forest University describes drinking with parents as a “protective” behavior.
Dr. Foley came to a conclusion that “We should expect this finding. Some societies and cultural groups have very high rates of drinking but very low rates of alcohol-related problems. They have certain common keys to success. One protective key is that young people learn about moderate drinking from their parents. And they do so from an early age.These successful groups teach young people both how to drink and how not to drink. In addition, they avoid stigmatizing alcohol and strictly prohibit its abuse by anyone.We can reduce youthful alcohol abuse by following the example of those groups. But to do so we need to stop living in a fantasy world of wishful thinking and unrealistic policies. In the words of Joshua Levine, we need to “get real with teenage drinking.
”In conclusion, by lowering the drinking age it allows 18 to 20 year-olds to drink alcohol in regulated environments with supervision and would decrease unsafe drinking activity, 18 is the age of adulthood in the United States and adults should have the right to make their own decisions about alcohol consumption. We can also conclude that traffic accidents and fatalities are most common among newly-legal drinkers, regardless of the minimum legal drinking age. There are fewer drunk driving traffic accidents and fatalities in many countries with minimum legal drinking age. of 18. The decrease in drunk driving fatalities as a percentage of total traffic fatalities in the United States does not correlate to the minimum legal drinking age. And finally by lowering minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18 it would diminish the thrill of breaking the law to get a drink. Bottoms up!
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