Many people todayare calling for a lowering of the drinking age from 21 to 18 but doing socauses harmful ramifications especially in the United States. Keeping thedrinking age at 21 has helped save numerous lives over the years. Despitearguments imposed by those in favor of the change like the Forbidden Fruit,Teaching Safe Alcohol Practices, The Age of Initiation, and the point thatAge-21 laws are not effective, they are inaccurate when tested. Some will say that alcohol is likeas a “Forbidden Fruit” for the underage drinker and that lowering the drinkingage will help to diminish this behavior. This will, in fact, have the oppositeeffect.
Most students turn 18 during their junior or senior year of highschool. Since these students are still enrolled with their underage peers,freshmen and sophomores would have a much easier time acquiring alcohol fromthe older kids. If alcohol is granted to 18-year-olds, they will encouragedrinking among younger teens, much like how 21-year-olds model alcohol use in18-year-olds. This increased access will result in a higher likelihood thatteens and children will get into binge drinking and irresponsible alcohol use.College administrators are even calling for the drinking age to be lowered, butno evidence has been recorded that lowering the drinking age has led toresponsible drinking practices on school grounds.Manybelieve that, if given alcohol at a younger age, children and teens will findtheir own tolerances and will, therefore, be more inclined to drink responsiblywhen they go off to college.
However, no evidence indicates that this is thetruth. New Zealand is considering rolling back their minimum age of alcoholconsumption to 21 due to an increase in binge drinking and alcohol related caraccidents after 1999. No evidence has shown that an educational program hasbeen successful in instilling a group of students with safe alcohol practices.Gale: Opposing Viewpoints in Context had this to say about teaching safehabits: “Responsible consumption comes with maturity, and maturity largelycomes as certain protective mechanisms, such as marriage and a first job, beginto take hold.” Some believe that lowering the drinking age will facilitatebetter parental supervision of a child’s alcohol use, but better supervisiondoes not necessarily correlate with responsibility.
As a matter of fact, moresupervision would encourage the child to keep alcohol consumption hidden awayfrom the parents. Even so, parents should still be responsible for instillingresponsible drinking in their children, no matter what age they should beallowed to drink. Commercial bars have had a reputation of aggressivelymarketing to college students. The inclusion of fun events at bars like happyhours and two-for-ones further encourages the drinker to have more. After all,they are paying less for a drink, so they are more inclined to indulge in theseevents.Alot of people question the fairness of skewing the drinking age with otherresponsibilities granted to 18-year-olds. This is a misguided view on the ageof initiation, since people are not allowed to rent a car until they are 25 orrun for president at 35.
These numbers are determined by countless research, consideringthe benefits and risks of restricting these practices to certain ages. The consensusseems to be that drinking alcohol is a symbol of freedom, but people don’t considerhow alcohol consumption can affect a teen’s health. Age-21 laws keep youngpeople healthy. They reduce the risks that come from consuming alcohol whilethe brain is still developing as well as help to avoid alcohol dependence inadult life.Itis easy to say that children and teens are likely to drink anyways, so there isno point in keeping these laws the same. Well, when shown the facts, one cansee that it is working. Since Ronald Reagan passed a bill in 1975 that requiredstates to keep the minimum drinking age at 21, it has saved over 20,000 lives.
This also decreased fatalities caused by drunk driving by 63% since 1982. Eventhough teens are finding it easy to get their hands on alcohol, this does notmean that the law is not working. There needs to be stricter enforcement whenit comes to commercial alcohol providers. The fact that a reported 71% of 8thgraders said that it was quite easy to get ahold of alcohol demonstrates thatthere needs to be tighter regulation.
Individual states have reported their ownfindings on the lowering of the minimum age. Arizona found that there was anincrease in fatal accidents by 25% and a 35% increase in drinking and drivingdeaths. In Massachusetts, they saw an increase in fatal car crashes andproperty damage in the 18 to 20-year range. In the late ’60s and ’70s, womenwere more likely to commit suicide or homicide due to the lowered drinking age.A study showed that women who grew up in states that allowed drinking under 21saw a 12% higher likelihood that they would commit suicide, and a 15%likelihood that they would commit homicide as an adult. It is not exactly knownwhy this phenomenon happens, but it was found that women are more likely toattempt suicide while men were more likely to complete it. Having the drinkingage lowered might make completion happen more with women.
In homicides, 92% ofwomen are victimized by their peers. If lowering the drinking age causes higheralcohol consumption, this could contribute to alcohol-fueled violence in thehome. Even though these changes are still an ongoing debate, keeping thedrinking age at 21 is still highly supported by students. A poll run by theAssociated Press concluded that 68% of teens and adults wanted to keep thedrinking age where it is, while 16% and 15% of adults and teens support raisingit, respectively. Based on these facts, it is clearlya bad idea to allow 18-year-olds to drink.
Keeping the drinking age where it ishas saved countless lives since its establishment in 1975. A change in theselaws will only cause more alcohol related deaths in the United States. Thearguments in favor of changing the age are totally misguided once applied to areal-life scenario.