Lowering the drinking age

Arguments abound as to what the drinking age for young adults should be with many different aspects playing an important role in discussion about the topic. Evidently there are arguments that support both lowering the drinking age and the motion not to but does arguing the case really make a difference? Drinking is not simply a habit, nor is it just an experimental phase. It can be detrimental to physical, mental and emotional growth. The other side to the argument is that teenagers drink on the quiet anyway, meaning that lowering the drinking age makes no difference.

Aspects to consider are drunken driving cases; other accidents involving alcohol and possible dependencies. However, this paper takes an in depth look at who the motion to lower the drinking age will affect, what types of affect can be expected and how it will affect those for whom the decision is made. One argument by legislators is that men and women who are old enough to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, should have the choice to drink or not to (Keen, 2008). This argument has a point, yet the counter-argument is that perhaps they are not even old and mature enough to make the choice to die in battle.

This would mean that those who are able to enlist in the army would be able to buy and legally consume alcohol at the age of 18. It also means that they would be able to buy drinks in bars and restaurants but not at liquor stores (Keen, 2008). This makes very little sense as there is little difference between buying alcohol in a bar or from a liquor store. The age group that will evidently be affected are those who have only just finished school; those who are possibly in their first year of college.

These individuals have not experienced the world as we know it, nor are they mature enough to decide things such as when to drive after intoxication. The drive to experience the activity of drinking would be too great to encourage logical and ethical thinking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that setting the drinking age as high as 21 has reduced road fatalities in the age group of 18-20 by 13 % (Keen, 2008). This is one important aspect to consider because while having a drinking age lowered.

While we cannot assume that all young adults will be encouraged to drink or that the drinking age will cause an explosion of accidental deaths, what we can say is that it would make it easier for them to access it. Already, the age group of 18 and upwards has its problems with alcohol abuse even though it is not legal. One incident clarifies the dangers of underage drinking particularly. We have ascertained the age group the new motion will affect but one case in 2004 elucidates two important aspects of drinking in teenagers.

Gordie Bailey Jr had been drinking in an attempt to impress certain frat house members. He drank until he passed out, but never woke up (Roan, 2008). Students of course petition to lower the drinking age, because it would serve their need to be seen as adults. However, the above example is proof of the problem, they are unable to make adult decisions. Underage drinking in college institutions are also responsible for criminal activity, bad sexual choices and becoming dependent at a young age.

A study conduced by the 2006 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, revealed that drinking before the from the age of about 14 leads to a 47% chance of them developing a lifetime dependency. This is compared to only 9% in those who begin drinking at the age of 21 (Roan, 2008). Lifetime dependency is a serious possible problem that has to be addressed and one which the youth do not recognize. WE have determined the age group the legislature will affect and the possible affects, but how will they react?

Supporters of the drinking age being 21 say that the brain continues to develop until the age of 21 years (Balko, 2007). Although this is contested, other physiological facts also apply. The Harvard School of Public Health 2002 report found that a startling 31 % of students meet the clinical criteria for lifetime alcohol dependency (alcoholism) (Harvard School of Public Health, 2002). This seems to have made little difference to how the youth themselves take the idea of lowering the drinking age.

While parents are naturally concerned with inhibiting the use of alcohol for as long as possible, college students petition to have it lowered. What is necessary here to understand is that teenagers are historically under the impression that they are to a degree, invincible. They are unaware of the physical changes that the brain undergoes as a teenager. These changes include the fact that the brain grows during the teenage years, affecting the ability to discern certain imperative ethical choices (JJC, 2004: 2).

After this period, around the age of 18, the brain has to discard the excess grey matter in order to balance the brain functions (JJC, 2004: 2). It is during this vital and critical period that drug and alcohol dependency is possible. If this evidence was visible to those who it affects, there might possibly be a different response to the use of alcohol. Since these facts are not available or taken seriously by the youth, we can expect an explosion of alcohol abuse and use amongst the youth. With this, we will also expect to see an increase in road accidents and alcohol poisoning.

This is simply because it will be a novelty to the youth and more readily available. As for the fact that if men and women are allowed to go to war at the age of 18, this makes it worse that they are concurrently able to drink. The way they deal with the sights and sounds of war will be complicated by the use of alcohol. The traumatic events of fighting and of seeing brutal death may contribute to increased use of alcohol in young people who lack life-skills and turn to the bottle to deal with their trauma.

WE have discussed who the legislature to lowering the drinking age will affect, what the affects could be and what reactions could occur for those within the bracket the change will affect. We see that the youth ages 18 and upwards would be affected; the affects would include increased dependencies, road accident increases and bad sexual choices and we also see that the reaction to the legislature would also be rather biased. The example of the uninformed behavior Gordie Bailey reveals that the rather silly uses of alcohol show a lack of maturity to make the right choices in terms of alcohol use.

While keeping the age limit of 21 will not stop the youth abusing it at a younger age, what we do not need is to encourage it even further. Sources: Balko, Radley. (12 April 2007). Back to 18? Reason Magazine. http://www. reason. com/news/show/119618. html JJC- Juvenile Justice Center. (January 2004). Adolescence, Brain Development and Legal Culpability. American Bar Association. http://www. abanet. org/crimjust/juvjus/Adolescence. pdf John R. Knight, M. D. , Henry Wechsler, Ph. D. , Meichun Kuo, Sc. D. , Mark Seibring B. S. , Elissa R. Weitzman, Sc. D. , and Marc A.

Schuckit, M. D. (May 2002). “Alcohol Abuse and Dependence among U. S. College Students”. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 63:3 263-270, (Harvard School of Public Health) http://www. hsph. harvard. edu/cas/Documents/dependence_0602-pressRelease/ Keen, Judy. (2008). States weigh lowering drinking age. USA Today. http://www. usatoday. com/news/nation/2008-03-20-drinkingage_N. htm Roan, Shari. (1 September 2008). A lower legal drinking age? Health experts, college presidents debate. Los Angeles Times. http://www. latimes. com/features/health/la-he-drinking1-2008sep01,0,3920805. story