Just a Drink?

The following article by Gabrielle Glaser argues about lowering the legal drinking age back down to 18 years old. She makes numerous valid points on why this would be a great idea such as underage drinking is very popular must it has been driven underground. This can be very dangerous for the unexperienced drinker and the other behavior that goes along with drinking. She states that instead of having this type of environment, we should embrace younger drinkers to start teaching and mentoring their drinking. Glaser even compares todays underage drinking to that of the prohibition on which individuals would drink as much as they could before authorities would show up. She of course made the argument of 18 years old are allowed to vote, fight in war, and get married. These are logical points that could be beneficial for our society and I agree that a change should be made, but I believe that instead of lowering the legal drinking age, we should examine in raising the drinking age. (http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/02/10/you-must-be-21-to-drink/return-the-drinking-age-to-18-and-enforce-it)

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is a passionate organization that fights against drunk drivers and keeping the legal drinking age now. Their website reports on the history of the legal drinking age. President Reagan raised the legal drinking age to 21 in 1984. If the states want to receive funding for their highways, they would have to abide by the new rule.  The National Traffic Highway Administration estimates that this law save 900 lives per year and to date over 25,000 lives. Underage drinking has also lowered among high school students. MADD.org also talks about how lowering the drinking age was not effective. Teens get drunk twice as fast adults, but the biggest issue is that teens don’t know when to stop drinking. A big argument is the lowering the drinking age would make drinking less appealing to the teenagers and use Europe as an example of an effective system. This is a common myth and false. Europe has more binge drinking, underage drinking, as well as injuries, rape, and school problems due related to alcohol.  (http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/why21/brains.html)

The article by ABC News questions if the current drinking age is right. The article reports that a recent study by the Center of Disease Control found that half of high school students between the ages of 12-16 have consumed alcohol. According a survey by Gallup, 54% of teenagers nationwide have no problem getting alcohol.  I believe it’s become so easy for high school students to get alcohol because they become friends with older students in school and when they turn 21, its becomes a gateway for the minors. There is not much of an age difference there, if we were to raise the legal drinking age, it would become much more difficult for a 16 year old kid to know a 25 year old adults that is willing to purchase alcohol for them.  (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93192&page=2)

Now that we examine why lowering the drinking age is more harmful than good and that the current drinking age is also damaging to the youth, we need to look at raising the legal drinking age to 25 years old. The human brain develops until we reach the age of 25. The prefrontal cortex is part of the brain that is still developing. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for working memory, motor skills, impulse control, rule learning, and decision making. I think we can all agree that negative effects to any of these areas is very alarming and should be avoided at all costs. The younger a person starts to drink the more at risk they are for developing alcohol related problems in the future. These risks include a great chance of alcoholism to include alcoholism starting at younger age. Alcoholism leads to greater risk liver disease, anemia, cancer, heart disease, dementia, depression, seizures, and nerve damage. We can help lower the risk of alcoholism by controlling the drinking age. (http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/12-health-risks-of-chronic-heavy-drinking)

Another argument for lowering the drinking age is that we send 18 year old to fight in wars, if they are able to do this, why can’t they have a beer? I disagree with this; I am a Iraq War veteran that deployed when I was 19 years old.  I still believe that we should take a look at the legal drinking age. We are not trying to limit a person fun by raising it, we are trying to ensure that our children are going to first live safe and healthy lives to include the proper development of their brain.

Additional Resources

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh284/213-221.htm

http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jul2006/niaaa-03.htm

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