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Eighteen may be the age of adulthood or independence but it is not the age of reason, responsibility, maturity, or discernment. An adult under the age of 21 should not be able to legally consume alcohol, nor should they be able to vote, enlist in the military, or enter into legal contracts such as marriage. Studies show these developing minds are just not ready to take on such levels of responsibility.
Unfortunately, the world is not contained in four walls and the emotions felt on graduation day are not the same ones you feel weeks later when phone of parent rings at 2:00 in the morning and the voice on the other end says “I am sorry but I need you to identify a body.” After a night of celebration and drinking new high school graduate has taken one too many sips of alcohol and died from alcohol poisoning or chose to drive home drunk and ran a stop sign in the process (Fleming, p. 1), killing himself and others, or fell into a depressed drunken state and committed suicide.
People who argue the legal drinking age should be lowered from 21 years of age to 18 years of age believe this is the age of maturity since it is the age that U.S. citizens have the right to vote. Although 18 years are considered the age of adulthood, it should not automatically establish maturity or responsibility. Some also believe the legal drinking age should be lowered to the age of 18 because 18 year olds are able to get married and be held liable for financial matters which are legally binding contracts. At 18 one is considered an adult in the United States; however the law cannot determine one’s maturity level or readiness to deal with alcohol and legal issues.
More than 50 million people have alcohol problems in the USA (Klein, 149-169). Alcohol is related to 1000,000 deaths per year. Teenagers are probably most associated with alcohol. However, the drinking age should be kept at 21 for many reasons.
But not only the brain and the motor functions are impaired. The heart, which is one of the most important organs in our body, can also be attacked by the alcohol. Drinking causes a change in the heart vessels. In the long run it can lead to heart attacks and heart failures. Alcohol can also become dangerous for women who are pregnant. It might affect the Child’s health. A newborn can face seeing and hearing problems and more damaging effects. The consequence of the alcohol is a baby for his whole life under medication.
The second reason why we should prevent an early use of alcohol is the physical effect. Alcohol is a depressant. It can lead to behavior problems such as unprotected sex, violence, and drunken driving (Klein, 149-169). More than 70% of all households that consume alcohol are involved in child abuse cases. 86% are the cases of homicides and more than 40% car accidents happen per year due to the influence of alcohol (Fleming, p. 16-24). Drinkers have problems setting goals and are unable to handle responsibility. It could influence schoolwork and other activities outside the school. They can't carry the responsibility and schoolwork can result in bad grades and bad scholarship.
One good reason to keep the drinking age at 21 is the physical effect that appears by the use of alcohol. It can be fatal if it's consumed in large amounts. But even in small amounts of alcohol can have damaging effects on the brain, liver, heart, stomach, and the kidney. Drinkers have to fight with confusion and memory loss. Even memorizing a name can become a big problem. In addition to the confusion and the memory loss the motor functions of the body can be damaged. That leads to coordination problems and can result in driving accidents, falls, and other injuries (Fleming, p. 16-24).
The last reason why drinking should be kept at 21 is the social issue. Drinkers are separating themselves from the society. They hardly speak to anyone and stay out of conversations. They have mostly no friends and no support from their family. Alcoholics live most of the time alone and have no contact to the outside world. Besides going to work they only go out when they need to take care of their groceries. However, most drinkers deny that they depend on alcohol and look for other excuses to blame on why they are separating themselves. Most likely, young drinkers will avoid any contact to the parents and their friends. That can result in overdose of alcohol and an early death.
We have to prevent our children from drinking alcohol and the best way we can do it is to keep the drinking age at 21, because in reaching age of 21 they have faced some practical aspects of life independently. Facing reality of life independently make a person mature. It can get out of control and we have to prevent more car accidents and alcohol related deaths in total. Teens cannot fully understand the situation that occurs by consuming alcohol. We can reduce this risk by just keeping the drinking age at 21. However, we have to get more involved in the control over the buying of alcohol. It is still not enough done to make it more difficult to buy alcohol.
Another view, maybe the most collective view, is that legal drinking age of twenty-one should not change. Alcohol has proven to cause more death than any other abused substance. Underage drinking kills six times more teens than all other illicit drugs combined. The amount of fatalities caused from alcohol decreased a total of 11% following the new drinking age law that rose the age from eighteen to twenty-one (Fleming, p. 16-24). This goes to show the more irresponsible teens who do not know any better at their young age abuse the substance. Studies have shown alcohol can cause irreversible brain damage to an adolescent drinker. Also, the earlier a youth begins to drink, the more likely those youths will become alcoholics as an adult. People have proven to drink less as they age. If alcohol prevention would stiffen up, people will lose interest as they age. As teenagers mature into adults, their responsibilities are greater. Most realize this and cut down on the amount of alcohol they consume as they age.
All viewpoints can back their own facts. In one aspect, teenagers noticeably prove that drinking is a way to rebel against society and alcohol prevention programs are increasing. In another aspect, the amount of alcohol related deaths has decreased immensely since the legal age of drinking rose from 18 to 21, and also the irresponsible teens are who abuse the substance. One bad apple ruined the whole bunch, so to say (Klein, 149-169). The accumulation of teens recklessly abusing the substance caused the rise of the drinking age. Another way to view this topic of the lawful drinking age is people drink less as the age, or matures. If the age would raise from 21 this could possibly back the theory that people drink less as they age. This would lower the death rates caused by alcohol even more and allow teens time to mature and be responsible enough to consume alcohol. Each is strongly supported with legit facts. We as Americans can simply ask ourselves one question, should legal drinking age be lowered?
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