December 10, 2014
Should The Legal Drinking Age Be 18?
The minimum legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Many have suggested lowering the drinking age to 18. I do not think the legal drinking age should be lowered because of the following reasons. Lowering the drinking age to 18 would have a negative impact on the lives of the youth of the United States. Making it legal for 18 year-olds to buy alcohol would increase the number of teens who drink. It would make it easier for all of the high school students to gain access to alcohol. Drinking at a young age also affects your health more than it would a mature 21 year-olds. Allowing 18 year-olds to drink may increase the number of alcohol related traffic accidents. Most of the American population is against lowering the drinking age.
I believe that lowering the drinking age would increase the number of teens who drink. According to the annual survey of students performed by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, “…26 percent of 8th graders, 40 percent of 10th graders, and 51 percent of 12th graders reported drinking alcohol in the past month.” Lowering the drinking age would make it easier for these students to get alcohol and it would likely raise these percentages. Most high school seniors are 18 years old, if they can get alcohol for themselves they would be very likely to pass it on to their underage friends. According to Henry Wechsler, in Europe where the legal drinking age is lower, the rate of teens ages 15-16 is more than double the rate of teens in the United States. If we make the drinking age lower it will just make it easier for teens to abuse alcohol, which is something nobody wants.
If the United States changes the legal drinking age to 18, I think that it would cause a rise in alcohol related accidents. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse says, “Of the nearly 8,000 drivers ages 15-20 involved in fatal crashes in 1995, 20 percent had blood alcohol concentrations above zero.” An 18 year old has at most 2 years of driving experience and are already at higher risk to be in an accident, adding alcohol into the mixture can be in many cases, deadly. In the 1970s many states lowered the drinking age for their state. The lowering of the drinking age led to a great increase in alcohol related fatal crashes and many states quickly raised the age back to 21. The national highway and traffic safety administration believe that the current drinking age of 21 has reduced the number of fatal crashes by 11 percent. Drew K. Saylor states that since the 1984 Uniform Drinking Age Act there has been a, “dramatic decrease in underage alcohol-related traffic injuries and fatalities in the United States.” Lowering the drinking age is proven to cause more accidents. Making the legal drinking age 18 would be a danger to the public.
Many Americans, including me, oppose lowering the drinking age. I think that they are justified in doing so. According to Jeffrey Jones, 25 percent of the population are for lowering the legal drinking age and 74 percent are against lowering the drinking age. The majority of the percent of people who are in favor of lowering the drinking age are the ones who are drinkers themselves. Jeffrey Jones also tells us that the younger people are just as against lowering the drinking age as the older population. The teens who are for lowering the drinking age are usually drinkers already. Jeffrey Jones states that, “Twenty-nine percent of those who drink alcohol at least on occasion favor lowering the drinking age compared with 18% who never drink.” The percentage is even higher among those who are regular drinkers. Just because some teens already do it doesn’t mean we should make it legal. If more of the younger people are drinking there will be more crime and more accidents that will affect everyone, not just the younger population.
In my opinion the legal drinking age of 21 helps protect teens...
Cited: 25 Nov. 2014
Jones, Jeffrey M
(2014): 2. Business Source Premiere. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
Saylor, Drew K. “Heavy Drinking on College Campuses: No Reason to Change Minimum Legal
Drinking Age Of 21.” Journal Of American College Health 59.4 (2011): 330-333
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American Journal Of Public Health 100.6 (2010): 986-992. Business Source Premiere.
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