Legal Drinking Age
In the United States, the legal drinking age for all fifty states and the District of Columbia is twenty-one. The drinking age is twenty-one because the government decided this is when a person becomes legally responsible to handle the repercussions of consuming alcohol. The U.S. has the highest legal drinking age in the world. Only four countries in the world have a legal drinking age over eighteen, making the US an exception rather than the rule. Some people may argue that the government should lower the drinking age since you legally become an adult at age eighteen, but I completely understand this law and am totally for it. Underage drinking has become an epidemic that has spread all over the world, but more so in the United States than any other country. This is disturbing because the brain is not fully developed until a person is around twenty-two years of age. Therefore, it should be harder for minors to obtain alcohol, and the legal drinking age should not be lowered. What is alcohol, and where did it come from? Alcohol is a natural substance formed by the reaction of fermenting sugar with yeast. The production of alcohol started about 10,000 years ago. It all started around the Black and Caspian Seas with wine, and slowly made its way around the surrounding areas. Mesopotamia and Egypt were thriving with wine productions by 3,000 B.C. (Narconon). A thousand years later, a Roman God, Dionysus, started appearing in the literature, and was the god of the grape harvest. Then, about 700 years after that, in addition to wine, India started manufacturing beer. This new production spread rapidly, and the Hebrews adopted the new beverage for many different new medicines. After that, the Jews began to use wine and beer in sacred rituals and ceremonies. Although some cultures accepted alcohol, others rejected it completely. Because these alcoholic beverages were spreading so quickly, they raised curiosity. A medical school in Italy began doing experiments, and finally developed something called distillation- a purer, stronger alcohol (Narconon). From Italy, these new drinks spread to England and Scotland, and eventually found their way over to America. Drunkenness became a huge problem in America, so the government passed the Prohibition Act of 1920. Originally, the eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the manufacture, sale, transport, import, or export of all alcoholic beverages. Upon its ratification by the states, Congress voted its approval in 1919. Thus the law was passed, and became known as the National Prohibition Act of 1920 (American Medical Association). The eighteenth amendment was repealed in 1933, which made the Prohibition Act null and unenforceable. After prohibition, most states restricted the minimum legal drinking age to twenty-one. Between 1970 and 1975, twenty-nine states lowered the minimum legal drinking age to eighteen, nineteen, or twenty. These changes were made when other activities, such as voting, were lowered. In between September 1976 and January 1983, the minimum legal drinking age for every state was set at the age of twenty-one. Although this is the law in our country, it is also incredibly easy for minors to obtain alcohol. As always, there are different ways to work around the law. These are issues that must be addressed. Some of these ways include a fake I.D., a minor giving someone money to go buy it for them, going somewhere that will sell to minors, or even stealing it from their parents liquor cabinet. A fake I.D is fairly cheap and also easy to get if you know the right people. For the most part, if you were a minor trying to get alcohol you could go up to any random person, and eight times out of ten that person would go buy it for you. There are also places minors could go to buy it themselves like little gas stations around the lower socioeconomic societies. The reason that these gas stations will sell to minors is because it increases...
Cited: Vo, L.T. “What American Spends on Booze.” www.npr.org. National Public Radio. 2013. Web. 4 May 2013.
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