Lowering The Drinking Age: Making Youths Into Adults

1032 words - 4 pages

One of the largest questions still up for debate is whether to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18. We know that this issue is very mundane to you if you’re from the 70’s and 80’s. We can also recall learning about prohibition in the 1920s. Banning alcohol wasn’t the answer then and it isn’t the answer now. It is time America has lowered the drinking age. The push for this started by the founder of Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the increasing awareness of the harms associated with alcohol use among young adults. The United States is one of the only western nations left in which the drinking age is over 18. In most European cultures, drinking is perceived as a social activity. Therefore youths drink as responsible adults as opposed to reckless teens.
If society says you can vote, go to war, and buy cigarettes; which are just as harmful as alcohol; all at 18. Then why are they forbidden to consume alcohol? More officers and state police are coming forward and publicly agreeing to lower the age. About only 2 arrests or convictions are made for every 1,000 violations. MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) were the ones who began the push for the higher drinking age. They stated that with the lower age there have been more highway accidents and fatalities from alcohol intoxication. When the bill passed in 1987, the drinking age was changed. Since then teenage drinking has only worsened, by forcing more underground and unsupervised drinking, making it more risky and less manageable. Minors began using and abusing alcohol, they were binge drinking and front-facing before going out for the night. In turn causing the number of off highway accidents and fatalities to rise. The MDLA (minimum legal drinking age) is unrealistic since most young adults have tried alcohol before reaching the age of 21.
Ruth C. Engs, professor of Applied Health at Indian University, started researching teenage drinking in the late 1970s. She conducted her research for over 20 years, when she wrote her article, “Why the drinking age should be lowered: An opinion based upon research” in 1998. According to her research, the decrease in teenage freeway accidents began in 1980, not 1984, when MADD began their push. From 1982 until 1987, around 46% of students reported vomiting after drinking, jumping to over 50% after the age change. Among other changes after 1987, including; cutting class after drinking went from 9% to 12%, missing class due to hang over from 26% to 28%, and lower grades rose from 5% to 7%. Even fighting increased, from 12% to 17%.
On September 17th, 2004, Gordon Bailey (“Gordie”) was found dead at the Chi Psi Fraternity house he was pledging at University of Colorado at Boulder. The night of September 16th, Gordon and 26 other pledges were taken to a nearby park and forced to drink four handles of whiskey and six bottles of wine in 30 minutes. When they accomplished their task they returned to the fraternity house, and...

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