Minimum Legal Drinking Age: Should It Be Lowered?

1264 words - 6 pages

Turning 18, one becomes an adult, however there are still many things that are restricted and not allowed until one reaches an even older age. The most controversial today is the minimum legal drinking age. Much like in the 1920s, when prohibition was established by the 18th amendment and all alcohol was banned from the United States, underground binge drinking occurred resulting in the opposite of what the law was intended to do. Then in 1933, the 21st amendment overturned that law, making alcohol legal again. Further down the timeline, in 1980 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and ...view middle of the document...

Position one comes from Matt Nagin, who wrote the article “Top 3 Reasons Why the Drinking Age Should Not be Lowered.” It states that the drinking age is fine as is because of three risks: drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and violent and/or destructive behavior. While the numbers have come down slightly in 2010, for example, only 10,228 individuals died from drunk driving related fatalities, however drunk driving continues to be an enormously important public safety issue. The author includes a study done by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2010, showing the highest drunk driving rates were found amongst those ages 21 to 25 (23.4%), and 18 to 20 (15.1%). Based on the article, it seems quite plausible that if alcohol were to be legalized for those under the current minimum drinking age, the 15.1% of 18 to 20 year olds who drink before getting behind the wheel would rise significantly. Another critical reason the author writes is the prevalence of binge drinking, particularly on college campuses. According to The Center For Science In The Public Interest, "44% of students attending 4-year colleges drink alcohol at the binge level or greater." Given the epidemic of binge drinking among minors, lowering the drinking age would make that percentage increase, having the opposite effect. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also states that "up to 86 percent of homicide offenders, 37 percent of assault offenders, [and] 60 percent of sexual offenders" were using alcohol at the time of the crime, showing that violent behaviors increase under the influence of alcohol. Because minors are prone to drunk driving, binge drinking, and violent and/or destructive behaviors, based on this article, lowering the drinking age would cause more problems, and fix less.
Position two comes from Dale Archer M.D., who wrote the article “The Pros and Cons of Drinking at 18.” He writes that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 because it would offer more control over underground binge drinking. He sources David J. Hanson, Ph.D., who’s studied alcohol effects for about 40 years, and his report “The Legal Drinking Age: Science vs. Ideology”, which says that “while it's true that less teens are drinking, when they do drink they actually drink more, and in fact, drink to excess.” He goes on to even agree that fewer 18 to 20 year-olds are drinking, but argues that the ones who are drinking are doing so secretly and to a higher extent. Then the author goes on to argue the psychological effect from the minimum age law, or also known as the “forbidden fruit” theory, which shows that “when people are told not to do...

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