Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. The argument for increasing the drinking age has been rising in the U.S. Many young adults especially in college drink excessively and this results in bad decisions and negative outcomes. Outcomes like traffic accidents, injuries from violence, and health problems. There are ways that can prevent and reduce these outcomes until a higher age when they are more responsible and more mature. According to the Medical Center of Rochester the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. The main purpose on why this topic has been rising the past couple years is because to prevent harm done by young people thats alcohol related. The argument is that the drinking age should be moved up to 25 because that’s when the brain is fully developed and matured.
Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, and cost the U.S. $24 billion in economic costs in 2010. Most young people drink alcohol at parties “The ingestion of these drugs can influence how they behave with other people or worse, cause diseases such as kidney failure and cancer” (Kidspot). Also, the preference of young adults getting cardiac arrest due to consumption of stimulants is higher than adults. Drinking alcohol has more of a effect on people younger than 25 than it does on older people.
Adults that are younger than twenty five are still developing, and drinking alcohol can be more dangerous to their brain. Drinking under the age of twenty five is a public health problem. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), various studies in the U.S have revealed that younger adults drink more in a single setting than adults do. ”Statistic indicates that of all the alcohol taken in the U.S, 90% of it was consumed by drinkers under the age of twenty one” (Cooper).
This situation leads to many frequent cases of HIV and STD infections. These infections are responsible for the fact that young people tend to explore and go out with friends and engage in unprotected sex while on trips with their peers. The number of death cases that are reported among college students are mostly related to drug use and high consumption of alcohol. 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes (NIH). Also, it’s easy to get alcohol on school campuses. Since it is different to tell who is underage and everyone is different ages, it is easier to get access to alcohol. “Even if restrictions were implemented, they could find their way by using their aged compatriots to buy the booze for them”(Serdula). So if the drinking age was raised to 25, most of the college students would be found underaged and it would reduce the large amount of drinking alcohol as well as the negative consequences such as the road accidents and deaths.
“The claim that raising the drinking age to 25 would result in the the decline of alcohol consumption among young adults is based on the fact that earlier legislation on raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 have led to a fall of a number of car crashes involving young adults”(Institute of Medicine 2012). This cause and effect connection between the minimum drinking age of 21 and the reduction of car crashes is pretty clear. “Since July, 1988, the minimum legal drinking age has been 21 in the U.S. Studies finding liquor consumption among secondary the youths and young adults found that drinking declined since the late 1970s, and the majority of the decline happened by the 1990s” (O’malley and Wagenaar).
Among the fatally injured drivers between the ages of 16 and 20, the rate with positive blood alcohol concentration per hour declined from 31% in 1995 down from 61% in 1982. This data shows a greater decrease in consumption than for older age groups. Studies show that there has been a 16% fall in road crashes due to drunk driving within the youth led by raising the drinking age by three years. Research at the University of Minnesota indicates that raising the drinking age can save the lives of many young people below the age 25. “The legislation is gaining adoption even by countries like Australia and India” (Ashar). Most parts of India, the drinking age is 25. One popular claim is addiction.
Young people are more vulnerable to the risk of addiction. The earlier that people start drinking the more likely that they will be addicted later in life. When young people start drinking in their teens, they develop a dose tolerance and can drink more alcohol without feeling drunk. “After a span of 10 years, 13.5% of the subjects who started drinking at ages 11 and 12 met the criteria for a finding of alcohol abuse and 15.9% were diagnosed to be alcohol dependent”(DeWitt, Adlaf). Rates for the people that started drinking at a older age was 1.0%
Studies also reveal that early drinking results on poor performance on memory, tests, and attention. Drinking at an early age interferes with the part of the brain that is responsible for memory. This is the reason why those who drink are less likely to remember the events when they were drunk. “Youthful alcoholics indicate variations from the norm on measures of mind working, which is connected to changes in neurocognitive after some time” (Squeglia). This research indicates that there is so much that happens during the brain and psychological development and anything that contaminate the brain before fully development can have detrimental effects on it. Alcohol consumption also results in depression and anxiety.
Drinking a lot of alcohol can result in irresponsible spending which can end up getting drained into financial problems. This causes stress which leads to depression. Chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine will change rapidly with alcohol consumption, especially in younger people’s brains. Serotonin helps balance a person’s mood, where dopamine controls the brain’s reward system. “Unusually high or low levels of these chemicals can trigger symptoms of depression”(Doman).
One of the biggest arguments is that if you are a legal adult at 18, why should anyone be able to consume alcohol.Turning 18 means receiving the rights and responsibilities of adulthood to vote, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults, and join the military. But, alcohol consumption can interfere with development of the young adult brain that is essential for functions such as emotional regulation, planning, and organization.
John Mccardell, former president of Middlebury college in Vermont, is a strong supporter of lowering the drinking age. He states that lowering the drinking age includes alcohol education, like driving education. Alcohol education that is mandatory in all high school classes that would include chemistry of alcohol, physical consequences of abuse, and sitting on Alcoholic Anonymous sessions. Education and social responsibility would also include passing an exam to obtain a license to drink. if this was done that it would increase the availability to alcohol of those at ages younger than 18. And again it is a public health issue.
One argument is that the drinking age should stay where its at. “Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving began agitating for a uniform national drinking age of 21 to help eliminate these blood borders and keep alcohol out of the hands of supposedly less-mature 18-year-olds”(Trex). The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the past 30 days 30% drank some alcohol, 14% binge drink, and 8% drove after drinking alcohol. Students in high school have easier access to alcohol when the drinking age is 21. If it were raised to 25, it would be much much harder to get access to alcohol. Young people that are underaged in college wont have high access to alcohol anymore.
Alcohol consumption among young people is so harmful, not only to the social economic situation like financial drain, but also the health complications. Health problems such has depression, memory loss, and psychological complications. The drinking age should be raised to 25 because the brain is physically mature by then. If the law changed the drinking age to 25 there would be less alcohol related deaths, fewer public health problems and lower negative outcomes in school. It will also increase productivity among the youth and secure their mental and physical stability in the future.