Drinking is a major issue affecting young adults and millions of Americans. Excessive alcohol use is attributed to 88,000 deaths yearly and Americans stand to lose 2.5 million people annually due to alcoholism. In trying to deal with the menace of drinking among young adults, the drinking age was increased to 21 years. Many people saw this as the best decision to combat the problem of drinking among young teenagers.
However, recent studies have emerged that proves that the said law is ineffective and is not justified. Despite the reasons given that 21 years is the best to age, the paper argues that lowering the drinking age would help the young adults to be responsible members of society, reduce alcohol related deaths, it will also be in conformity with best practices all over other cogent reasons.
Lowering the drinking age, especially in the society of today will help young adults to be more responsible for their actions and make better decisions. According to (Toomey, et al. 1959), lowering the drinking age limit to 18 will greatly reduce cases of irresponsible behaviour and teach them to make moral and good life choices. It is in the public domain that the current legal drinking age limit has led to increased cases of irresponsible drinking among those in the age bracket of 18 years to 20 years.
As it is always said, the more you restrict a person from doing a thing, the higher the curiosity of doing that thing. As said, “curiosity killed the cat”, and in preventing young adults below the age of 21 not to consume alcohol will be doing more harm than good. Allowing young adults to access and consume alcohol will be preparing them to take responsibility for their actions by always having in mind that in any anything they do, the same is followed by consequences.
Knowing that they are adults since they have attained the age of the majority, they will be able to consume alcohol in a manner that befits their status as young adults. Further, they will be able to grow and face situations in their life in a responsible manner that reflects responsibility as they will be able to learn from their mistakes and improve from the same mistakes. Therefore, to prepare young adults to be responsible people in the society in both decision making and behaviour, it will be prudent to reduce the drinking age limit from the current 21 years to 18 years.
A lower drinking age will reduce cases or help reduce cases of alcohol-related deaths caused by alcohol poisoning among young adults below the age of 21 years. Statistics from (Ertan Yörük and Yörük.1845) show that in every fifteen young adults in the age bracket of 18 years to 20, one dies from alcohol-related complications, mostly alcohol poisoning. The reason for this is that young adults outside the legal limit of drinking overindulge in alcohol and become ill. When this occurs, the case goes unreported due to legal punishment for underage drinking.
Hence there will be that fear of self-incrimination in seeking medical assistance by an underage person outside the legal drinking age bracket in fear of legal punishment. If young adults from the age of 18 years can drink, they will do so without fear. In case of alcohol-related complications, medical attention will be sought and reported. Hence to prevent cases of unreported alcohol-related complications that can lead to death, it will be practical to reduce the legal drinking age to 18 years.
Lowering the drinking age limit to 18 years will prevent cases of binge drinking. According (Toomey, et al. 1958), demand for alcohol among College students does not change even if the alcohol becomes costly or unavailable. The only thing that changes is the supply chain of alcohol to those below the legal drinking age limit since they rely on friends and family members to buy them alcohol. Banning of alcohol sale to persons below the age of 21 years has highly contributed to binge drinking especially among College students.
Those restricted by law from drinking when they get little opportunity to drink tend to drink heavily and without any caring. Lowering the legal drinking age limit to 18 years will enable the young adults to consume alcohol in a more responsible manner. Therefore, reducing the drinking age limit to 18 years will highly reduce cases of overindulging in alcohol by the young adults when alcohol is available to them having in my mind that it will take time for them to access alcohol due to legal restrictions
Reduction of the legal drinking age limit to 18 years will greatly help reduce cases of abuse of alcohol by young adults below 21 years. According to (Miron and Tetelbaum 234), prohibiting young college adults from consuming alcohol has brought out a dangerous culture or precedent of binge drinking on college campuses. Instead of sticking to the legal drinking age of 21 years, the drinking age issue must be relooked and be reduced to 18 years so that the issue of binge drinking among young adults can be totally eradicated. Hence if the legal drinking age is reduced to 18 years we will be able to see reduced cases of alcohol abuse drinking that is a major contributor to alcohol-related health complications and alcohol-related diseases due to alcohol abuse.
Lowering the drinking age from 21 years to 18 years will significantly reduce cases of using stolen or fake IDs. Allowing the young adults to consume alcohol starting from the age of 18 years will help prevent situations where they go to buy alcohol using fake ids and drink the same alcohol in hiding (Voas 1601). It is reported that young adults below 21 years have on one occasion used fake or stolen ID to buy alcohol. Not only is it morally wrong to use fake or stolen identification card, it is also a criminal offence.
It is in the public domain all over the United States that the current law on drinking is not obeyed by young adults outside the legal age bracket of drinking. College student below 21 years will tend to drink illegally by buying alcohol using stolen or fake IDs to beat the legal restrictions set out by law on drinking age limit which is viewed by them as being unreasonable and uncalled for. Therefore, to enable the young adults to freely buy alcohol to, be able to drink in a responsible way and making responsible decisions, the legal drinking age limit should be lowered to 18 years.
Legal drinking age limit being lowered to 18 years will help eradicate or reduce bad drinking behaviors and socialization problems among young adults. According to (Hallgren, et al. 471) since a person is considered as an adult when he or she attains the age of 18 years, he or she has the mental understanding he deserves to be treated as an adult. Being an adult comes with responsibilities and able to make decisions since one has graduated from teenager to an adult. Making the same adult not to consume or not to freely buy alcohol becomes a psychological trauma to the same adult. In trying to prove to his or her peers that indeed he or she has graduated to adulthood, the same alcohol legal law rule will be broken making the young adult use all means possible to buy and consume alcohol. Therefore, it does not make any sense to tell an adult who is able to decide in life that he cannot consume alcohol until the age of 21 is attained.
Lowering the legal drinking age limit to 18 years will bring about legal drinking age uniformity with many countries all over the world. Even though people reason and make decisions differently in their personal capacities, when one hits the age of majority there is a sense of responsibility in him or her (Kiesbye 1503). That sense of responsibility should not be imposed on somebody especially when one attains the age of 18 years in matters to do with alcohol consumption. The above stated was the thinking of many legislatures in those countries that have their drinking age limit at 18 years. It is important to note that many countries in America, Europe and Africa have put legal drinking age at 18 years. Therefore, to create legal drinking age uniformity with other countries the US should reduce the legal drinking age to 18 years.
Many people in support of the current legal drinking age of 21 years may argue that it has been a success. In as much as that will be true according to them, the same cannot be given a blind eye to just accept their views. According to (Coghlan 6), many studies conducted on the effectiveness of legal drinking age of 21 years have appeared to show that it has not been helpful in controlling underage drinking as it was much anticipated. Since the legal drinking age was raised to 21 years, vigorous and more dangerous alcohol drinking habits have been exhibited among those at the age of 18 years to 20 years. This has been greatly attributed to alcohol being purchased through dubious ways and means by those outside the legal age limit of 21 years and above. Therefore, those between the age of 18 years and 20 years tend to use any means possible to buy and consuming alcohol having in mind that they are adults hence they can consume alcohol even though the law prohibits them from doing so.
A lower legal drinking age of 18 years will reduce medical cases related to alcohol consumption of young adults between the ages of 18 to 20 years. According to National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2006 to 2007, young adults between the age of 18 years to 20 years confessed to drinking more than 36 times in one year and when they drunk they did it heavily with the perception that it will be difficult for them to get another opportunity to drink. This begs the question that if indeed the law puts the legal drinking age to 21, where do the young adults between the ages of 18 years to 20 years get access to alcohol? Therefore, it can be clearly seen or viewed that the more the legal drinking age limit remains at 21 years the more the young adults between the age of 18 and 20 years become motivated to get access and drink alcohol.
Lowering the Drinking Age to 18 years will eradicate cases of alcohol poisoning among the young adults. The heavy consumption of alcohol among those below 21 years has led to increased cases of alcohol poisoning which in most reported cases have led to death and other alcohol-related complications. It is important to note that most alcohol-related cases of alcohol poisoning among and spiking of alcoholic drinks when those between the ages of 18 years to 20 years go unreported due to fear of legal penalties and repercussion. In fear of legal penalties and repercussions, when something goes wrong or happens such as alcohol poisoning during drinking spree of underage drinkers the same will not be reported to the authorities. Hence to reduce and take a proactive role
Lowering the legal drinking age to 18 years will reduce cases of suicide related to alcohol. According to (Hingson et al 142) those young adults outside the legal drinking age limit of 21 years tend to commit suicide caused by secretive high alcohol consumption. The study has shown that young adults between ages of 18 years to 20 years who are not allowed to take alcohol tend to take the alcohol. Due to the high alcohol intake that is done in secret which in turn lead to cases of suicide or attempted suicide. The cases of suicide are highly contributed to heavy drinking by the young adults who are not legally allowed to drink which in turn impair their way of thinking and judgement altogether. The issue of alcohol-related suicide among young adults in the US has greatly increased over the years which studies have shown it has increased has on the rise ever since the legal drinking age was increased from 18 years to 21 years.
The legal drinking age if lowered to 18 years will help reduce abuse of illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. It is in important to note that whenever young adults are prevented from accessing alcohol they will tend to use illegal drugs as the alternative. Studies have shown that people tend to drink to get high or to be in a high-spirited moment. Since young adults outside the drinking age limit of 21 years are not allowed to drink, they will, in fact, use other forms of illegal substances to make them get high like their peers who can drink. Use of illegal drugs has a very high negative effect on people’s lives compared to drinking.
It is better to allow somebody to consume alcohol than to create a situation that will enable the same person to have room to hard illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The government should remember that the only way it can reduce cases of use of illegal drugs by young adults is to create an avenue for a safe and responsible way of consuming alcohol. Hence the only way to prevent situations of abuse of illegal drugs is to allow young adults to drink or to consume alcohol by lowering the legal drinking age limit to 18 years.
Reducing the drinking age from the current 21 years to 18 years will help prevent young adults from buying alcohol in the black market. The black market has and continues to be a problem to the US government up to date. One can buy all sorts of things through black market including alcohol. Reports have shown young adults who are legally stopped from accessing and consuming alcohol by the law will go to extreme means to access the said alcohol. The extreme and dubious ways accessing alcohol will including the young adults going to the black market to buy the alcohol.
It is of importance to note that alcoholic drinks in the black market cannot be considered safe for consumption as most of them have not passed through quality consumption criteria. This alcohol when consumed can be of health hazards and even lead to death. Since black markets goods can be sold to any person, young adults outside the legal drinking age can easily buy alcohol from the said black market. Therefore, to eradicate buying of alcohol in a dubious manner through black market that may be of health hazard and deny the government tax, the drinking legal age should be reduced to 18 years.
However, there are those who contend that lowering the legal drinking age from 21 years to 18 years may lead to an increase in road carnage and other alcohol related complications. According to (Worley, et al. 95), drunk driving accidents have drastically reduced owing to the legislation that increased the drinking age. He avers that in the past accident among teenage drinkers was high and now there are reduced incidences of accidents among the youth.
Although his arguments are merited going by the current statistics the law is ineffective in dealing with the emerging issues. Further, the framers of the legislation had in mind that, increasing the age of legal drinking age to 21 years will come with more responsibilities, the same has been a drop in the ocean as those above 20 years who are seen to be more responsible turn out to be the ones highly contributing to road carnage. It is important to note that road accident due to drunk driving has existed for so many years and it cannot be said to be highly contributed by those in the age gap of 18 years to 20 years. Therefore, it can be viewed that the work of legal drinking age is at 21 years have not yielded the expected results.
In conclusion, it is without a doubt that the legal drinking age has not been effective or met the expected results as intended. The current legal drinking age of 21 years has led to increased irresponsible drinking among the youth and there have been increased incidences of crime. Further, the current law has led to increased cases of alcohol poisoning, drinks being spiked and buying of alcohol through dubious black market means. The current legal drinking age of 21 years is not working, and it continues to create more harm when it comes to consumption of alcohol by young adults outside the legal drinking age. Hence to eradicate the issue of illegal alcohol consumption by young adults, the drinking age should be lowered from 21 years to 18 years. This will save many young adults from the abyss of alcohol abuse to a more responsible drinking habit and prepare the young adults into a more responsible life as they continue to grow.