Raising the Drinking Age Wasn’t Right Decision

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Over thirty years ago the legal drinking age in the United States of America was raised from eighteen to twenty-one. It was a dramatic time of change for a lot of eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-year old’s because for many of them, overnight their whole party life changed. Once you turn eighteen, you can vote, you can buy cigarettes, you can enlist in the military and lay down your life for your country, you are even legally titled as an adult, so why can someone who is over eighteen not drink?

By raising the drinking age, they made it where teens needed to prove that they are superior, and this has led to many teens drinking illegally and even to drink too much. We were all teenagers once, we all know what it is like to feel like we are being held down by our parents and guardians. When we turn eighteen we have this new sense of freedom, we have all these new responsibilities, and we have new privileges. When we are told that we cannot do something we go out of our way to prove to everyone that we can. This has led to many dangerous situations that could have been avoided because by lowering the drinking age you would not only take away the thrill of breaking the law, but you would strip the rebellious stigma from drinking; more importantly, this would dramatically decrease the amount of unsupervised and underage drinking.

It is common knowledge that in most of Europe a sixteen-year-old can walk into a bar and order a pint, and not only is it normal, but many parents will order the drinks for them. It is a difference of way of life. In Europe, the idea is that when alcohol is not thrown into a dark section of society, it is no longer taboo, and therefore a less appealing vice. When you normalize something like beer, it is less likely to be abused because it is not seen as something to abuse; rather it is seen as a part of many people’s culture to sit down and eat dinner with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Because drinking alcoholic beverages is considered an illicit activity in the united states for those under 21, young adults were never taught the importance of drinking in moderation and therefore tend to over drink and abuse alcohol. If the legal age were to be lowered it would greatly decrease the amount of binge drinking because teenagers could have the chance to experience moderate drinking in places like bars, clubs, and restaurants.

In the United States, college students die every day of drinking-related accidents. This is partly because when you are still in high school and living at home you have your parents standing over you and watching your every move; Suddenly you move away from home and go to college you experience true freedom and have no one there to tell you what you can and cannot do. So, what happens? You go crazy with partying and drinking, you lose sight of your aspirations and get stuck going down the rabbit hole of drinking and having fun. One day you are hanging out with your friends and you wind up having one too many shots and fall asleep; your friends try to wake you up in the morning, but you vomited in your sleep and choked on your own vomit. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common, and it is easily avoided by being educated and knowing what your limits are.

Today, inflated and exaggerated statistics and language have become a part of everyday life, this is also true with alcohol and drinking. When people talk about “epidemics” or “threats to our youth” they are trying to use language to scare us into listening. This is evident in the case of the definition of binge drinking; going on a binge used to mean dropping all responsibilities for days to drink or do drugs, then it was suddenly changed to mean a single occurrence where someone becomes intoxicated (Herring). When they changed the definition, it led to many news sources and many articles to start throwing around the words “binge drinking” and this was meant to purposefully scare parents and guardians. Why was this done you may ask? Well, that’s easy, editors know that fear can easily be used to manipulate people into watching their channel or reading their newspaper. It can even be harmful to relabel moderate drinking as binge drinking because what happened was many parents decided to crack down on drinking thus leading to teens having to drink secretly in an unsupervised manner which increases the risk of abuse.

Enforcing the legal drinking age is not only inefficient and a huge waste of time, but it is expensive. The time and money that is put forth to catch and prevent illegal drinking could be put towards programs that could work in educating young adults on drinking in moderation. Programs like these could be used to teach teens and young adults how to drink moderately without trying to use scare tactics that are overused, and not effective. Also, prosecutions of underage drinkers are very rare and even if you are caught, ninety percent of the time all it adds up to is a few hours of community service and that is it, it is just a slap on the wrist. Not only that, it chokes up the legal system and wastes the time of judges and public defenders.

Many people who oppose lowering the drinking age say that it will lead to an increase in underage drinking and driving deaths; when the amount of drinking and driving related accidents have steadily gone down since 1982, two years before the age was lowered by the uniform drinking act (Linde). Also, they say that drinking from an earlier age will raise the risk of alcohol addiction and dependence, but this is not true, if you teach teens and young adults from early on that drinking is not a taboo or something that will make you look cool, then the risk of developing an addiction or dependency drops significantly.

We have all been the rebellious teen who just wanted to have a little fun, but why are we being deprived of the education and experience that most teens in European countries get? When we allow fears to govern our lives, then how can we truly live? It is dangerous and naive for parents today to expect teens to not drink and to adhere to the strict guidelines that are laid down for us. We should be taught the importance of moderation and how to handle what we drink instead of being expected to not drink until we are twenty-one.

Cite this paper

Raising the Drinking Age Wasn’t Right Decision. (2021, Dec 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/raising-the-drinking-age-wasnt-right-decision/

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