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Lowering the Legal Drinking Age

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Jacob Pinc

English 101

Professor Schmitt

May 9, 2018

Lowering the Legal Drinking Age

        The legal drinking age of the United States has been 21 since July of 1984 when congress passed the Age Act to stop drunk driving and improve law enforcement. The question that seems to need to be answered is why is that we are allowed to smoke at the age of 18 which has been proven to be more deadly than alcohol. Also how is that we are allowed to be drafted into the military at age 18. War can be detrimental to peoples mental health once they are out of the war. Yet we still are not allowed to have a few drinks at the young age of 18 when we are considered adults. The drinking age should be lowered because we are old enough to vote so we should be able to drink, we can put harsher driving while intoxicated laws and we are allowed to buy tobacco at the age of 18.

        As stated by Rosenblatt “when the ratification of the 26th amendment happened to allow 18 year olds the right to vote it sparked many movements to try and allow the drinking age to be lowered as well” (CQ Researcher). because of the fact that we can vote for the leader of our country why can’t we be able to make a decision of buying a drink or not. Allowing us to become adults should mean the fact that we can decide whether or not we can be able to drink. Since we can be sent to war at age 18 how come we can’t buy a beer? War can be extremely detrimental to anyone’s health but putting an 18-year-old kid out onto a battlefield with a gun is pretty messed up. They aren’t even allowed to decide if they want to go or not if a draft is in place, their entire life is decided by some person sitting in an office saying that we need to go to war for some reason that possibly does not even matter to that person being drafted. Although alcohol can ruin our life too the decision of it is on us and not someone else saying we need to go die for our country. Alcohol can have the same effects as war and how it can ruin someone’s life in a blink of an eye but with that it was our decision to drink and not our decision to get shot and taken away from everything we had. With lowering the drinking age comes great responsibilities with ourselves, these responsibilities are big but they are ones we can manage with all of the decisions we are making on a daily basis.

        Stricter drunk driving laws can help the situation with lowering the drinking age so that people are incentivized to not drink and drive. One way we can make the law greater to stop drunk driving is reduce the amount of alcohol the legal limit is to drive since technically no amount of alcohol should be allowed when operating a vehicle because of how altered you are with alcohol in your system. In Germany the legal drinking age is 16. Although that means more teens drinking, their laws about drunk driving are extremely strict in which if you are caught driving while intoxicated your driver’s license will be revoked for 3 months and cannot get it back at any point in time during that penalty stage. Koch States that 28,00 people are killed annually from drunk drivers. (CQ Researcher) After the first three-month ban if you are caught again your license will be revoked for an un-stated time in which you can possibly never drive again.  A law like this in the United States can allow us to lower the drinking age with the benefit of making sure drunk driving does not happen. Of course this would never stop drunk driving in and of itself because of people’s decisions they make. But that comes with decisions we make on a daily basis that can ruin our lives like stated above.

         Abuse of alcohol is a big concern especially since teens can be moved by peers to do things because their peers want them too. Binge drinking is the biggest cause of death for high school students because most of them don’t know how to properly dose the alcohol they drink as much as they can at one time to get the biggest feeling of impairment. This is when things get dangerous because of the late effect alcohol has on the body and kids don’t know when they need to stop drinking. Flavored drinks that mask the taste of alcohol lead to most of the binge drinking deaths because of how it tastes nothing like alcohol. These are most appealing to the youth because it allows them to drink more without having the taste of regular alcohol. To stop this kind of thing from happening we need to implement more information on how alcohol producers try to reach the youth with flavored drinks just like tobacco companies making tobacco products that look like candies so kids will be intrigued by them so they will be led to buy them. With lowering the drinking age, it can teach teens to be able to learn what they can handle and not drink to the point of death at a party because they are there to get drunk. Allowing them to drink at bars and controlled environments in public can teach them how alcohol should be used in safe environment although risks still do apply with drinking in public.

Eighteen to twenty year olds feel so compelled to drink and drive because they have very limited to transport home safely.  A Taxi wont work since the caller is breaking a law by being intoxicated, calling a parent while illegally drunk is a difficult task, and it’s not always possible to walk home. Laws are making it harder for underage drinkers to get home safely.  In Ohio a sober driver who is under the age of 21 can get a DUI for driving an underage drunk person.  This law effectively takes away the option to call a sober friend to drive.  The harsh truth is Eighteen year-olds will continue to drink, even with the scarce safe transportation systems available.  The laws are not helping decrease DUI’s they are practically forcing anyone who engages in underage drinking to drive while intoxicated.

            The drinking age was moved to 21 because it was believed that 21 year olds were mature enough to drink responsibly. One of the biggest decisions an eighteen (in some sates seventeen) year old can make is to enlist.  This means an eighteen year old can be shipped to another country and possibly die for his/her country.  Another right granted to eighteen year olds is the right to choose the next leader of the United States. Smoking, one of the most unhealthy habits is legal at eighteen.  Although it is a matter of perspective, eighteen year olds have to face some fairly big decisions, ones that have more baring on future events then the choice to consume alcohol.  

Tobacco has been one of the biggest leading causes of death in the United States for many years now. “Around 80 percent of smokers in the United States took up smoking before the age of 20” (Worsnop). Even though the legal age to consume alcohol is 18 years old kids still use tobacco under age just like alcohol use. If we are allowed to use tobacco at the age of 18 why can we not be allowed to drink. They both alter our minds in different ways and both can be addictive but one’s addictiveness is much greater than the other. Worsnop states that “tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illnesses in the United States” (CQ Researcher). Why will the government allow us to use something that can kill us over time with many different diseases and cancer causing substance but won’t allow us to buy a drink. Although alcohol can cause major liver disease this is usually only common with people who consume alcohol in heavy amounts consistently throughout their life. If tobacco is such a dangerous drug why are there no laws on regulating it just like there are laws on regulating alcohol consumption. I believe that tobacco should also be limited in some way shape or form. It should be cut out completely from everyone’s lives because of the effects it has on people. Although alcohol can cause many different problems other than disease I believe it can help teens mature and grow by seeing how it is used properly without much harm coming to the body since there are no sources being consumed like rat poison and car battery. In a way I believe we can make alcohol an alternative to choosing tobacco as a use to get a buzz although there are dangers that come with it I feel there is more to benefit from alcohol than using tobacco. The drinking age law should be amended to state eighteen as the end all be all adult -meaning all rights are granted at eighteen.  There are many reasons this change is necessary including, the effect the drinking age has on dui’s, the level of significance of other rights granted at eighteen compared to the drinking law, and the society expectations.



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