Should the drinking age be lowered? This question is one that has hounded us for decades. At age eighteen we are legal adults, we can join the military, vote, and anything else that any adult could legally do. So then why can we not drink till age 21? In my opinion we should not lower the drinking age. If we keep the drinking age to 21 we can save lives, save people from becoming addicted to alcohol, and lastly our brains are not fully developed till at least age 21.
We know through history that keeping the drinking age at 21 can save lives. In 1971, we adopted the 26th amendment and this not only lowered the voting age but also began lowering the drinking age around our country. End result leading to 29 states lowering the drinking age. Immediately we began to see a steep increase to teen death in relation to alcohol. Shortly after 24 states rose the drinking age again and by 1984 there were only 3 states left with the drinking age of 18. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), “increasing the minimum drinking age to 21 is credited with having saved 18,220 lives on the nation’s highways between 1975 and 1998.”
Alcohol addiction is very serious. We say addiction runs in families and based on this I feel like most families have at least one relative addicted to alcohol. Alcoholism is a medical and social problem in our country. “At least 75-80% of defendants involved in felony crimes or serious misdemeanors were either under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they committed their crime or committed their crime to obtain money to obtain alcohol or drugs or to survive because they have lost their financial resources due to their addiction,” Said by criminal justice experts. Alcohol addiction can lead to high divorce, suicide and dropping out of school rates. We also know that teenagers can become addicted to alcohol quicker (6-18 months) while adults can come addicted to as late as 5 years, this studied was conducted by Karen Burger. The longer we can postpone alcohol use, the better the chance that a person will never have an addiction or problem with alcohol.
Lastly and most importantly alcohol can affect your brain growth immensely if you are a heavy drinking or even drink at all before age 21. This is because the brain has not fully developed until you are AT LEAST 21. Alcohol affects the area of the brain that control judgment which is why people tend to do more immature things while intoxicated rather then when they have a good head on their shoulders. Drinking at younger ages makes you less appreciate the consequences for the risky actions that you are taking with drinking underage. It also slows perceptual and motor skills. Drinking in these formative years and cause irreversible damage and the only person you would be hurting would be yourself.
In conclusion, I believe the drinking age should not be lowered based on these very serious reasons. We need to help our country stay in tact and create less crimes and deaths and more people who want to help our country prosper. All and all drinking at any age is bad for you until you learn how to handle it, only you can decide when that is. If you plan your life out intellectually you can all the time in the world to figure it out.