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Drinking Age Essay

A very controversial issue in today’s society is drinking. Drinking in the United States has been an issue since the start of prohibition; alcohol was never the same in the US after that. It taught people to hide when they are drinking, just like most underage teens do now days. Although, alcohol is treated as a big scary issue, in most fatalities from drunk driving have dropped significantly since the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21, lowering the drinking age back down would drastically help the U.S.’s binge drinking problem, therefore the U.S. should follow most European countries and lower the drinking age federally. When you turn 18 you are considered an adult, there are many privileges that come along with being 18. But one of those privileges is not being able to drink legally. One of the biggest arguments is that you can go off to war, but you aren’t allowed to drink.

Some states are trying to come up with a solution that will solve this issue, south Dakota thinks that would be okay for 18­20 year olds to be able to buy drinks like beer, but having to wait until they are 21 to be able to legally allowed to purchase hard alcohol. Another idea that came up in multiple sources was having an alcohol drinking program, which would force 18­20 year olds who wanted to drink to participate in the program learning how to drink responsibly. Source F they suggest that the course would even include having to sit in on a 3 hour AA group meeting. This would create responsibility and make the young adults think about their actions with alcohol. (Source B) Drinking is treated a lot differently in America than most other countries, in most European countries the drinking age is 18 or lower. Not only do they learn to handle the responsibility that comes with drinking earlier but often times they have access to alcohol in the home before they “come of age” making alcohol appear as not a big deal, therefore, they often times don’t feel the need to binge drink or go completely crazy every weekend.

It is a cultural thing, in America it is looked down upon to drink before the age of 21 and it is very hard to get alcohol unless you are 21. Causing it to become a big deal, like kids are rebelling when they choose to drink underage. Where in Europe getting alcohol is easy making it not a big issue. (Source F) It is more common to see binge drinking in America based on the way alcohol is treated in our culture with it being bad, to having to sneak it, however, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take place in Europe. It does but the difference is that they don’t do it every weekend; they actually have buses that run all night so there is no reason for them to drive because it is legal for them. So when they actually do drink too much then it is easy for them to be safe in getting home, which is a system the United States doesn’t have unless you are 21. Not everyone believes that the drinking age should be lowered in fact most people and states don’t want the age to change.

The graph from source A shows that 53% of the states
think the drinking age should stay the same or even be raised, 42% think that the age should be lowered, while 5% either don’t know or are undecided. source C address how it would affect college campus where a lot of underage drinking already happens. They argue that with all of the lessons that kids are being taught in college, drinking and all the incidents that come along with it should not have to be learned by 18­20 year olds. The big “kicker” for lowering the drinking age is that when it was originally raised in 1984 the government made it optional for states to change their drinking laws to 21, or else they lost federal funding for roads. A brilliant idea on their part, they knew that no state would be able to resist with that punishment. All of these are great valid points, however, they are outweighed by studies and general evidence/patterns.

The US drinking age, with an exception in a few states where underage persons are allowed to drink with a parents consent, is 21 and it has been since 1984. That has been 30 years, which has lead to a lot of people who never learned how to drink and only abused alcohol especailly after the age was lifted, it started the way alcohol is treated in todays world. Most of the people who are opsoing this change are the parents and those who saw the law change the first time, but this problem can not continue to be used in the ways that it is in the US’s culture today. The changes that were supposed to come along with this law never really happened. In fact binge drinking/ alcohol has grown recently. Sure it has always been a problem in the United states, but more and more people are resorting to alcohol and most of them are ashamed of it.

It is something that is ingrained negatively in our culture. It is time for this problem to end, the possibility to make the change starts now. sure when the age is first changed back to 18 then it will be crazy, but it would also be crazy for Obama to raise the minimum wage to 10.10 an hour, all that is going to do is raise the prices of things over a period of time. That is just something that comes along with change. A lot of countries follow what the US does on a lot of issue but it is our time to start following other countries in order to potentially solve the issue of alcohol binging, alcoholism…

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