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The Drinking Age: How Young Is Too Young?

881 words - 4 pages

16-year-old Julia Gonzalez consumed 16 shots of whiskey in one hour, then died from acute alcohol poisoning just a few hours later (T, Buddy). This is a common tale nowadays, approximately 5,000 teens a year die alcohol related deaths (NIH Fact Sheets - Underage Drinking) . Proponents for lowering the drinking age claim the drinking age of 21 forces young people to drink in dangerous environments and often excessively. They believe that lowering the drinking age will teach youth how to drink responsibly. Supporters of the current drinking age maintain that lowering the legal drinking age would result in far more alcohol related deaths. They state that early onset drinking leads to ...view middle of the document...

Proponents of the current drinking age counter this statement arguing that just because it would be legal for teens to drink in a controlled setting, does not guarantee they will drink responsibly. Teens will continue to drink at uncontrolled private parties. Additionally, lowering the legal drinking age also means more young adults in bars. Bars are far from controlled settings, and many encourage irresponsible drinking with happy hours, and two for one specials. Moreover, greater than half of drivers arrested or killed while driving under the influence, were drinking at licensed establishments (Lund).
Regardless of claims the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18, statistics show the current drinking age of 21, better prevents underage drinking, and even saves lives. European countries with lower drinking ages report a higher percentage of underage drinking and more alcohol related fatalities. Moreover, underage drinking has been steadily declining since the drinking age was raised in 1983. In addition, if the drinking age was to be lowered, it means more young adults in bars, and other potentially dangerous places. There is no evidence to prove that lowering the drinking age would make young adults decisions regarding alcohol anymore responsible. Instead of frivolously attempting to fix the problem of underage drinking by lowering the drinking age, why don’t we change the message society sends to our young people in regards to drinking habits, by discouraging the overconsumption of alcohol at any age.

Works Cited
Lund, Adrian, PhD, and James C. Fell, MS. "Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a...

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