Recently the debate over what is the proper drinking age has a controversial issue. Some believe that “rather than tinkering with the drinking age, we should ensure that young people are better prepared for the joys and dangers of alcohol way before they approach adulthood” (You can…). Only in the last half century did the Act of 1984 set the legal drinking age at twenty-one. Today we are seeing that act fall apart because more and more teens are consuming alcohol at an earlier age. “Boulder Police Chief Beckner says that having a law that makes the consumption of alcohol beverages illegal by many college students may contribute to the problem of heavy or "binge" drinking”(McCardell). In addition to this, some teens do it just to rebel against their parents for the leash they have had on them.
Eighteen: a lot happens at that age. For example, you are allowed to enlist in the army when you are eighteen and could even be asked to lay down your life should you go to war. Eighteen year olds are entrusted with the right to marry and are allowed to vote for political candidates. Nevertheless, eighteen year olds are not allowed to enjoy alcoholic beverages. Some citizens say that eighteen year olds should not drink because they lack maturity and they often binge drink. The act of 1984 was developed because of Candy Lightner, “president of MADD, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver a few years earlier”(Koroknay – Palicz). Based on what the president of Middlebury College said, since we are adults at eighteen, the lower drinking age would provide less abusive drinking. However with this implemented, people who are eighteen would have to get a drinking license. If you think about it, it should be legal for an eighteen-year old to drink since they can enlist in the army, vote, be married, and even be convicted as an adult in a criminal court. Therefore the Drinking Act should stay enforced but with some exemptions and corrects to help the states determine whether or not the state governments will decide to let the drinking be lowered for the eighteen year olds. Teens drink because they are curious and wonder what it feels like to be drunk. “They believe that it will make them feel good, not realizing it could just as easily make them sick and hung-over” (Dowshen).
Research shows even now most of the high school senior in the nation drink alcohol at least once a month. However, today’s media exaggerates both sides of this dispute and it has lead to a stalemate. When people think about lowering the age, some compromises do come up like a drinking permit but it would probably be for low alcohol beverages instead of hard liquor.
Prof. Geller highlights the disparity of the drinking age and the responsibilities incurred upon eighteen year olds today when he said that the “U.S. government should raise the enlistment age from 18 to 21 years old”. This corresponds to the lowering of the drinking since we already place a lot of responsibility on eighteen year olds today.
If there were not as many advertisements for alcohol and liquor, teens would rarely want to drink illegally. Peer pressure is around us regardless of what someone might think, and teens will continue to try to break the law in order to obtain alcohol regardless of the consequences. Alcohol and teens will always be a problem because they will drink in secret. Often they do not believe that they will be caught but when they are caught; there are big consequences like a suspended license if there is any alcohol in their system when they drive, regardless of whether or not they are over the limit. In addition, an individual may even serve time in prison.
Accidents happen because of high levels of alcohol. Teens often have this as a rush even though it is not safe. In addition, more and more educational groups pop-up because they want to “utilize a lecture-discussion on why and how drinking maybe a problem in the community” (Stimmel). The better awareness for eighteen year olds with alcohol will benefit the most because drinking is becoming the new social high.
Geller, Jeffery. “21-year-old drinking age unfair”. The New York Times, April 1, 2008. Massachusetts. 22 Apr. 2008. http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/results/docview/docview.do?risb=21_T3585354005&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T3585354008&cisb=22_T3585354007&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&selRCNodeID=13&nodeStateId=411en_US,1,5&docsInCategory=202&csi=8213&docNo=2.
Koroknay – Palicz, Alex. “Legislative Analysis for the National Minimum Drinking Age Act.” 2008 Apr. 19. http://www.asfar.org/zine/5th/cover.html
McCardell, Jr., John. “What your college president didn't tell you?” The New York Times, September 14, 2004; Hughes, Jim. College drinking on rise: Colorado nabs more minors. Denver Post, September 27,2004.
Stimmel, Barry, MD. Editor. Current Controversies in Alcoholism. “Advances in Alcohol & Substance Abuse”. Vol. 2 Num. 2 Haworth Press Inc. New York, NY 1983.
"You can join the army, vote, but you may soon be too young to drink; Comment.(Features)." Sunday Times (London, England) (Jan 13, 2008): 15. Academic OneFile. Gale. Clemson University. 15 Apr. 2008