Drinking in Favor of Increasing the Legal Drink Age Term Paper

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Drinking in Favor of Increasing the Legal Drinking Age

The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act (FUDAA) was signed by President Ronald Regan on July 17, 1984. The bill served as a mechanism whereby all states would be required to legislate and enforce the minimum age for purchasing and publicly possessing alcoholic beverages. The bill threatened to withhold highway construction funds from states that failed to increase their minimum legal drinking age to 21 by October 1, 1986. The act aimed at reducing teenage drinking of alcohol and also teenage drinking and driving. The act was ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as it was thought that by increasing the legal drinking age, there was a reduction in traffic fatalities among youths aged 18 to 20. There are states that still permit underage consumption of alcohol in some circumstances. Other states allow private consumption while others allow consumption is specific locations like in the presence of consenting and supervising family members.

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One of the major issues that result from underage drinking is binge drinking. Binge drinking is a matter of current social, political and media concern mainly focusing on behavior of young people in public spaces (Berridge, Herring and Thom 598). Binge drinking describes two distinct phenomena with the first one being a pattern of drinking occurring over an extended period, usually several days. The second definition is clinical mainly describing a single drinking session that leads to intoxication that is measured as the consumption of more than a specific number of drinks on a single occasion (Berridge, Herring and Thom 601).

One of the reasons for increasing the legal drinking age is to prevent binge drinking. Teenagers are more likely to binge drink that anyone above the age of 21 and therefore demonstrating that they are more prone to abusing alcohol than their older counterparts. This is therefore an important factor to be considered in order to ensure that the legal drinking age is increased. The current minor legal drinking age laws that are set at 21 years are working as there has been a significant decrease in percentage in underage drinkers since 1984.

Term Paper on Drinking in Favor of Increasing the Legal Drink Age Assignment

The legal drinking age should be increased as drinking alcohol tends to have some negative effects on one's health. These health issues include elevated liver enzymes which indicate a degree of liver damage, this is even worse for obese or overweight underage alcohol drinkers. If the minimum legal age of drinking is lowered it would mean that there will be an increase in cases of liver damage amongst teenagers who will have access to this alcohol. Underage drinking is also seen to have an effect on the hormonal balance necessary for normal the normal development of organs and muscles and bones in adolescents. Studies done in animals have shown that alcohol consumption during adolescence affects the maturation of the reproductive system (Clark, Lynch, Donovan and Block 1353). By raising the minimum legal drinking age, these problems that eventually cause a strain on the economy and the health sector, can be avoided.

Increasing the legal drinking age will be a way of ensuring the removal of alcohol from high schools. This will make sure that minors do not have access to alcohol and reduce alcohol abuse by minors. A recent research found evidence that major positive effects on traffic safety are achieved by increasing the drinking age. Increasing the legal drinking age will also help reduce a significant drop in teenage driving fatalities. It is believed that teenagers are not mature enough to be responsible for them. By increasing the drinking age, the teenagers are given enough time to be able to grow up and learn to make responsible decisions with regards to alcohol drinking. The effects of underage drinking have shown that increasing the drinking age is the best. The American Medical Association says that underage drinking is the main factor that is responsible for deaths amongst youths. It leads to automobile crashes, homicides, suicide and fatal injuries with homicides, suicides and accidents being the major causes of teen death. There are millions of American youth who are binge or heavy drinkers and are under the age of 21(Gutierrez). The American Medical Association president, Donald Seigler believes that with the level of drinking that the youths are partaking in, there are a lot of cases of brain damage and neurocognitive deficits that in turn lowers their intellectual development (Gutierrez). This is because the brain develops through the early 20s and alcohol may harm their developing brains meaning that teens that drink alcohol have a higher chance of academic failure and affecting their academic performance. By increasing the legal drinking age, the number of fatalities resulting from underage drinking and driving under the influence will be reduced. A study carried out in 2000 in New Zealand showed that there was an increase in alcohol related crashes among 18 to 19-year-olds rising by 12%, and those among 15 to 17 years rose by 14%. The rise was due to the minimum legal age for drinking being lowered to 18 years.

The European legal drinking age is lower than the American legal drinking age because, unlike the Europeans, American teens start to drive at a much earlier age and also quite often than their European counterparts. This means that the American teen is more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol if the drinking age is lowered putting them at risk of being victims of traffic accidents. The European legal drinking age is therefore more adapted to their standards as is the American legal drinking age is to their own standards.

The younger a person is when they start consuming alcohol, the more likely they are to become alcohol dependant and the greater their chances of their becoming alcoholics later on in life. Alcoholism brings about damage of their brain and them suffering from withdrawal symptoms should they stop consuming it (Wagenaar and Toomey).

Atwood says that alcohol is the drug most used by young Americans. The risky behaviors to which underage drinking is associated with can be devastating and offers life-long consequences. Forty percent of those who start drinking before they are fifteen years old often meet the criteria for alcoholism at a point in their lives. This will also lead to other types of addiction and also experimentation with drugs and other illegal substances as it serves as a door to other greater forms of thrills that other drugs might offer. This will result in an increase in crimes related to drugs, a rise in drop outs in high schools and colleges and even deaths due to overdose of drugs or alcohol (Atwood).

Underage drinking is closely associated with alcohol related criminality and public nuisance. Alcohol abuse increases negative risk taking behavior which in turn may influence the youth to take part in criminal behavior and public nuisance. This is evident in countries like the United Kingdom where teenagers are allowed to drink and end up becoming a nuisance to the public and the police.

Lowering the legal drinking age will result in alcohol being made available to teenagers who may end up dropping out of school or performing poorly due to hangovers and alcoholism. This may also result in school drop outs both in high school and colleges and universities. Teenagers are not responsible decision makers, as a result, if the legal age for drinking is reduced, it should be expected that there will be an increase in teenage mortality which will be robbing the country of a bright future. If the drinking age lowered to include seniors and some juniors in high school, it is going to eventually bring about a drinking culture to even younger age groups like those in middle school and underclassmen in high school due to their exposure to alcohol ("To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking").

Drinking alcohol affects how one makes decisions and judgments. This means that if reduced, teenagers will be unable to make sound judgment and may therefore take part in risky sexual activities and exposing themselves to risky situations like rape or engaging in unprotected sex, this means that there will be a rise in sexually transmitted infections and HIV as well as teenage pregnancies. The teenage years are filled with many physical and emotional changes which determine the type of person a teenager will become in their latter years. By lowering the legal drinking age, alcohol is made accessible to the teenagers which further complicates the relationship that they have with their families and even contribute to family breakdowns and cases of domestic violence.

Another reason why the legal drinking age should be increased is because there are 18 to 20-year-olds in colleges for whom it is illegal to drink living in the same environment with 21-year-olds who are allowed to drink alcohol. On college campuses, alcohol consumption is considered as a means of encouraging social interaction and for some people, this means that they will be accepted socially and eventually get attention from… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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