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Alcohol Essay

Should The Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered From 21 To 18

One of the  most highly debated issues in America at the moment is whether or not the legal age for drinking alcohol should be lowered from 21 to 18. There are many different arguments both for and against making the change. In this essay I will explore some of the arguments from both sides of the debate.

One of the main arguments that is put forward in favor of lowering the legal drinking age for alcohol is that there is some major discrepancy in how old you need to be to take certain responsibilities on versus how old you need to be to drink alcohol. For example, from the age of 18, American young people are given the right to vote in presidential elections which can be seen as a major responsibility. An 18 year old is also allowed to get married, drive a car and even serve in the army. However, an 18 year old is not considered old enough or responsible enough to drink alcohol. Those in favor of lowering the legal drinking age believe that if some one is old enough to die for their country and to be involved in electing a president then surely they must be old enough to enjoy a few beers with their friends.

Another argument in favor of lowering the legal drinking age is that it would reduce the number  of young adults getting into  legal trouble. The majority of college students will indulge in under aged drinking at some point during their college experience. Many of them will end up either getting picked up by police or getting into trouble with campus security. If the legal drinking age was reduced it would allow college students to drink without breaking the law which would free up resources which are already overstretched. If police and campus security were not tied up with breaking up college parties then they would have more time to address potentially more serious crimes and/or security issues.

On the other-side of the argument, those who want to leave the drinking age at 21believe that allowing 18 year olds to drink would not necessarily mean that they will not get into trouble. Legal drinking on college campuses may well mean less time spent breaking up illicit parties, but almost certainly that time and maybe even more would be spent dealing with issues caused by drunken teenagers. Giving teenagers greater access to alcohol is not the same as teaching them to drinj responsibly.


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Another argument which supports keeping the legal drinking age at 21 is that there are many health concerns related to the consumption of alcohol. The human brain and other parts of the bidy are still developing well into our twenties. One of the reasons for setting the legal drinking age at 21 is to protect young people from sustaining irreversible damage to their developing bodies. Alcohol can impair mental development in young people and if the drinking age was reduced to 18 there is a greater likelihood that even younger teenagers would start drinking. Alcohol poisoning is already a major cause of death in American teenagers and lowering the legal drinking age would only escalate this problem.

In conclusion, there are some valid arguments both for and against lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18. It is a complex issue with many different elements, Having explored both sides of the argument I believe that based on the health implications alone it would be wise to keep the legal drinking age at 21, but I also feel that more education about alcohol and the impact on our bodies would help to discourage underage drinking.

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