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Essay/Term paper: Under age drinking

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Alcohol and Drugs

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Everyone knows that it is illegal to consume alcohol until the age of 21. Many people are In agreement with this legal restriction. Some would even say that it needs to be raised. Why is 21 the "magical" age that makes one intelligent and mature enough to consume alcohol? Surely, some adults abuse alcohol and some teenagers would be perfectly able to drink responsibly. Many have asked the question, should the drinking age be lowered from age twenty-one to age eighteen. The national drinking age for men and woman should remain at age twenty-one. Before 1982 there was no national conformity in the laws dealing with alcohol consumption legal age. Each state had different laws and regulations set on the drinking age. In the mid-1980's this changed. "The drinking age was set by federal law in the mid-1980's mostly because of pressure from Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD)" (Dogan 1). This gave conformity throughout the nation with a national drinking law.??????????????????????????????????? Today there are many arguments put forth to justify attempts to lower the drinking age. One of the most prevalent arguments for the drinking age heard is, "if were old enough to be sent to war and die we are old enough to drink alcohol" (Heffernan 1). This argument has an underlined fallacy. When an eighteen-year-old youth is drafted into the military he is subjected to many months of rigorous training and preparation for his duties as a solider. Not only is he intensively trained, he is provided constant leadership. This is exactly the opposite of what happens when a youth reaches the legal age to drink. The youth is not trained or prepared to take on the burden of responsible drinking. Rather than provided leadership he is subjected to peer pressure encouraging him to act irresponsibly. The draft age and drinking age argument does not provide a convincing basis for a change in the law. A second argument often heard supporting a reduction in lowering the drinking age "eighteen to twenty year old are going to drink anyway so lower the drinking age."??????? The attached chart shows, "Over 75% of eighth grade students have tried alcohol, and 55% of them have tried it by sixth grade" ???????? While it is obvious that many teen-agers are breaking the law today, this is not advocating a change in the law. "It has been argued that laws do not impact or change behavior, but there is strong circumstantial evidence that drinking-driving laws do make a difference. Laws are a statement of the views of society, and the increase of penalties given the clear message that drinking and driving is viewed as a crime against society" (Tatman 1). The fact that laws are sometimes is not justification for changing the laws. Many supporters of a lowering of the legal alcohol age contend that eighteen or nineteen are mature enough to deal with alcohol. This argument is not supported by the facts. "Over 40% of all the 16-to-20 year olds who died in 1994 were killed in car crashes. And about half of those were alcohol-related. That's around 2,222 of your classmates, soccer rivals, prop queens, and friends who died because somebody chose to drink and drive" (MADD 1). Statistics such as these support the contention that teen-agers are not ready to deal with consumption of alcohol, and the responsibilities that go with it.


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