Legal Age for Drinking Alcohol - Essay Example

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Vanderbilt University
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Alcohol remains the primary drug choice for many young people. Many of the young people are living with the consequences of engaging in the early drinking of alcohol because a young person body cannot handle alcohol intake compared to what an adult body can take. Despite the fact that many States have raised the age of alcohol consumption to twenty-one years, it is evident that most young people are still engaging in alcohol drinking activities. The ultimate goal of this report is to conduct a study on the impacts of raising the alcohol age to twenty-one years and whether it increases the illegal consumption of alcohol.

The young people are the most vulnerable to the impacts of heavy intakes of alcohol. Some of these harms include traffic accidents, violence injuries, and suicidal cases. Also, alcohol intake heightens the cases of hospitalization and also, drinking alcohol cause brain damage to the young generation. The minimum legal age of drinking alcohol set by many states is believed to save lives of young individuals by reducing fatal accidents caused by underage drunk driving.

Raising the alcohol consumption age to twenty-one years significantly reduces alcohol consumption among the youth because it makes it hard for them to purchase. According to McCartt et al. (2010), some of the positive impacts of raising the age helps preserve life because alcohol adversely affects the health of the consumers. For instance, alcohol contains substances like ethyl which negatively affects the minds hence affecting their thinking capacity, moods and emotions. The minds of young people successfully develop between the ages of fifteen to twenty-four hence, the toxic substance in alcohol affects the minds of a young person. The increase in alcohol consumption may lead to death since their systems, and small brains are not fully developed to handle these toxic chemicals. According to statistics, it is evident that half of the young people between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four die each year due to alcohol consumption.

Secondly, alcohol is the leading cause of fatal accidents like rad accidents. Most of these accidents occur while one is crossing the roads or due to drunk driving resulting from lack of concentration and awareness caused by alcohol in their systems. Also, alcohol also leads to increased cases of suicides since most people lives are negatively affected by alcohol intakes. Additionally, raising the alcohol also helps reduce the intake of other drugs because when one is drunk, it is easy to get the temptation to take other drugs which have harmful effects on their health (Hingson et al., 2006).

Increasing the age to twenty-one has positive impacts on the behavior of many young people. When a person is drunk, it increases the chances of them engaging in violent acts. The governments believe that by rising the age to twenty-one is the suitable mechanism to address violence cases caused by the intakes of alcohol among young people. Likewise, due to cases of aggression anger and depression resulting from family challenges, drinking alcohol makes their situations even worse. In fact, alcohol consumption negatively impacts the lives of the underage individuals.

The alcohol drinking age should not at any point lowered because teenagers cannot be responsible for their alcohol consumption. According to Douglass (1974), there are also some intense reasons why the drinking age should not be minimized. Firstly, it could be a medical irresponsibility because there are medical concerns associated with early life drinking. Consumption of alcohol at an early age affect the growth of the frontal lobes of a persons brain which in return results to complications related to regulation of one's emotions, organization as well as planning. In return, this may lead to chronic issues such as hazardous alcohol drinking behaviors and greater exposure to addiction, memory loss, violent acts and suicidal cases.

Secondly, lowering the age would bring young people to more dangerous zones. Giving the teenagers a chance to take alcohol would mean them going to the nightclubs and bars which are not secure for them. According to the research, it is clear that about a half of the drivers arrested due to drunk driving get drank at certified institutions. Furthermore, neighborhoods located near bars and nightclubs and alcohol selling sectors are more exposed to violent crimes and dangerous assaults.

Additionally, lowering the ages would increase the rates of drinking among young people. In many European countries, the minimum age that is considered legal for drinking is lower yet; the teenagers still have higher rates of binge alcohol consumption and intoxication. Reflecting the same age limits would only lead to more alcohol consumption cases and addiction among the teenagers. Moreover, thanks to the enacted laws and regulations, teenagers who are the age of twenty-one years do not drink alcohol and those who do not take alcohol until they are twenty-one years, they are more likely to take less alcohol as adults as compared to if they started drinking during their teenage (Smith and Burvill, 1986).

Also, lowering the legal age required for alcohol consumption would create room for the abuse of other illicit drugs. According to Smith and Burvill 1986), the abuse of alcohol as a drug comes hand in hand with the abuse of other illegal drugs. According to the conducted research. Teens that start drinking alcohol at an early age are more likely to get temptations to start consuming illegal drugs, and this serves as the most forceful reason why the legal drinking age should not be lowered.

Finally, lower age of drinking could lead to a messed up high school community. Most of the students reach the age of eighteen during their senior year in high school. This means that permitting them to consume alcohol would expose young students and their siblings to risks because some of these seniors give the young easy access to alcohol and since the abuse of alcohol create room for violent behaviors, it would create problems in the high school community.

The consumption of alcohol has since become a routine to many young people. Many of the young people start consuming alcohol at an early age due to peer pressure or growing up in environments where friends and relatives consume alcohol. Since the consumption of alcohol is the roots of many challenges which include dangerous accidents, health problems among others, most nations decided to set an age limit which is considered legal for a person to consume alcohol. It has helped to reduce the number of youngsters who consume at an early age hence reducing the negative implications of alcohol consumption. It is advisable to take alcohol within the minimum quantities to avoid negative impacts associated with alcohol and, alcohol should not be sold to underage individuals.


Douglass, R. L. (1974). The effect of lower legal drinking age on youth crash involvement. Final report.Hingson, R. W., Heeren, T., & Winter, M. R. (2006). Age at drinking onset and alcohol dependence: age at onset, duration, and severity. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 160(7), 739-746.McCartt, A. T., Hellinga, L. A., & Kirley, B. B. (2010). The effects of minimum legal drinking age 21 laws on alcohol-related driving in the United States. Journal of Safety Research, 41(2), 173-181.

Smith, D. I., & Burvill, P. W. (1986). Effect on traffic safety of lowering the drinking age in three Australian states. Journal of Drug Issues, 16(2), 183-198.

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