Unarguably, the improvement in people’s living standard owes much to the scientific breakthroughs of technical advances as well as social aspects. So significant is keeping the drinking age of 21, which has been supporting effectively on young people. There is ongoing debate on whether keeping the drinking age of 21 has the positive or negative impacts. As far as I am concerned, lowering the drinking will lead to damage brain development, increase car accidents, give high school students greater access to alcohol, which will be discussed below.
According to Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University, she said: “Alcohol is especially damaging to the adolescent brain, leading to later abuse and addiction.” (“Lower the Drinking Age to 19”). She strongly agrees with the ideal of early drinking will pose severe mental health risks. This is a debatable issue which has many comments from society’s nowadays.
First of all, there are many medical studies illustrate that drinking at young age will lead to negative aspects. For example, an article showed: “Consuming alcohol on a regular basis can negatively affect the development of an individual’s brain’s frontal lobes, which are responsible for emotional regulation, planning and organization.” (“Should the Drinking age be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?”). Respectively, young people who drink alcohol before 21 will put themselves at decreased ability of decision-making, less responsibility in public, become violent and even prone to suicide. The brain is still going through crucial developments in the teenage years that should not be interfered with, at all possible. In particular, 21 is an age when an individual should concentrate on studying, working, and social decisions, and impaired cognitive functioning at this time could substantially affect their futures. Sequeira said: “Teens often start drinking due to the curiosity and experimentation. The younger they start, the more likely they are to continue to drink and to drink larger amounts” (“Binge Drinking”) This evidence shows alcohol has a stronger effect in adolescents than it does in adults. It is reasonable for those who are being headache when they get older.
In addition, keeping the drinking age of 21 will decrease traffic accidents and youth fatalities. It condones young people drinking and increases their chances of being involved in alcohol related incidents. According to the article “Lowering the Drinking Age has Serious Consequences”, Watson said: “A lower drinking age leads to more traffic fatalities, unplanned pregnancy and crime.” This shows teenagers have less life experiences and can be naГЇve in many situations, and immature in their actions in public place. Particularly, if youths were officially allowed to drink from 18 years old, there would be countless of car accidents that no one wanted to happen. Moreover, since founding the drinking age of 21 in 1975, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that the number of car accidents within 18-20 years old drivers in the U.S decreased sharply by 13% (SFGate). Also, when the police come to the car accident scene within the “drink and drive” and “text and drive”, the one who always and forever at fault is the “drink and drive”. As we know, “drink and drive” could end up with criminal record that will follow young people forever in their life.
Lastly, the “trickle-down” effect of alcohol will give high school and even middle school students greater access to alcohol. For instance, an article showed: “This effect implies individuals who already have a right to legally purchase and consume alcohol tend to but it for their younger peers.” (“Minimum age limits Worldwide”). It is no doubt that when we are 21, drinking alcohol is itself not actually an issue, but buying alcohol on behalf of them, for the ones who underage are a huge problem. Thus, in the case of the drinking age being lowered to 18 years, young people who in fact have access to alcohol will automatically decrease to 15-17 or even less. As the result, lowering the drinking age has created, rather than solved, problems. This is not only harm older teens, but even youngers adolescents, who lack of the maturity to handle the unpredictable situations. Likewise, alcoholism is likely to rise and have bad influence on young people for their mental health and well-being.
On the other hand, one may argue that 18 years old have the right to vote, get married, and serve in the military. Therefore, it seems strange and unacceptable for them to not to be able to purchase alcohol. In the article “Return the Drinking age to 18, and Enforce It”, the author mentioned about teaching teenagers how to drive before giving them the car keys, and wondered how to expect a 21 years old adult drinks responsibly without communicating the risks, harm of alcohol at the beginning. This is a great point and we all know that 18 years old is considered as an adult, but their brains are still developing, few supports themselves economically and importantly many lack the emotional maturity to use alcohol safely. If they are drunk, all those rights as be able to vote, get married, and serve in the military will prove nothing at all.
In conclusion, from what has been discussed above, one can conclude that keeping the drinking age of 21 is significantly necessary in today’s society. Nowadays, young people have many opportunities to access to alcohol that leads to negative affect, such as damage brain development, increase car accidents, give high school students greater access to alcohol early. Personally, I think that we can prevent early drinking by discussing or communicating the risks, harm and disapproval of alcohol within young people through classrooms, public housing, or even simply between family dinners.
- “Keep the Drinking Age at 21.” SFGate. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.
- “Minimum Age Limits Worldwide.” ICAP.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.
- “Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?” ProCon.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2014.
- Glaser, Gabrielle. “Return the Drinking Age to 18, and Enforce It.” The New York Times Company. N.p, n.d. Web. 6 Sep. 2018.
- Sequeira. L. et al. “Binge Drinking.” Pediatrics. p. e718-e726. Vol. 136,. N.p, n.d Web. 30 August. 2015.
- Steinberg, Laurence. “Lower the Drinking Age to 19.” The New York Times. N.p, n.d. Web 6 Sep 2018.
- Watson, Tara. “Lowering the Drinking Age has Serious Consequences” The New York Times. N.p, n.d Web 6 Sep 2018.