The Laws On Drinking Age: Should It Be Lowered
Every country has different laws on the legal drinking age, and each citizen has their own opinion. Some cultures believe that alcohol shouldn’t be consumed at any age whereas others drink with their children casually on certain occasions. They believe this can help teach awareness at a young age. For teenagers the thought of rebelling and drinking alcohol at parties can sometimes be more appealing than the affects of alcohol. This would mean that the higher the drinking age the more appealing and likely it is for teens and young adults to drink illegally. Lowering the drinking age combined with recreational use regulated by family members can help educate teens on the effects, reduce rebellion, and result in more caution when consuming alcohol.
Teenagers have been able to get their hands on alcohol for many years and recently it seems like it is getting easier even though the authorities are making it more difficult. Underage drinking can be a huge problem when teens drink to excess however, a study done by The National Institute on Alcohol and Abuse in 2015 and updated in 2017 showed that even though many teens do drink while they are under aged a large percentage of the teens that do drink do not drink to excess. Even though many teens have tried alcohol and some drink occasionally, many know their limits and do not exceed their limits often. Under aged people drinking to excess can result in danger to themselves however, when drank with control alcohol will not harm those people.
This study also found that nearly 8 million teens aged 12-20 had used alcohol in the past few months. Finally the NIH also found that out of all alcohol consumed 11% is from users younger than 21 years old. (National Institute of Alcohol and Abuse) This shows us that even if the drinking age were raised teens would still be able to find a way to get there hands on it through somebody who is the legal age, which can be very dangerous. The buyer can scam, rip off, or over power the teenagers. They can use this opportunity to steal from the teens knowing the teens cannot admit their objective to an authority figure, putting the teens at risk. The thought of breaking the law to get alcohol can give teens an adrenalin rush making them think they are cool. The drinking age would only give young adults this adrenalin rush longer than if the drinking age were lowered. When somebody becomes legal age they start to gain maturity and the thrill from drinking will eventually go away. This doesn’t mean that people of all ages should be allowed to drink. At the age of 18 people are considered adults and any adult should be legally allowed to consume alcohol. This means if the drinking age were lowered young adults would gain maturity and learn the dangers of alcohol at a younger age and the result would be safer use and less death or injury related to alcohol.
The legal age to buy nicotine and tobacco products is 18 years old, that’s 3 years sooner than alcohol. These products do not have the same affect as alcohol however, they are much more dangerous. Nicotine and tobacco can cause cancer, heart problems, and severe addiction. An article written by The Men’s Health Blog states that the dangers of drinking can be dangerous, but only if done in excess. However smoking can and will cause addiction leading to excessive use. Excessive smoking can result in affecting cholesterol levels, build up in your blood, lung problems, and many other dangers (Men’s Health Blog). Smoking is not only more dangerous, but also more addictive. Nicotine and tobacco products are legal for people anybody 18 years or old. This is 3 years younger even though they cause more danger than alcohol. They are some of the most addictive substances on the planet not far behind cocaine and heroin. Like alcohol those deaths are avoidable, cigarette boxes have the dangers of smoking on it which has resulted in less use over the years. A study by the Washington post in 2014 found that in the last 50 smoking has become less common since there is more awareness of the dangers. The study states that currently the rate of smokers in the U.S. is the lowest that it has been in a very long time. They also found that certain areas have a lower rate of smokers than others and this can be because of awareness. Some people pass off these dangers and because of that nicotine and tobacco still cause a large number of deaths every year. Alcohol can be an extremely dangerous substance and can lead to many deaths, but many of these deaths are very avoidable when awareness is spread. It is very easy to spread awareness of the dangers of alcohol. My high school had 2-3 drinking and driving presentations each year. If more people were aware young people wouldn’t think it’s cool to rebel because they have more facts about the dangers.
In some cultures and countries casually drinking with family members on special occasions is very common. This teaches the teens control and helps them find their limit when they go out on their own. When the teens are first being introduced to alcohol they can be supervised by an adult who will be in control of the alcohol given to the teens. The parents can also set an example explaining that drinking and driving is very serious and dangerous. Stressing this point and drilling it into kids’ head to teach them at a young age and more when the get their license is very important. A drinking age of 21 years is the second highest age out of all countries in the world. ProCon.org found that only six percent of countries have a legal drinking age of 21 and eight percent do not allow the purchase or drinking of alcohol at any age. Those eight percent (six-teen countries) do not allow alcohol consumption based on their religious beliefs. Some countries do not even have a legal drinking age, but sixty percent (116 countries) have a drinking age of either eighteen or nineteen years old. This shows that a lower drinking age is not something unheard of. Out of these countries very few are on the list of the highest alcohol consumption countries. Lowering the drinking age will not result in more death and injury if the dangers are taught at a young age.
Drinking and driving causes the most alcohol related deaths and is likely one of the leading causes of deaths each year. This is because many people still believe that they can still drink even under the influence of alcohol. Lowering the drinking age alone will not solve this problem, but it would be a very good reason to educate everyone of the dangers alcohol puts yourself and other into. Awareness is very important and would greatly lower the number of deaths each year. The penalties would also have to be increased to scare people away from driving under the influence. If teens are exposed to the dangers and responsibilities of drinking at a young age this knowledge would stick with them and become a fact of life instead of a suggestion. Teaching teens how to drink responsibly will result in less rebellion and more cautious drinkers.
In conclusion the drinking age should be lowered, but the dangers of alcohol should be taught at a young age to inform teens about the risks. This will help teens learn that alcohol can be extremely dangerous and it will help each individual learn his or her limit in a safe and controlled environment. When the dangers of anything are taught and stressed often at a young age kids are more likely to follow those rules. It is also likely young adults will see alcohol as a substance for casual use rather than something to be drank in excess. If the drinking age was immediately lowered, within a few years society would experience safer consumption by everyone, less deaths caused by alcohol, and more parents will be aware when their teenager is drinking.
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