Bingeing on the Drinking Age

Alcohol, it has been a part of human culture for centuries. From religious gatherings to work related get togethers, alcohol has been a main factor in socialization and even some cultural events for years. Even though it seems so important to certain populations, most countries have age regulations on alcohol and one of the most talked about is the American legal drinking age.

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Every year, kids, and adults alike question whether the legal age should be lowered to 18, since that is when most adult freedoms are placed in the hands of young adults. After all, once someone turns 18, they get to vote, get married, and even purchase cigarettes, which some would argue is worse than alcohol. Even though some would say it should be lowered, it has been proven that it should stay right where it is. From the already underage drinking epidemic, raise in teen car accidents, and even just the amount of loopholes around it, the legal drinking age should stay 21 for as long as humanly possible.

To start, college students already ignore the law and binge drink their livers away. Harvard School published a survey that found that 2 out of 5 college students reported binge drinking in 2001 Wechsler . That is around 44.4 of college students in the United States. The National Center for Education Statistics states that there are around 19.9 million college students enrolled for the fall 2018 semester. That is over eight million college students. Eight million! That is eight million young adults throwing their physical health down the drain for the sake of a buzz. Imagine lowering the age! The amount of young adults going to the hospital for liver spots would grow exponentially now that they have this readily available poison at their fingertips.

If that was not enough, how about the raise in teen car accidents when the age was lowered? Around 1970, 29 states lowered their drinking ages to correlate with the change in the voting age and the results of it were shocking to say the least. It seemed that the roads were a dangerous spot for young adults because teen accidents increase drastically near state borders. The reason for these blood borders was because young adults would drive over to the next state, where drinking was legal for them, get drunk to high heaven, before attempting to drive back and crash in the process. This epidemic lasted for 18 years, and it only stopped once the government threatened to take away a large amount of funding from the remaining states who had not changed their drinking laws Background on the Issue. This change is credited with saving 900 young adult lives a year DeJong . If this change is literally saving lives, why would anyone even think of lowering the age?

Some may argue that by lowering the drinking age it may lower the binge drinking, too. That may be the case, if there was not so many loopholes around drinking already. 45 states have laws that allow young adults below the age of 21 to drinking legally 45 States That . In 29 of these states, the person in question only has to be on private property with parents consent to legally drink. Some states excuse it for religious, educational and even medical purposes. In hindsight, only around five states have zero exemptions for alcoholic consumption for minors, and even they have some tiny loopholes around the issue. This is one of the reasons why college binge drinking is so common. Since the students are usually on private property, the campus police can just look the other way and they will not be punished for it Tucker . By this lack of concern from law enforcement, college students below the age of 21 are allowed to drink irresponsibly and borderline dangerously.

From bingeing and teen accidents, to loopholes and police looking the other way, the legal drinking age should remain at 21 in the United States. Most countries cannot fathom having such a low drinking age, but since the US has had it for so long without too much trouble, it should be kept just the way it has been for decades. The government should know not to change the age after the disaster that happened the last time they attempted it. Others may claim that the students would not drink as much with a lower age, but evidence just goes to show that they can and they will drink excessively if they are given the opportunity.

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