One way to define alcoholism would be a destructive disease that enslaves people into choosing alcohol over everything. Where does alcoholism come from? Why is alcoholism such a common issue, yet most people don’t know that they struggle from the addiction? Even better, what has the government done about this issue? In the early 1980s, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, stating that it is illegal to drink under the age of 21. Ever since the law was created, there had been a drastic change in reducing the number of drunk driving and alcohol-related incidents with teenagers. In spite of, many American teenagers argue that the minimum drinking age should be lowered and that they should have the right to have a drink once in a while.
Many adolescents are irresponsible and consider drinking as just a phase or fun; therefore, lowering the drinking age to 18 would only increase their risks of drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and violent/destructive behavior. Throughout a teenager’s years, a majority of them believe that to genuinely have funned they need to go to parties and have a drink or two. These are the years when many young people start experimenting with alcohol. Alcohol can be found anywhere easily.
In the film, Real Life Teens: Alcohol the reporter asserts that Alcohol is everywhere in our society today from advertisements to restaurants to TV and movies. Everyone seems to be drinking. Getting it doesn’t seem to be a problem (2001, 5:50). Since everyone seems to have alcohol, it makes teenagers feel the need to also drink. This is considered to be prohibited which is why many teenagers want the minimum drinking age to be lowered. When teenagers drink, they do it because of the way alcohol makes them feel, it gives them a thrill or makes them feel grown up’. They also might be doing it to fit in and feel as if their part of a peer group because having friends and fitting in is significant to teenagers. Teenagers will claim that if they’re able to vote and go to war risking their lives, then they should have the power to drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may not seem like a drug, but it’s a psychoactive addictive substance that affects an individual’s body, behavior, and decision-making abilities.
What most people may not realize is that soldiers at war don’t drink for the enjoyment of it, but because they are more associated with suicidal behavior. Herberman acknowledges that High levels of alcohol use and alcohol-related problems are associated with suicide and suicidal behaviors as well as psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. This statement does not only relate to U.S. military soldiers but also civilians proving the risk we have in today’s society.
The age of consent for drinking should remain at 21 to help reduce the risk of suicide and depression disorders. Compared to other countries around the world, the United States has the highest minimum drinking age. This would be another reasoning for teenagers wanting the minimum drinking age lowered. In Mexico, the drinking age is 18, and in Spain, it’s 16. Thinking it can’t get any lower, shockingly the drinking age in Russia is none! Among all nations, Russia ranks as one of the highest consumption percentages of alcohol which isn’t surprising since they have no drinking age. The alcohol consumed there contributed the country to higher risks of early death. Their life expectancy is 70.5 years compared to America which is 78.69 years. The contribution of alcohol there also brings higher rates in accidents, heart disease, and cirrhosis, among others. Russia allows drinking within any age range which is what teenagers want.
Allowing the drinking age to be lowered or not have one at all would bring absolutely no good at all but only more deaths. If the age of consent for drinking was lowered down to 18, there would be more freedom and a less risk of establishing a drinking disorder as an adult. That’s what most teenagers want to believe; however, that’s completely inaccurate. Carpenter did a study researching how lowering the age would affect the public health, and ended up finding shocking results. He explains that it’s; however, difficult to assume or estimate how many drinks would be taken if the drinking age were lowered, so he estimated the harm per drink to the person consuming the beverage. For every additional drink, an individual consumes, results in a higher increase for the risk of dying especially if underaged. Carpenter infers that If the drinking age were lowered to 18, there would be an additional 8 deaths per 100,000 person years for the 18-20 age group. Claiming that the drinking age should definitely not be lowered.
The statement and research prove that by lowering the minimum drinking age, it would do more harm physically to the human body at such an extreme that it would cause yet again more deaths. The National Minimum Drinking Act has been a huge success for today’s society. In the article, “Minimum Drinking Age: Should the minimum drinking age in the United States remain 21?,” it is noted that Supporters of the current minimum drinking age say that the higher age limit has reduced drunk driving deaths substantially, and generally makes for a safer environment. Supporting the fact that the minimum drinking age currently is helping the public health. The article also claims other ways about how the drinking act has been a success by noting that It has prevented scores of negative alcohol-related incidents in addition to car crashes, such as fights, alcohol overdoses and other types of accidents, they say, many of which never get reported and therefore are not reliably tracked. Concluding that when drinking is considered a topic, the discussion will mostly only be about drunk driving because the numbers of it happening are just the most measurable results we have.
Other surprising alcohol-related accidents that we don’t have a direct measure of which have improved since the drinking act law would be alcohol poisoning, birth defects, obesity, drowning’s, and falling off balconies at parties. Alcohol will affect a young developing brain more than a full-grown developed brain. It dramatically affects the brain mentally, especially if the brain is still developing. A brain isn’t fully developed until around the age of 26. When young people drink, there’s a higher risk of their brain not developing properly. Drinking will cause irreversible changes specifically to the area of the brain that is responsible for rational thinking. Damage to this particular area of the brain could lead to memory problems, impaired problem solving, and learning difficulties; therefore, the less alcohol consumed, the better the brain functioning. Other impacts of alcohol in teenagers would be the physical effects it can cause to the human body. When taking a drink, it increases the risk of an individual’s health condition.
Alcohol doesn’t digest in the stomach it passes quickly through the bloodstream and travels to every part of the body including the brain, kidneys, lungs, and liver. It has the power to be able to damage each of those body parts we need to stay alive. Alcohol in the system will last about an hour or more depending on how much was consumed. It will last longer than most people realize, and when still under the influence of alcohol, they won’t think twice about their actions. Richter attributes by claiming that Alcohol use can be particularly risky during adolescence and young adulthood, when critical components of brain development are underwaywhich are associated with the tendency to engage in risky behaviors.
These risky behaviors will create consequences that could impact a child’s life forever such as getting into a car crash which will either risk someone else’s life, or their own with death, injury, and/or guilt. Adolescent drinking can be caused by the way a child is raised during their childhood. Teenagers who grow up with too strict or too permissive parents, tend to drink alcohol more than their peers. If a parent is too strict, the kid will feel as if he/she has no rights to do anything; therefore, when something as drinking isn’t allowed, it makes them want to do it, even more, causing a higher risk of it happening.
If a parent is too permissive or too easygoing, the child will feel as if they can do whatever they want, and not even feel guilty about the decision they’ve just made. Cornelius supported this by predicting that Less parental involvement and acceptance were significantly related to earlier initiation of alcohol and greater drinking level in the bivariate analyses. This statement claims that parents should try to be more involved and supportive in their child’s life. The parents should give the child some freedom such as hanging out with friends, but also set some rules such as no drinking and doing drugs. If parents become more encouraging and sympathetic towards their child, they could help prevent their child from drinking underage and staying healthy. By having a prevention program for all urban and suburban high schools such as the RRR, can help decrease alcohol use for adolescents.
The RRR stands for Refuse, Remove, and Reasons. Michelle did a study where she had two groups: the RRR group, and the comparison group. The comparison group was the group of participants that weren’t part of any program between the age of 14 and 19. After a few months of this study, Michelle determines that there was a significant finding for reducing days getting drunk from alcohol for the RRR group compared with the comparison groupthe comparison group’s getting drunk from alcohol increased over time and the RRR group’s decreased. The capability for the RRR group to be able to reduce adolescents drinking consumption creates a strong argument to keep and have more prevention programs in high schools. If teenagers aren’t prevented from drinking and begin drinking underage they raise the risk of future alcohol addiction problems.
Alcoholism is the cruelest form of alcohol abuse in which the individual becomes dependent on alcohol to be able to function. Side effects include slowed reaction times, slowed brain activity, slurred speech, disruption of sleep patterns, and changes to vision (blurriness). Addiction develops more rapidly to a teenager than to an adult. A teenager will take about 6 to 8 months to get addicted, while an adult will take about 5 years. People who begin to crave alcohol and start to become dependable eventually produce a tolerance to it, so to get the same effect, they need to drink more than usual. This can quickly become a habit which then creates an alcoholic. Alcohol has been a huge issue in America for decades of time, and still to this day is an issue we have.
In spite of, by having the National Minimum Drinking Act created back in the 1980s, it has most definitely changed today’s society tremendously. Over time with research done by experts, there have been finding ways to help prevent and reduce the number of adolescents drinking. Ways would be by having prevention programs and by parenting the right way. Many teenagers continue to argue about lower the drinking minimum age because they believe they’re responsible enough. Notwithstanding, with the facts and statistics of how it can impact an individual and the public health, proves it to them that the consequences are not worth it.
Carpenter, Christopher, and Carlos Dobkin. The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Public Health. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 25, no. 2, Spring 2011, pp. 133156. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1257/jep.25.2.133. Cornelius, Marie D., et al. Adverse Environmental Exposures During Gestation and Childhood: Predictors of Adolescent Drinking. Substance Use & Misuse, vol. 51, no. 10, Aug. 2016, pp. 12531263. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/10826084.2016.1162812. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. Herberman Mash, Holly B., et al. Alcohol Use and Reasons for Drinking as Risk Factors for Suicidal Behavior in the U.S. Army. Military Medicine, vol. 181, no. 8, Aug. 2016, p. 811. EBSCOhost, doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00122. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. Hospital, Michelle M., et al. Developing an SMS Intervention for the Prevention of Underage Drinking: Results From Focus Groups. Substance Use & Misuse, vol. 51, no. 2, Feb. 2016, pp. 155164. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/10826084.2015.1073325. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. “Minimum Drinking Age: Should the minimum drinking age in the United States remain 21?” Issues & Controversies, Infobase Learning,12 May 2006, https://icof.infobaselearning.com/recordurl.aspx?ID=2351. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018. Real Life Teens: Alcohol. Films Media Group, 2001, digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=95625&xtid=42151. Accessed 24 Nov. 2018. Richter, Linda, et al. Underage Drinking: Prevalence and Correlates of Risky Drinking Measures among Youth Aged 12-20. The American Journal Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse, vol. 42, no. 4, July 2016, pp. 385394. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/00952990.2015.1102923. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018.
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