Free Essay

Lower Drinking Age to 18

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jsmax99
Words 1021
Pages 5
| Lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 | Sociology 100 | | John Max | |
STRAYER UNIVERSITY
12/8/2012
Professor Taylor, Grace

Individuals born prior to 1966 had the right to drink alcohol legally in the United States at the age of 18. In 1984 the United States changed its legal drinking age from 18 to 21. The legal drinking age in the United States of America should be lowered from the age of 21 to the age 18. Americans today are mature enough at the age of 18 to drink responsibly. Lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 will have a positive outcome for American society. Lowering the legal drinking age affects the country as a whole, as well as many countries around the world. When considering the issue in a global perspective view, the United States is only one of four countries that have a drinking age as high as 21. In just about every other country around the world there is little or no social pressure to drink. In the countries where the legal drinking age set to 18 irresponsible behavior is never tolerated. Young people learn at home from their parents and from other adults how to handle alcohol in a responsible manner. Lawrence Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development states that development occurs in stages. The second stage which is known as the conventional level appears in the teenage years. Kohlberg believes that in this stage young people lose some of their selfishness as they learn to define right and wrong in terms of what pleases parents and conforms to their cultural norms. (Macionis) The cultural norms in the United States should match those of most European countries when it comes to drinking alcohol. If the youths in America were taught the correct and responsible ways to drink alcohol there would be less alcohol related incidents in the future. Lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 makes sense for many reasons. An individual must surely be old enough at the age of 18 to make the decision to consume alcohol responsibly, especially when considering everything that is already allowed at the age of 18. The simple fact is that at the age of 18 in the United States of America you can be drafted into the military and trained to fight for your country and possibly die for your country. A criminal at the age of 18 will be held mentally competent to stand trial and possibly face the death penalty. A young couple can choose to get married when they both reach the age of 18. At the age of 18 you can purchase a pack of cigarettes and smoke them doing more damage to your still developing body than drinking alcohol responsibly. The United States does not have a national minimum drinking age. States are allowed to set the limit where they choose. Despite this, all states abide by the legal Age of 21. This is because the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which was passed in 1984, the federal government will withhold a percentage of federal highway funding from any state that chooses an age below 21. (Pro Con 2012) The rate of traffic fatalities in all age groups began to decline in 1969; more than a decade before setting the legal Age to 21 was adopted. More lives have been saved in the last two years alone by safety belts and air bags than have been saved in the 28 years since the adoption of Legal Age 21. In 2002, according to a NHTSA study, the largest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred among 21-23 year-olds. There were twice as many 21 year olds as 18 year-olds involved in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2002. (CR 2012) Lowering the drinking age back down to 18 may actually cause more alcohol related incidents with individuals 18-20 but it is not certain if this would actually occur or not. Another unknown would be whether or not lowering the legal age would really make alcohol less attractive to teens. The value of sociological research into lowering the drinking age to 18 and the practical implications of this can be broken down into a few key parts. The first being if we lower the legal age to 18 and change the social norms drinking will no longer be a big deal. The second part is how individuals between the ages of 18-20 handle themselves when traveling to countries that allow drinking at the age of 18. There have been many cases of young American tourists going abroad and getting drunk, many for the first time and causing trouble because they are unable to handle this new found freedom. Those under the age of 21 are more likely to be heavy "binge" drinkers (consuming over 5 drinks at least once a week). 22% of all students younger than 21 compared to 18% over the age of 21 are heavy drinkers. 1982 until 1987 about 46% of students reported "vomiting after drinking." This jumped to over 50% after the law change in 1984. Significant increases were also found for other variables: "cutting class after drinking" jumped from 9% to almost 12%; "missing class because of hangover" went from 26% to 28%; "getting lower grade because of drinking" rose from 5% to 7%; and "been in a fight after drinking" increased from 12% to 17%. (Ruth C. Engs) During this paper many points have been made for a good solid argument as to why the drinking age in the United States of America should be lowered to the age of 18 permanently. The federal government should repeal the National Minimum Drinking Age Act immediately.

References

CR (2012). Choose Responsibility. Retrieved from http://www.chooseresponsibility.org/legal_age_21/Country Studies (2012).
Macionis, John J. (2012). Sociology, 13th Edition, Sociology p117
Pro Con (2012). Drinking age background. Retrieved from http://drinkingage.procon.org/#background Ruth C. Engs. "Should the drinking age be lowered to 18 or 19"." Adapted from and in "Drinking on Campus," CQ Researcher 8 (March 20,1998):257. Issue's author Karen Scrivo.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of twenty-one die as a result of underage drinking; this includes approximately 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, and as well as hundreds from other injuries (NIAA). In today’s society we are presented with a real epidemic, underage drinking. As children grow older they are brought into different environments where they are presented with different obligations. Children bring alcohol into their lives to be cool or to fit in, but dying of alcohol poisoning leaves young people to fit into which group? Teenagers begin drinking as early as middle school or even sooner. (NLM) It is said that teens who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crimes. They are more likely to have serious problems in school. They are more likely to be involved in drinking and driving accidents. Children who start drinking young are also more likely to develop problems with alcohol later in life. With such a huge epidemic in underage drinking, why would law makers want to lower the legal age? Throughout the United States, most seventeen year olds receive their drivers’ license. Seventeen year olds are still in high school and still testing different waters; some of the “water” is alcohol. It is hard to believe, but 70 percent of all teenagers drink alcohol, and 60 percent of all teen deaths in car accidents are alcohol-related (Eagle). Most parents want to believe that when they...

Words: 2193 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...November 2010 Lowering the Legal Drinking Age Is Not the Solution “In 2005, about 10.8 million persons aged 12 to 20 (28.2 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Nearly 7.2 million (18.8 percent) were binge drinkers, and 2.3 million (6.0 percent) were heavy drinkers,” according to the agency, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in the Department of Health and Human Services. To solve this problem, would be to try to avoid it from happening, and that is, keeping the legal drinking age at twenty-one years old. The minimum drinking age has been an argument as to lowering the drinking age to 18. Candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, argues, “Of course, they should be able to drink at age 18, and they should be able to vote at age 16.” Then there are groups that have been formed such as, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who are strongly against lowering the drinking age to 18 and fully support 21 to be the legal drinking age. Lowering the drinking age to 18 resulted in more car accidents, deaths, and harmful effects to the body at such a younger age. Having the legal drinking age at 21 is for everyone’s own safety and health, also less under age kids will and have the ability to drink. In the 1970’s the drinking age was 18 years old because it was thought if you could fight in the Vietnam War you should be able to drink. However, having the legal drinking age at 18 lead to an......

Words: 1713 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Should The Drinking Age Be Lowered To 18? Every teenager anticipates the day that they will finally be eighteen years old. This is the day they are finally seen as being an adult in the eyes of our government. Eighteen year olds are now free to make their own life choices and be held accountable for them. At the age of eighteen, you are free to put your life on the line and fight for your country, if you commit a crime you can be tried as an adult in court, and you are also give the right to vote in your country. So, why should the drinking age be twenty-one years old when you are considered an adult at the age of eighteen? At the age of eighteen you are not mature and responsible enough to purchase and consume alcohol. Alcohol has been around for centuries, showcased at parties, bars, sports events and just about everywhere. For these very reasons every day in our country the drinking age is being ignored and violated by young adults, teenagers, and even children all under the age of twenty-one. “On average ninety-five percent of those who will be alcohol consumers in their lifetime take their first drink before the age twenty one. Fifty percent of eighteen to twenty year olds consume alcohol on a regular basis” (McCardell 1). Based on these statistics we can conclude that the enforcement of the legal drinking age has fallen short. The most commonly known place where alcohol is consumed very heavily is on our college campuses. Many college students participate in......

Words: 1636 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Drinking Age

...Drinking Age Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the major leading causes of death in the United States. Most people feel that if at 18 years old you can buy cigarettes, go to the army, get into debt, buy a car, and get married, 18 year olds should be able to drink. On the contrary, drinking causes the human brain to react slower and it impairs the brain causing it to be unable to function at its fullest especially behind the wheel, which is a major cause of death in accidents where a drunk driver is involved. Therefore, the drinking age should be left where it is, which is at the age of 21. If the drinking age would be lowered to 18, teenagers would easily get a hold of alcohol, and at this age they are more probable to binge drink than to drink responsibly. Not to mention that most of 18 year olds are new and inexperienced drivers; this leads to inexperienced teenagers behind the wheel while being under the influence. Unfortunately, there have been many cases like this where a drunk driver has caused a death in a car accident. Imagine how the family of the victim feels and nonetheless how the drunk driver feels afterward, knowing they took someone else’s life because of their stupid mistake. Not only can drinking cause deaths, but it can also cause rape and unwanted pregnancy. Due to the fact that drinking causes temporary brain impairment and the inability to remember previous events, teens are more vulnerable to take unwise decisions that otherwise in their full...

Words: 359 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Lower the Legal Drinking Age

...Lower the Legal Drinking Age BCOM/275 Lower the Legal Drinking Age Drinking has become a rite of passage. Many young people count the days to their 21st birthday because they finally can drink legally. This journey into adulthood causes confusion considering other milestones are reached at 18. Upon reaching maturity, young people can vote, serve in the military, and marry without consent. If an 18-year-old can make such significant, life-changing decisions, he or she should have the right lawfully to consume alcohol. In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which necessitated that states increase the public possession and buying age of alcohol to 21 or federal funding for highways was reduced. Each state complied to receive its annual allotment. Prior to 1984, the legal drinking age varied for each state. According to the article, “The Top Five Reasons We Should Keep The Drinking Age At 21,” our lives and futures of our children rely on continued support of not lowering the national drinking age. There are valid arguments throughout the article and after researching the data online most of the information is accurate. However, the author did not list any references, which makes the article lose credibility. There are no logical fallacies but without citations, the piece seems like one person’s opinion and not a reliable source. The futures of our children depend on parents and their ability to teach their children......

Words: 833 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Drinking Age

...you’re intriguing article, I was embraced to express my opinion on the drinking age. Drinking has taken affect on most of my high school friends. Recently, one of my close friends was hospitalized from drinking too much. He is eighteen years old, and can never drink again. When he was sent to the hospital his alcohol level was through the roof, the doctors said he should have died right there. However, he is still alive; they told him that he can never drink alcohol again. This is why I believe the drinking age should be lowered to eighteen. I personally believe that if you are able to risk your life, and die in war for this country at age eighteen, you should be allowed to drink. America, considers you an adult when you turn eighteen and if you’re legally an adult you should be able to make your own decisions and the consequences that go with them. 42 percent of eighteen years old drink regularly, versus the 24 percent of people who are over the legal drinking age, who drink on a regular basis. If the drinking age was decreased to eighteen it would make less taboo for adults because it would take the fun out of breaking the law. Because, most teenagers drink so much, because of the thrill they get from it. One of the biggest problems with the drinking age is all of the college drinkers. In a recent study done in 2010, 44% of males will drink at least five beers in a row. Also, over the past ten years drinking percentages in colleges have almost gone unchanged. When......

Words: 381 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered to 18?

...Should the Legal Drinking Age be lowered to 18? Ryan A. Conklin is a soldier who enlisted into the Army at the age of 17. He was deployed to Iraq when he was just 20 years old. In his book, he wrote about his daily duties of a soldier in Iraq and all of the sights and sounds that he witnessed. He makes a comment in his book about the drinking age in the United States. He states “I was twenty years old, and on April Fools’ Day, I would turn twenty-one finally legal to drink in a bar. Unfortunately, I was two-and-a-half years into serving my country and was living in a combat zone, and I found it odd that until then I was still not allowed to drink alcohol in the States. A law I hope will be changed in my lifetime.” Different cultures and societies respond different to alcohol in terms of how much they can drink and what their bodies can handle. The legal age to consume alcohol in the U.S. should be lowered to eighteen for the sake of the people, the economy, and safety. When a male or female turns the age of 18, they now reserve the right to serve in the military. When war broke out with Iraq, people were chosen to go over that just turned the age of 18. In the book “An Angel in Hell” by Ryan A. Conklin, he stated “he would always wake up hoping that that day was not the last day he would be on this Earth. He was always on high alert while on patrols, dodging bullets and shooting his own gun just to stay alive.” He also said, in his book, “that he found it odd and......

Words: 1623 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Drinking Age

...Lowering the Drinking Age To 18 By Daniel Harl When a person turns 18 they are given many responsibilities and rights. They are able to vote, enter into contracts, serve in the military, and buy cigarettes and porn to their hearts content. But the one thing they are not allowed to do is buy alcohol. I believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Most people that agree with me will say that it should be lowered because of all that I just stated. I on the other hand believe that the drinking age should be lowered for a different reason. I believe that the legal drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18 because it was set at 21 to save lives, but it has not done that, in fact it has done the opposite and actually endangered more lives. After researching it a bit I found out some interesting facts. I found out that the legal drinking age in all 50 states and the District of Colombia is 21, but under certain circumstances drinking under 21 is legal in some states. In 29 states underage drinking is legal if it is on private, non alcohol-selling premises, with parental consent. In 7 states it is legal if it is on private, non alcohol-selling premises, without parental consent. 30 states allow it if it for religious purposes. 21 states allow it if it is for medical purposes. In 4 states it is legal if it is for government work related purposes. If it is for educational purposes it is legal in 13 states. In 3 states it is legal if reporting medical need due to underage...

Words: 1529 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Lower Drinking Age

... Report: Draft March 3, 2014 Lower Drinking Age Turning 18 is a big year, probably one of the biggest in our young lives. When you turn 18 a million doors open, you can change your name, get tattooed, vote, join the military, go to jail and be trialed as an adult, basically anything you can think of, except one thing and that’s buying/drinking alcohol. That’s one thing that always got my attention: why 21? If you are considered by the law an adult at 18 then you should be treated like one in all aspects of it. Everyone has their own opinion on this matter, and there have been numerous arguments for each side. As I was surfing the web, I came across an article by Matt Nagin. Nagin’s article was “Top 3 Reasons Why the Drinking Age Should Not Be Lowered to 18”. It grabbed my attention so I decided to give it a look, Nagin’s 3 top reasons were, drunk driving, binge drinking and alcohol poisoning, and violent behavior all in that order. According to the article Nagin states that there is an average of 17,000 deaths related to drunk driving. This survey was conducted in 2010. The numbers have slightly gone down (Nagin). From all the drunken driving statistics rates were the highest among 21-25 year old at 23.4% and 15.1% for 18-20 year olds, but after the age of 25 the rates decrease (Nagin). The way I see it keeping the drinking age at 21 is not really making a difference because as the statistics show most drunk drivers are over the age of 21 anyways, so what good does......

Words: 1128 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Argumentative research paper Why Not Change the Drinking Age Back to 18? In the United States of America you are considered a legal adult at the age of 18 years old. You have all the major rights of a fully grown adult, voting, enlisting in the military, buying a house, buying tobacco products and many more. However there is one right that was taken away from the 18 year old adult back in 1984. In 1984 the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was put into place which changed the legal minimum drinking age from 18 years old to 21. Does this law mean that you are not really a mature adult until you are 21 or should the drinking age be brought back down to 18 when you receive all the other rights of a mature adult. It makes perfect sense that this right should be returned to young adults for plenty of reasons and also holds potential solutions to one of the nation’s biggest alcohol related problems. What does it mean to be an adult? United States law states that you are legally considered an adult at the age of 18. It makes sense right? You can buy a house, enlist in the U.S. military, get married and loads of other rights you don’t have until the age of 18. But United States law also states that all states must enforce a legal minimum drinking age of 21. We are the only major nation to have such a high drinking age. The drinking age wasn’t always this high though. On July 17th 1984 the national minimum drinking age act was passed which meant that 18 year old young adults could......

Words: 2220 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Drinking Age Here in America alcohol is used for many different reasons. Some drink alcohol leisurely at a barbeque or party. Some drink it to get drunk and alleviate stress, some people even become so addicted they are physically dependent on consuming alcohol. Regardless of the reasons you drink it, legally you must be 21 years of age. This leaves a lot of room for heated debate. 21 is the magic age for youth, it allows you to now go out to night clubs, gamble, and of course buy and legally consume alcohol to name a few things. In regards to alcohol, many feel as if the age should be 18. As the man in the video was arguing, if you’re able to serve your country why can you have a beer? That is the argument many people will have. I do not agree that the legal age should be 18 in general, but I do feel that military men and women who lay their lives on the line should be given the option to do so. That would be the only case I feel as if it should be allowed, otherwise it would be chaos in my opinion. As stated in the video, states have tried to lower the drinking age before. The result was failure, there were much more drunk driving cases and accidents from people under 21. Now days alcohol is readily available no matter where you are at or what age you are. When I was in High School getting alcohol never seemed to be an issue for a lot of the kids I went to school with. Whether it was parents...

Words: 1171 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Theses: the drinking age should be lowered because it would both benefit the economy this would bring in an a lot of money in the economy. The government if they think that this is a bad thing they could increase taxes on alcoholic beverages to bring in more money. Who are we lie to we know that teens drink and most get away with it. We can’t fully enforce it so why not bring in out so that they don’t have to hide it. This would help the local business to gain more business form a one of the largest spenders in the nation which are teens. The issue of lowering the drinking age or even eliminating has always been there it has gone back and fourth for centuries. The two biggest issues are that should we lower it or should we raise it. There are both pros and cons to how we can look at it. From my point of view as an economist I think that we should lower. First point on why we should lower it that if we at age 18 are old enough to go to war and risk our life’s for this great country that they should allow us to drink. I know that this is has nothing to do with economics but this is a big reason and should not be left out. The next reason is that if we lower the drinking age the will bring a new market out. This market is that if teens drinking. The market right now that is out there for teen spending is huge and every one is trying to get into it. See in order for most business to survive they need to expend past their targeted customer in this they can compete and......

Words: 827 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Lowering the American Drinking Age April 18, 2011 Table of Contents I. Introduction- Speculation on the drinking age II. Maturity Level III. Cons against lowering the drinking age a. Students and Drinking b. Party Habits IV. Pros for lowering the drinking age c. Binge Drinking d. The Limit V. Risk VI. The American View e. Legal Responsibilities f. Government Statistics g. Capital VII. Conclusion \Abstract/Executive Summary The drinking age should be lowered and Americans should take charge and know their limit. When it comes to the subject of lowering the drinking age, many speculations have been made, both positive and negative. Ohio legislature should take into account both view points. A positive being a drastic reduction in binge drinking among the American population. A negative is the fear of higher death rates due to alcohol poisoning. Lowering the American Drinking Age The drinking age in America has been under speculation for many years now and even though the law is set for 21, there are still minors abusing their availability to the stimulant. One can argue that the law shouldn’t be 21 and should be reduced for many reasons. On the contrary others believe that it just might be the right age if not too low already. Many people disagree with lowering it because of the lack of maturity in young adults, the number of increasing injuries, deaths related to drinking alcohol,......

Words: 1314 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Lower the Legal Drinking Age to 18

...Lower the Legal Drinking Age to 18 Danielle Gonzales The government can trust those between the age of 18 and 20 to do many things, but they cannot treat them like full adults and allow them to drink alcohol. You will find that many Colleges and Universities disagree with the legal drinking age. In fact, they believe that rising the drinking age has increased the amount of ‘binge’ drinkers and only made our countries drinking problems worse. Eighty-five percent of twenty year old Americans reported that they had used alcohol. (Johnson) Two out of five said they had binged within the previous month. To ‘binge,’ is to consume five or more drinks at one time. (Engs) “The period since the twenty-one minimum drinking age took affect has been marked by a shift from beer to hard liquor,” Seaman wrote in Time “consumed not in large social settings, since that is now illegal, but furtively and dangerously in students residences. In my reporting at colleges around the country, I did not meet any presidents or deans who felt the twenty-one year age minimum helps their efforts to curb the abuse of alcohol on their campuses.” (Balk) A kid is going to drink if he or she wants to regardless whether the law says eighteen or twenty-one. In an alcohol related situation you are more likely going to hear “I don’t drink, thank you,” than “I better not, I’m not 21 yet.” When colleges and University presidents disagree with the drinking age, something has got to be done. If the drinking age...

Words: 1760 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Drinking Age

...Increasing or decreasing the legal age at which people can purchase and drink alcohol has been a controversial issue for quite some time now. Some people say that it should be lowered because teens drink anyway, some say that it should increase or the stay the same due to health risk. There are many other viewpoints to both sides and in this paper we are going to explore both sides to the story Some believe that the legal drinking age should be lowered and we are going to explore why. They say if a person can go to war, shouldn’t he or she be able to have a beer? They American society has determined that upon turning 18 teenagers become adults. This means that they can enlist into the military to serve, fight, and potentially die for their country. Most importantly at age 18 you become legally responsible for your own actions. You can buy cigarettes even though in time you know that they can give you lung cancer. You may even purchase property, sign contracts, take out a loan, vote, hold office, serve on a jury, or adopt a child. But strangely at 18, one cannot buy a beer. In most other countries, the age of majority coincides with the legal drinking or purchasing age. Lots of people drink before they turn 21, despite the current legal drinking age. Doesn’t that prove that the policy is ineffective? The trend over the past decade is that fewer 12-20 year olds are drinking, but those who choose to drink are drinking more. Between 1993 and 2001, the rate of 20 year old who...

Words: 680 - Pages: 3