When Should Someone Be Allowed To Drink Alcohol?

Dr. Purushothaman
September 10, 2013

The age of consent for the use of alcohol amongst adults in America has been a constant debate since before the times of prohibition. People believe that if they are able to fight for their country at 18, then why shouldn't they be able to indulge in an alcoholic drink. There is much medical and factual support of why the age of 21 is more appropriate for individuals to engage in alcohol use.
In fact, various scientific arguments have been made that show that the body's liver and kidney function are not fully developed until early 20s, leading to the further belief that one should not drink alcohol until 21 or even 25. Each age has valid arguments, but in reality, drinking alcohol can be dangerous and must be used with certain caution and responsibility. Understand why we have the alcohol laws we have today, and why you should discourage underage drinking with all youth.
There is one major argument that always seems to arise when speaking of age of consent for drinking alcohol. If an individual has the right to vote and serve in the military, then many believe that they should also be able to consume alcohol. Many people also state that for an 18 year old, alcohol is like a "forbidden fruit", so when they head off to college, they are more likely to binge on the substance. Claims have been made that if we allow our youth to start drinking at a younger age then they will become more acclimated to the use of alcohol.
From 1970 to 1984 most states allowed people to drink at the age of 18, as a result of the war protest in the 1960s. In 1984, Ronald Regan passed the National Minimum Drinking Act to help lower drunk driving. This act required states to raise their drinking age to 21 or risk losing 10% of their state highway funding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that minimum drinking age laws have saved 18,220 lives (of all ages) since 1975.
New research is released every year concerning brain development. Studies suggest that the brain is not fully developed until the at least the age of 21. According to Regional Prevention Center, the part of the brain that controls judgment, the frontal cortex, is directly affected by brain maturation. When one's judgment is not fully developed and alcohol is added to the scenario, they are much more likely to involve themselves in risk taking activities, such as drunk driving. Also, alcohol abuse can cause irreversible damage during these crucial developmental periods.
When lowering the alcohol age, we are not only allowing 18 year olds access to alcohol but also the friends of these youthful 18 year olds, in many cases included teenagers across the board. Consider this scenario. A senior in high school turns 18 and buys alcohol for an entire high school party which includes 16 and 17 year olds. Now, we have a scenario where already irresponsible drivers are now intoxicated.
Not only is a teenager not prepared for alcoholic beverages physically, but mentally when a person begins abusing. Although alcohol abuse continues to be a major problem in today's society, allowing younger individuals to legally consume this substance is not going to improve the situation.
Even with the drinking age at 21 years old, there are more and more instances of individuals needing alcohol rehab and abusing it.

Article Source: http://goarticles.com/article/When-Should-Someone-Be-Allowed-To-Drink-Alcohol/6145189/

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