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United States

The Ideal Drinking Age

March 21, 2016

    Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol related deaths every year (Alcohol Facts and Statistics).  In 2013, 697,000 adolescents ages twelve through seventeen had an Alcohol Use Disorder AUD (Alcohol Facts and Statistics). The current, legal drinking age is twenty-one years old, yet underage teenagers continue to drink. If adolescents will drink regardless of the law, why keep the law at twenty-one? Six percent of countries` legal drinking age is twenty-one, while eighty-three percent of countries are under twenty-one (Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age?). Drinking alcohol is a fun, relaxing, and festive activity that seventy percent of Americans participate in (Alcohol Facts and Statistics). Studies show that around eighty percent of college students use alcohol (Alcohol Use in College). On average, freshman and sophomores are drinking minors, so this means forty percent of college students drink illegally. Because drinking is illegal for highschool students and most underclass college students, they not only drink for fun, but they also drink for the thrill of rebelling. By decreasing the legal drinking age from twenty-one, to eighteen, government will save money, colleges will be able to establish safer ways for students to drink, and teenagers will no longer drink only for the rush of breaking the law.
    In 2006, alcohol misuse cost the United States $223.5 billion. Say the US had zero dollars spent for alcohol misuse every year. Imagine where that money could go to instead. It could go towards improving education, improving the military, donating to medical research, etc. One way to decrease the economic burden is to lower the drinking age. Parents would feel comfortable teaching their children how to drink safely and responsibly, because other parents would not judge them now that the law says drinking at eighteen is allowed. If parents could teach their children how to drink instead of allowing them to learn at parties, then their younglings would know the right way to drink. Whether people start drinking in high school or college, whichever way they are taught to drink is the way they will most likely drink the rest of their lives. This means, if everyone was taught to drink safely and responsibly and to drink for the right reasons, then there will be less alcohol misuse spendings, because everyone will drink responsibly. Drinking should be legal at age eighteen, so that people can learn the right way to drink at an early, youthful age.
    If the drinking age were eighteen, teenagers would not feel a need to binge drink only to fit in.  When people watch “popular” kids drinking irresponsibly, they may think that it looks cool, so they might follow in the popular group’s footsteps. If it were legal, then there would be no rebelling, which would ensure that adolescents only drink for the sake of having a fun, relaxing, carefree time. At age eighteen, people are easily influenced. Also, if it is legal for every student in college to drink, then colleges could establish more programs about safe-drinking. 1,825 college students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four die from alcohol-related injuries every year (Alcohol Use in College).To ensure a safer environment, colleges could create seminars on how to safely drink, and medical staff and security working side by side with students to promote their safety, instead of punishing students for breaking the law. The more services a college has for the sake of keeping their students safe, the less alcohol related deaths would occur. A lower legal drinking age would be beneficial for the sake of safety.
    Many Americans believe the drinking age should be twenty-one, and some people even think drinking should not be legal as a whole. Because of the high number of deaths, and the brain damage drinking can cause, people deem drinking as a bad thing for society. Yes, there are 88,000 people who die from alcohol in a given year, but so what? This number seems low compared to the 1.3 million people who die from car crashes every year (Annual Global Road Crash Statistics). Is America going to make driving illegal? No. Also, if eighteen year olds are allowed to risk their lives in the army, they should be allowed to risk their lives drinking. It should be their decision what they do, after all, they are legal adults in America. Like stated earlier, if parents teach their children how to drink, the future generations will know how to drink responsibly. Studies show that one drink a day or so is beneficial health wise. How dangerous people claim drinking is can only be measured based on how much people drink. There are pros to drinking; having fun, feeling relaxed, celebrating, feeling carefree, losing stress, health benefits, and enjoying good, quality taste. If eighteen year olds enjoy the rights as Americans to vote, join the army, marry, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, then they should also be allowed to drink.
    For many reasons, eighteen years olds should be allowed to legally drink. Not only do they deserve to because it is fun, and because they can participate in other adult-feelings activities at that age, but also lowering the drinking age would be beneficial for America. Learning how to safely drink, preventing bad influence from other adolescents, and saving money, are all ways that lowering the drinking age could help. Why waste money on patrolling underage drinking if teenagers will drink whether it is legal or illegal? If eighteen year olds are considered American adults, then they deserve all the rights an American adult has. Drinking with friends at parties, drinking while celebrating family events, drinking at dinner to taste the full potential of the meal, are all activities that teenagers are deprived from, so instead teenagers drink illegally, dangerously, and rebelliously. The United States should follow in the footsteps of eighty percent of countries, and lower the drinking age.

Works Cited
"Alcohol Facts and Statistics." Alcohol Facts and Statistics. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
"Alcohol Use in College." Alcohol Use in College. Villanova, 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
"Drinking Age" ProConorg Headlines. 10 Mar. 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.
"Road Crash Statistics." Road Crash Statistics. Association For Safe International Road Travel.
Web. 21 Mar. 2016.


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