Controversy Concerning Adult Drinking Age
Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States” (“Alcohol and Public Health’). Researchers have argued that drinking alcoholic beverages has not stopped teens, except it caused them to spree drink in secret and less guarded environments, resulting in beside health problems and life-threatening behavior. As teens grow into adolescence they are becoming more independent. Teens that binge drink are experimenting with new things and taking a risk as they grow into adulthood. Binge drinking can lead to health problems and life-threatening behaviors like heart diseases, strokes, cancer, liver disease, and alcohol poisoning. “In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which required states to raise their ages for purchase and public possession to 21 by October 1986 or lose 10% of their federal highway funds. … South Dakota and Wyoming were the final two states to comply with the age 21 mandate” (“Legal Drinking Age”). While the National Minimum Drinking Age Act (MLDA) has been established around the whole country, most states are making their own laws leading up to lowering the drinking age. This controversy is huge in the USA with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving supporting the MLDA act. Organizations like Choose Responsibility and the National Youth Rights Association, who are in favor of lowering the drinking age, because they believe that eighteen years can make their own decisions and suffer the consequences. The Choose Responsibility and the National Youth Rights Association groups are against what the MLDA act and the MADD stand for. The drinking age should be lowered from twenty-one years old to eighteen years old in the United States because when you are eighteen years old you are automatically a contributing adult in the country. Admittedly, many like the Mothers Against Drunk Driving association would argue the drinking age should not be lowered, because it would prevent fewer teens from drunk driving, gaining an easier access to alcohol for minors, and interfering with the development of the brain.
Additionally, doctors have proven that “when alcohol consumption interferes with this early adult brain development, the potential for chronic problems such as greater vulnerability to addiction, dangerous risk-taking behavior, reduced decision-making ability, memory loss, depression, violence, and suicide is greater”(Bonnie). “In the 30 years since MLDA 21 was introduced, drunk driving fatalities decreased by a third”(“Drinking Age Procon”). To summarize, many who support the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, believe that the fewer people drinking alcohol lower the rates of traffic accidents caused by driving under influence. Indeed, many believe the National Minimum Drinking Age Act is beneficial. However, others believe there are many strong reasons for lowering the drinking age to eighteen years old, while the MLA act prevents fewer teens from drunk driving, the drinking age should be lowered from twenty-one years old to eighteen years old in the United States, because enlisting in the military can result in getting injured or worse yet death. when purchasing an Armalite rifle gun (AR-15) and harm humans and animals, as well as owning a credit card or a loan which can result in many debts and bad credit score. “According to a federal study titled Monitoring the Future, the percentage of high school seniors who consume alcohol at least monthly has fallen from 70 percent to 45 percent from 1977-2007. The same study also found that the number of fatal car accidents involving underage drinking has dropped 32 percent.” (“The Reflector Online”). Initially, as an eighteen-year-old to obtain a credit card or a loan a person must prove that they are independent enough to pay their bills. Owning a credit card is risky because a person can earn many debts and ruin their credit score, if not used responsibly. For instance, “A research by Sallie Mae recovered 85 percent of college students owned debit cards, compared to 56 percent who had credit cards.” (Gonzalez).
On average borrower of student loans aged twenty to thirty-year-old pay $351. Likewise, “Forty-three percent of eighteen to twenty-year-old own a credit card and According to the Pew Research Center, nearly four out of ten U.S. adults between ages 18 and 30 have student loan debt.” (Cilluffo). For those ages 18 to 24, it’s no surprise that student loans are the highest source of debt (28 percent), followed by credit card balances.”(Leonhardt). “Research has shown the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off his or her loans. “Under federal income-based repayment options, the remaining debt is forgiven after 20 years” (“Student Loan Expectations”). “One of the generations that has the lowest credit score of 631 are adults that were born from 1996 to the years the 2000s” (“Average Credit Score”). Based on this research, having debts and bad credit score are major issues that are not good to have as an eighteen-year-old. In summation, if eighteen-year-olds accepts the responsibility to risk their credit score and have a debt, why can’t they consume alcohol, if they are considered an adult that needs to be responsible enough to obtain a credit card and receive a loan. Furthermore, the drinking age should be lowered because if an eighteen can serve in the army and possibly face death or get injured. When volunteering in the military the recruit must do a basic training, which can last 10 or more weeks, joining the army requires them to be physically and mentally strong. To profusely illustrate, “There is close to 1.4 million people serving in the U.S. armed forces, according to the latest numbers from the Defense Manpower Data Center, a body of the Department of Defense. That means that 0.4 percent of the American population is active military personnel” (Mona). “In 2008, a research showed that around 537,187 male and females ages 18 to 24 have joined the armed forces” (Youth Indicators). Obviously, many serious factors to consider before joining the military; a person must make the commitment to sign away four or more years of their life, be on call 24 hours a day on or off duty for their entire enlistment and be separated from their loved ones. As a result, entering the military is dangerous because recruits need to sign away their lives to defend their country and die or get injured in the process. In summation, if joining the military presents this amount of risk and danger to eighteen years old, why can they have a drink? Ultimately, an eighteen-year-old should be capable to purchase alcohol at this age because they are considered an adult that have rights and responsibilities. In most states, one of the rights an eighteen-year-old has is that they can purchase an assault rifle (AR-15), which is a hazardous object for a teen to have. One of the most talked about shooting that happened at the start of two thousand eighteen, done by a nineteen-year-old was the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting at Parkland, Florida, with seventeen deaths and fifteen injured people. Similarly, “in 2016, a 19-year-old in Washington state opened fire at a house party with his legally purchased AR-style rifle, killing three people, including his ex-girlfriend.” As well as, “on December 14, 2012, a twenty-year-old in Newtown, Connecticut, opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School killing 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on his mother and himself” (Deadliest Mass Shootings). “21,101 people under the age of 21 were shot by guns. 3,265 died from those gunshot wounds. One of these deaths, 1,925 were classified as homicides, 1,145 as suicides, and 122 as the result of unintentional shootings” (Anderson). “Firearms were used in 41% of suicide deaths among individuals under age 21 in 2014. Based on data from the FBI, 18 – to 24-year-olds account for a disproportionate percentage of arrests for homicide and violent crime in general” (Minimum Age to Purchase).
Therefore, if an eighteen-year-old has the right to possess an assault rifle which is a hazardous object that can end their own and someone else’s life, why is it illegal for them to purchase or possess alcohol. In conclusion, the drinking age should be lowered from twenty-one years old to eighteen years old in the United States, because an eighteen-year-old is considered an adult that has a right to purchase an assault rifle, volunteer for the military and own a credit card or loan. Research has proved that purchasing a gun, owning a credit card or loan and enlisting in the military is far more dangerous than drinking alcohol. In general, enlisting in the military requires soldiers to sign away their lives to protect their country, which can result in an injury or death. When an eighteen-year-old purchases an Armalite rifle gun (AR-15), if they are not in the right mental state they could harm people lives. Along with, when owning a credit card or a loan if a person is not smart and responsible enough they will have a large amount of debt that they will have to pay for the rest of their life. Lowering the drinking age to eighteen-year-old will benefit the United States, by reducing binge drinking and ending peer pressure to drink excess. If the drinking age is lowered to eighteen-year-old, alcohol will be introduced by parents and they will have no choice but to educate their children to drink more responsibly, making drinking at this age seem less of a taboo.