Minimum Drinking Age Discussion

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“The talk of many college students now is why the drinking age should be lowered to the age of eighteen, but is that really the best option. This topic is greatly influenced by social media, movies, and society norms that students see daily. The current minimum drinking age has been twenty-one for almost thirty three years now. It may not be a federal law but all states have the same minimum age in the United States. There are many reasons why the minimum drinking age has been set at twenty-one for so many years now, and why it should not be lowered any time soon. Not only are there physical and mental health benefits; there are also many public and personal safety reasons for maintaining the current standards.

For many years, the minimum drinking age was different from across the country, and along with the different ages came different challenges. “In the 1970s, 39 states lowered their minimum legal drinking age to eighteen, nineteen, or twenty. These drinking age reductions were followed by increases in motor vehicle fatalities” (Carpenter, Christopher). Due to the legal age being lowered, There was an increase in the amount of alcohol being consumed, as well as an increase in the amount of drunk drivers on the road. The drinking age does have an effect on the mortality rates and the causes of increased rates of injuries and or crimes. These rates were greatly decreased after congress gave the states an ultimatum in 1984. The states could either raise the minimum drinking age to twenty-one or lose ten percent of their funding for federal highways (Carpenter, Christopher). This act lowered the damage that could be done with lower ages and increased consumption.

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Something that has a big impact on the perception of alcohol by people in their teenage years is social media. “Commercials, society norms, and movies don’t just impact those who are allowed to drink-they also reach a more naïve audience” (Cons of Lowering). So many movies make drinking seem necessary to have fun and glamorize the need to binge drink and getting black out drunk. Teens already have access to alcohol fairly easily. If the minimum age were to be lowered there is going to be even easier access to alcohol, causing more deaths and increased alcohol problems. The culture around drinking and social media in American is so different from the drinking culture in other countries. “Other countries have cultures that are built on or around alcohol. The culture that the U.S. has creates is an ‘all or nothing’ mindset that puts Americans more at risk” (Cons of Lowering). If Americans teach greater responsibilities to children then maybe their could be a compromise, but that is going to take decades of teaching and growing. A big issue is with college students. Many students drink before events or “pre-game”, and then participate in drinking at an event by using a fake ID because that’s how college parties are in the movies. Drinking has so many social aspects tied to it. In college if you have a fake ID then you are somehow better because you have the ability to get alcohol whenever.

When teens drink it’s not for casual drinking with a beer here or there; many teens end up abusing alcohol and or binge drinking. One of the big problems with underage drinking is the damage to cells of underdeveloped brains. Binge drinking doesn’t allow the body to filter the alcohol, so what doesn’t get filtered goes to the brain as well as other parts around the body. The effects are not just a morning hangover, they can be long-term. Many parts of the brain are also damaged as a result. “The parts of the brain that control memory, speech movement and judgment” (Fox Emily). These effects create problems in school, work, and obligations. “This means that any test or studying in general will most likely not be the best work that could have gotten done” (Fox, Emily). May students will fail classes because they were out partying and drinking to much the night before a big assignment. Drinking takes away from the reason why people attend college. Its for the degree not the parties on the weekends. If the drinking age were to be lowered again, college students would attend bars and would be able to drink in the dorms creating more chances for alcohol related incidents.

The effects of drinking are both short term and long term, not just for the person drinking, but for the people around them. When a person chooses to consumer alcohol before the age of twenty-one they put themselves at a greater risk of binge drinking habits and traffic fatalities. “Lowering the minimum drinking age has effects such as increased traffic fatalities and teen suicides” (Lowering drinking). Many people end up committing suicide because they have either killed someone in a fatal car accident or have ruined their lives in other ways. Ever since the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 there has been a huge decline in the amount of alcohol related crashes. Having the higher minimum doesn’t prevent underage drinking but it lowers the chances or alcohol related problems. “…by keeping the country’s minimum drinking age at twenty-one, up to nine hundred lives are saved yearly due to a decrease number of inexperienced and intoxicated drivers” (Oberman, Eric).Nine hundred lives a year adds up quick. After five years that’s for thousand five hundred lives that could have been saved. If eighteen were to be the new minimum then kids would just start drinking at a younger age like fifteen or sixteen.”

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Minimum Drinking Age Discussion. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from