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Lowering the Drinking Age - Essay Example

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Lowering the Drinking Age

"The argument goes like this: Our current drinking age forces young people to drink in private, so binge drinking of serious alcohol is on the rise and can be deadly. Lower the drinking age and kids will choose to drink low-alcohol beer openly--and safely. Teenagers want to drink because it's a 'forbidden fruit.'" (Drinking While Young, 11) According to the proponents of lowering the drinking age, it would not be such a big issue if drinking alcohol were legal at eighteen. On the contrary, to them, it would even help in the reduction of the number of teenage drinkers as those under twenty one would be less likely to drink. Following the debates on the minimum-age laws and policy change in the United States between 1970 and 1973, half of the states in the US lowered the legal age to eighteen. "The legislation was viewed as enlightened and forward-looking. It was believed that if consuming alcohol would lose the symbolic significance of being grown-up, young people might learn to drink moderately and more wisely than their elders. Furthermore, most teenagers had been drinking anyway, despite their inability to purchase alcoholic beverages." (Cohen, 33) Therefore, the arguments in favor of lowering the drinking age are influential and these are further supported by several research evidences. However, it is also important to comprehend that the opponents of such an argument also have crucial research evidences to prove their point. They point out that there has been reported rise in binge drinking as teenagers increasingly turn to hard liquor and prove that minors cannot be allowed to drink. Therefore, this exploratory essay aims at posing the two sides of the argument on the topic 'lowering the drinking age' and attempts to make a logical conclusion on the issue.
One of the most thoroughly researched areas of social issues in the modern American society has been the controversial issue of lowering the drinking age and there have been vital researches on the Minimum Legal Drinking Age. "The Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) is the most well-studied alcohol control policy in the United States. The intention of this policy is to lower alcohol use and its associated problems among youth As a result of research evidence indicating that traffic crashes among youth increased following lowering of the legal age, a citizens' effort began urging states to raise the MLDA back to age 21." (Wagenaar and Toomey, 206) It was during the early 1970s that a trend toward lowering the MLDA to age 18, 19 or 20 was most prominent in the United States. However, following a number of research evidences proving the pitfalls of lowering drinking age, all the states established an age-21 MLDA by the year 1988. This act of increasing the drinking age across several states provided researchers with different natural experiments to evaluate the effects of these policy changes on alcohol consumption and related problems among youth. However, the debate over the MLDA has become one of the most important discussions of the day and a significant issue in this debate has been if increasing the drinking age can in reality reduce alcohol-related problems in society. In order to determine the overall ...Show more

Summary

One of the most contentious topics of the day has been regarding the lowering of the drinking age and there have been strong arguments in favor of and against the attempt to lower the legal drinking age to eighteen. The idea of lowering the drinking age has been strongly opposed by the federal safety officials while a quiet movement to lower the legal drinking age to eighteen has been taking root for some years now…
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Lowering the Drinking Age essay example
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