Essay, Research Paper: Drinking Age

Legal Issues

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In the United States, it is illegal to consume alcohol until the age of
twenty-one. At the age of eighteen, a person can get married, vote, drive, take
out loans, pay taxes, buy tobacco, and be in the armed forces and die for their
country. Yet that person still can not drink alcohol. In many other countries
the drinking age is lower. It is imperative that the drinking age be lowered to
the age of eighteen. The drinking age must be lowered to the age of eighteen
because this age would be consistent with other responsibilities that the
government grants eighteen-year-olds. For instance, at the age of eighteen, a
person is liable to be in the armed forces. If a person is being trusted to
fight or even possibly die for their country, it seems a lot less crucial to
trust them with an alcoholic beverage. To add to the fact of dying for their
country, these people are being counted on to kill other humans. This seems
unreasonable that a person is liable to take on an adultís job, that involves
the future of the country, and still be unable to enjoy an activity that other
adults are allowed to participate in. If one can be expected to kill and die for
their country, then they have the maturity to look at alcohol as a social
activity to interact with peers and adults and not as a way to alter their
conscience. In addition, people fresh out of high school are bombarded by many
financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. These companies
are offering them Visa and Master Cards with up to 25% annual percentage rates
(APR). How is someone with no credit history and little or no income supposed to
take such huge financial responsibilities? They are expected to be able to take
on this burden, yet they still can not buy a six pack to get their mind off the
fact that they are in serious debt with their new credit card. Most twenty-one
year olds that own credit cards want to get drunk when they realize that they
have such enormous financial burdens, when eighteen-year-olds donít even have
this option. An eighteen-year-old can die for his country while leaving his
family to pay the 25% APR accrued by his quickly accumulated short-lived large
debt. Yet he still couldnít drink. The drinking age must be lowered because in
the majority of foreign countries, there is no distinction between a right and a
wrong age to drink. For instance, Amsterdam has no drinking age, but there are
barely any injuries that relate to alcohol by people under the age of 21. This
is because all the young teenagers know that they can drink and this leaves
nothing to rebel against, there is no hype. If something isnít prohibited, it
becomes something of less interest. Professor Craig Reinerman of University
California Santa Cruz has devoted his life to studying alcohol and drug policies
in different countries. He has found that when no boundaries are placed on the
use of alcohol, it becomes part of the normal way of life and there is no final
destination to reach if there is no age limit. In addition, Mexicoís drinking
age is lower than Americas, which increases the rate of accidents involving
alcohol. The rate of alcohol related accidents would decrease if the age limit
were the same as Mexicoís because there would be no need for teens to travel
to Mexico to get drunk. Each year many teens from America travel to Mexico to
take advantage of the young drinking age. In the act of doing this, horrible
things take place, especially rapes and kidnappings of young girls. Going to
Mexico and drinking is much more dangerous for an eighteen year old, than
drinking in America for numerous reasons. Most importantly though, Spanish is
the main language that is spoken there and if a teen is drunk and crosses paths
with a policeman, he will go to jail. This is a very scary thought to think,
because it could separate and worry schoolmates of the whereabouts of their
friend. Changing the legal drinking age in America would solve all these
problems, because the curiosity and hype would decrease dramatically. Life hits
a peek of change at the age of eighteen. There are responsibilities flying from
all directions. These responsibilities are all characteristics of adulthood, but
alcohol is considered a mid-adulthood only characteristic. It a restriction of
freedom to trust and expect so much out of a young adolescence and not let them
participate in the activity of drinking. A young adult can be left to die for
his country, but still can not give a toast to celebrate adulthood.
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