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Drinking Age Cause And Effect Paper On Lowering The Drinking Age

730 words - 3 pages

Turning 18 is a major event for all Americans because they are now considered legal adults. Being a legal adult, one can legally buy tobacco products, vote in an election, own firearms, be tried as an adult in court, enlist in the armed forces, serve jury duty, and even purchase pornography. Even though one is now considered a legal adult with all of these privileges, 18 to 20 years olds are denied the right to purchase and drink alcohol.It has not always been this way. In 1984, the Uniform Drinking Age Act was passed. This law did not force all states to switch to the drinking age of 21, but threatened to decrease federal funding to each state's transportation fund if they did not comply within two years. Before this law was passed, each state varied on their drinking age from 18-21 years old. The national drinking age became a national issue when the founder of MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Cathy Lightner, claimed that 18-20 year old drinkers were causing many auto ...view middle of the document...

When the minimum drinking age was being introduced, binge drinking was actually higher in states with the 21 minimum drinking age then with ones with lower ages. Now, a 1999 Harvard survey says drinking has gotten so bad that that two out of every three underage college students drank alcohol in the past 30 days. The main reason for the introduction of the law, alcohol-related accidents, was already on the decline before the law was introduced. Even though the 18-20 age group alcohol-related crashes have nearly been cut in half since the law was introduced, every other age group has been nearly cut in half as well. (CDC)Having the minimum drinking age set so high produces some of the same effects that occurred during Prohibition. The government made the law to help curb some of the problems associated with drinking alcohol. In doing this, however, they got the opposite effect that they wanted. People responded to Prohibition by setting up secret bars and making their own alcohol. During this period, the problem the government wanted to help reduce actually got much worse.For most 18-20 year olds, getting their hands on alcohol is relatively easy. But since we make it illegal for them to drink, we force them to go to hide in private homes where the distribution of the alcohol is unrestrained. Here, there are more likely to binge because the alcohol is usually cheap or free. Having the minimum drinking age lower would help to keep much more of the consumption of alcohol out in the open where there can be restraints and guidance.Twenty years ago, it was thought that when a person became a legal adult at 18, they were responsible enough to receive all the privileges that any other adult would receive, including the consumption of alcohol. Now, because of some misleading facts, people think that 18-20 year olds are too irresponsible to drink alcohol, yet are responsible enough to do other risqué things like smoke or buy lottery tickets. This logic does not make sense. There always will be irresponsible people that will abuse alcohol, but no matter what age is set for the minimum drinking age, they will still abuse alcohol. By having the drinking age set so high, the government generalizes that all 18-20 year olds are irresponsible--depriving them of their rights as a legal adult.

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