Friday, December 9, 2011

Help Save Our Teens

A commentary article regarding lowering the drinking age to 18 instead of 21 was posted on Nov. 29th by Alex Cheyenne on “Newbies for Government.”  This issue has been debated for a long time.  Many opposed and several agree.  All 50 states have set their minimum drinking age to 21 although exceptions do exist on state-by-state basis for consumption at home, under adult supervision, for medical necessity, and other reasons.  Proponents of lowering the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) from 21 argue that it has not stopped teen drinking, and has instead pushed underage binge drinking into private and less controlled environments, leading to more health and life-endangering behavior by teens.  Opponents of lowering the MLDA argue that teens have not yet reached an age where they can handle alcohol responsibly, and thus are more likely to harm or even kill themselves and others by drinking prior to 21.
I believe that lowering the drinking age will actually cause more harm than good.  Teens are simultaneously undergoing physical changes, peer pressure, and new situations and urges, allowing them to consume alcohol can make them more vulnerable to drug and substance abuse, unplanned and unprotected sex, depression, violence, and other social ills.  The earlier a person begins alcohol use, the greater the chances are of that person becoming an alcoholic later in life, suffering negative physical withdrawal symptoms, and harming his/her brain during its development.  According to research, raising the MLDA back to 21 has decreased the percentage of fatal traffic accidents for those between 18 to 20 by 13% and has saved approximately 21,887 lives from 1975-2002.  I agree with Alex that they should not lower the drinking age to 18.  These teens are the future of our country and we need to make sure that we are guiding them on the right path.  Lowering the drinking age, based on previous experience from other states actually did more harm that good because of the increased of traffic fatalities.  We need to look at the facts and make a wise decision to better help the future of our country.

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