Monday, September 15, 2008

underground or above?

In the minds of many young adults across the states, turning twenty one is probably the day they can’t wait for. Why? Because of the one thing they’ll have access to once they reach that age- alcohol. Many long for the day to wake up and go to Vegas to gamble and drink the night away, and some just can’t wait. Underage drinking is a big problem in the U.S. but drunk driving is one, too. Combine the two together and you can’t really tell which is worse, can you? The “responsible” 21 year old who drank one too many beers and died in a car crash, or the 18 year old partier who got caught by the police.

What are the cons to changing the legal drinking age to eighteen? To list a few the main one would be that the number of drinkers in both high school and college will likely increase. People can easily fake eighteen rather than twenty-one, therefore making alcohol a larger constant in their life. Think about it, some seniors in high school are eighteen already, and with the combination of being able to legally buy alcohol and the number of younger peers around them, the results could lead to even more underage drinkers. People are influenced by others around them, and with their peers buying alcohol what do you think they’d want to do to fit in?

In an age where immaturity is ever so common and looking cool is the top priority for many (especially girls), a lowered drinking age will cause the headline ‘girl killed from drunk driving incident’ to frequent front pages more often.

Alcohol poisoning will probably happen left and right, and if underage drinkers start around the age of sixteen to eighteen, then won’t lowering the drinking age make even younger kids start to drink? Being able to drink legally at eighteen seems only a faraway idea to be laughed at to us. Or at least so some may believe.

I came across a webpage that had a petition for college students to sign in support of lowering the drinking age to eighteen. At first I believed that the reasons they were going to have would be idiotic and completely illegible, but when I read into it a little more I realized that some reasons were actually, well, reasonable.

Now many of you reading this are probably in support of changing the drinking age to eighteen because of the fact that you’re young and you just like to think like that. Our parents and teachers and basically everyone have told us all our lives that drinking is bad, and alcohol shouldn’t be consumed-ever. Despite the constant ragging however, teens being teens have rebelled and gone on to do what their parents forebode them to do- drink. What’s the point of a law that everyone breaks?

Perhaps lowering the drinking age may lower the pure excitement of it all. We as teens are known to want what we can’t have, and maybe if we were to have that object of our affection given to us earlier, the excitement of it all might fade away, leaving it to be nothing less of a normal thing that no one has to break the law to get.

At the age of eighteen you’re viewed as an adult. You’re allowed to get married, and you can serve your country. Thinking of the former, young couples seeking to marry at eighteen are restricted from drinking wine at their own wedding. For many this is a big disappointment. At the age of eighteen you are allowed the privilege to vote, and you are allowed to smoke, yet many think it is unfair that you can’t consume alcohol. If you’re considered an adult, why not get all the privileges they have instead of having to wait a full three years in order to get one simple add-on?

Although the numbers of seniors in high school lowered after the drinking age going up, the number of underground drinkers rose to a new level. Because they couldn’t do it that often or in public, drinking was brought to behind closed doors and underground, where the young drank as much as they could while they couldn’t get caught. Binge drinking was happening left and right; and binge drinking can lead to death. So although the drinking age at twenty-one still helps publicly, it’s the underground life that you can’t see that makes it seem horrible. Being twenty-one or eighteen doesn’t stop people from drinking themselves to the hospital or grave.

In places like Canada, provinces are allowed to choose their drinking age. The drinking age is usually between 18 and 19 and for all United States citizen studying there, going back home is like “stepping back in time”. Some college students even say that although there are reckless drunken parties, they occur less often than the ones in America.

College parties are always about alcohol and partying, but does anyone ever stop and think about the fact that most college students are underage? If a twenty-one year old person can barely handle alcohol what makes anyone think an eighteen year old can? In the end, I’m not trying to say that the drinking age should be lowered to eighteen, but that it’s not as preposterous as many of our parents may think.

reprinted with permission from original writer;

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