As of right now, the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and is 18 in some other countries. Should this number be increased? That’s a question that is hotly debated among various populations. There is evidence that supports the proposition, but is it something that anyone will see happening soon? You’ll have to decide what side of the issue you’re on and take a stand to change the age or not.
Why Increase the Age?
According to research, a person doesn’t reach physical maturity until the age of 25. That means that the brain and nervous system aren’t fully developed until that age. Because the body is still growing and changing, the effects of alcohol can be more pronounced and more dangerous than in a fully mature person. Of course, changing the legal drinking age to 25 probably won’t stop all young people from drinking, but it would make them aware of the risk they are taking by doing so.
In addition, research also shows that a higher drinking age saves lives. This is because there are fewer alcohol related traffic accidents resulting in death among young people. According to U.S. News and World Report, when New Zealand lowered its drinking age from 20 to 18, the number of fatalities due to drinking and driving went up dramatically.
Why Not Increase the Age?
Of course, the biggest drawback of raising the drinking age is that it could encourage underage drinking, especially for people who are 21 and are currently allowed to drink legally. Though some experts refute this, college kids are a prime example of populations who acquire alcohol illegally. Should one state raise their drinking age and another not, people would likely cross state lines to drink, which could lead to the risk of drunk driving and other crime.
There are also those who argue that drinking age has nothing to do with responsibility. People can vote, serve in the military, buy a house, get married and change their citizenship at the age of 18 so it seems ludicrous to tell those same people that they can’t legally buy or drink alcohol. Others say that better control of alcohol in the United States would help solve some of the problems that could arise in response to the drinking age.
What’s the Answer
Clearly, there is no good answer for the question of whether the drinking age should be increased to 25. There are strong arguments on both sides of the issue and both arguments make sense in many ways. More research is needed to link drinking age with physical maturity and how it relates to the rate of drunk driving deaths. However, one thing the experts do agree on is that people should be educated about the risks of drinking alcohol as they near the drinking age, whatever that happens to be. By helping young people understand the responsibility that goes with legal drinking and the dangers of abusing alcohol, they are better prepared to make the right choices regarding alcohol, whether legal or not.
There is no way to ensure that people under the legal drinking age are not going to drink, but there are many ways that governments, both state and federal, can help educate its citizens so that the most people possible will make the right choices and use alcohol responsibly, no matter what is finally decided about whether or not the drinking age should be increased to 25. Now it’s up to you to pick a side and help make the changes required to uphold your stance on the issue.