Alcohol Should Not Be Legalized At Age 18 Term Paper

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Legal Age for Alcohol Consumption Laws are established for the legal age of alcohol consumption in order to attend to the best interests of both youth and society at large. With exposure to such influences as music, television, movies, and peers, youth are under pressure to behave in certain ways and partake in certain activities to be perceived as being "cool." Alcohol consumption among young people may be seen as a way to loosen up, fit in, or even possibly as a sign of rebellion against parents, teachers, and figures of authority in general.

It is often difficult for youth to know their limits and exactly how much alcohol they can consume and yet still be somewhat "in control." This results in increased risks of alcohol poisonings, drunk driving, and in some cases death among the adolescent population. Therefore, with the well being of youth and society in mind, it would not be advantageous for lawmakers to lower the legal age for alcohol consumption to eighteen years of age. Several issues contribute to the reasoning behind this position, including adolescents' lack of maturity, increased risk of criminal activity associated with alcohol consumption, the link between alcohol consumption at a young age and illicit drug use, as well as the high rate of alcohol related deaths among young people. In combination, these factors overwhelmingly point to the need for a high legal age for alcohol consumption.

It may be argued that adolescents in their late teens do not have appropriate reasoning skills and maturity...

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Adults have a better understanding of the reasons for which they consume alcohol, and how their bodies react to certain types and amounts of alcohol. Youths, on the other hand, are still in the "experimenting stage," at which they are testing the boundaries of their bodies' reactions to alcohol. In this case, alcohol could be viewed as a dangerous weapon, which may have devastating effects in combination with driving or sexual activity. Adolescents may not be able to effectively make decisions under the influence of alcohol due to the diminished inhibitions that result from drinking. Experimentation and peer pressure also leads to binge drinking, which could have serious effects on health, including alcohol poisoning and even death. The sense of invincibility that adolescents have in their late teens leads youth to not think that anything bad could happen to them.
Due to the immaturity and lack of reasoning skills demonstrated by adolescents in their late teens, it is crucial for the legal age of consumption to be 21 rather than eighteen. Although the difference in age is only three years, a lot of maturation and responsibility is gained in this short time span. Often young adults have completed or nearly completed college in these three years, or have taken on the responsibility of a full time job. Many young adults move out of their parents' homes and establish their own lives that they must support independently through earning an income and behaving in a responsible manner. This increase in responsibility and maturity translates into a better understanding of the consequences yielded by one's actions and better decision-making. A twenty-one-year-old is better equipped through life experience to make responsible decisions regarding alcohol consumption than an eighteen-year-old is.

There is a significant association between alcohol consumption and criminal behavior, which is evident especially among young adults (Richardson & Budd, 2003). Binge drinking among youth has been cited as a major problem among youth, and young adults have most often been associated with alcohol-related crime in cities with popular entertainment districts (Richardson & Budd, 2003). Binge drinking, especially among males aged 18- to 24, is statistically related to criminal behavior.…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Hot topic: Underage teen drinking." Website of Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. http://www/house.gov/roybal-allard/ht_underage.htm.

Statistics: Underage drinking." SADD Online. http://www.saddonline.com/stats.htm.

Survey says: Teen alcohol use on the rise." The Citizen: The 6th Area Support Group Online Newspaper 30.10 May 22, 2001. http://www.stuttgart.army.mil/community/citizen/2001/0522/surveys.htm.

Richardson, A. & Budd, T. "Young adults, alcohol, crime and disorder." Criminal Behavior and Mental Health 13.1 (2003): 5-16.


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