The Drinking Age Should Be Abolished Essay

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The Drinking Age Should Be Abolished Essay, Research Paper The Hands of the Citizens We have a problem with alcohol in the United States. Kids abuse it, adults misuse it, and our drinking age of 21 is supposed to help the situation. The drinking age is not only failing to help alcohol abuse; it actually adds to the crisis. The age restriction on drinking, which perpetuates alcohol as a forbidden fruit, should be abolished to protect justice and safety in our society. First, instead of strict laws, we need to develop a communal policy to educate our children. Secondly, education should be accompanied by openness in family and society, an openness that would allow kids to try alcohol in safe, responsible environments. The spirit behind the criminalization of alcohol in this

country is that drinking provokes atypical excitement and causes drunkenness. But as we learned the hard way during prohibition, alcohol cannot be taken out of society ?it has always been there. How many people become alcoholics because they never learned a safe, responsible way to drink? A German family consumes more beer in a year than milk. In France, small children sit down to a glass of wine with their dinners. As James Griffioen, editorial writer for the Western Michigan University student newspaper, puts it, ?If we could take alcohol out of America’s moral dungeon, perhaps we could begin to free those who are chained to it.? Those in favor of the current drinking age don?t feel children and teenagers are responsible enough to handle alcohol?s effects. Parents are afraid

for their children and believe a strict anti-drinking policy is the answer. Adults assume that universally restricting access to alcohol will quash children?s curiosity. Consequently, the government has taken the easy way out by assuming a hard-line stance, with a high drinking age and firm punishments for children and teens who engage in normal, adolescent experimentation. The consequences of such a strict policy are harmful and deadly. Since most kids are not allowed to drink alcohol with their parents (which would be a controlled environment, presumably), they do it with their friends. The difficulty in obtaining the alcohol and finding a place to consume it makes binge drinking more appealing, since kids feel they need to get all they can out of a night of drinking.

Additionally, kids are not well educated on how much alcohol is too much. They are taught that ?1 beer = 1 shot = 1 glass of wine?, but they don?t know what that means in the practical sense. So kids sneak around behind their parents? backs, lie about drinking, and maybe even steal the alcohol. They drink in an environment of uncertainty, an environment rich with the negative influences of peer pressure and adolescent rebellion. Kids drink to the point of sickness, and the threat of alcohol poisoning becomes greater and greater. Maybe some of their friends have heard about alcohol poisoning at school and know that a person should be taken to the hospital, but often times they choose to gamble with their friends? lives so they won?t get in trouble. Proponents of the law use drunk

driving to further their argument. They boast statistics that show lowered drunk driving rates since the increase of the drinking age from eighteen to twenty one. However, drunk driving has declined for all age groups, suggesting that this law may not have been the only factor. What about drunk driving? Would abolishing the drinking age increase the number of drunken teens on the road? There would definitely be young people who would abuse the privilege of no drinking age. But the number of abuses would lessen in time. There are many responsible 19-year-olds; at the same time there are plenty of irresponsible 22-year-olds. It is unfortunate that in ?The Land of the Free,? young people must take on the responsibilities of adults, yet are denied the opportunity to make such a