Law Sample Essay Paper on Changing the US Nations Drinking Age

Changing the US Nations Drinking Age

The enactment of strict laws on alcohol consumption in America began centuries ago. In the early 1900’s the government saw alcohol consumption as a social problem, it followed that in 1919 the 18th amendment was passed barring alcoholism throughout the United States. This amendment forced all alcohol related activities be it buying or selling underground as a result causing the crime rate to rise radically throughout the nation. Due to the rise in of all the problems caused by the 1919 act changes were needed, later in 1923 the 23rd amendment reversed the 18th amendment ending the prohibition of alcohol from the US. Nonetheless, on July the 17th 1984, the United States Congress passed another law on alcohol consumption ‘The National Minimum Drinking Age Act’.

The law forcefully urged all States to raise their Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) to 21 within twenty-four months or lose a percentage of their Federal-aid highway reserves. The law additionally encouraged States, through motivation grants packages, to pass obligatory criminal laws to fight drunk driving. Currently, the US is one of only a few nations globally with a MLDA as high as 21 years sharing this similarity with Indonesia, Palau, as well as Mongolia. However, a research by Prof. Ruth C. Engs has shown that College campuses and young Americans across the nation continue to have a problem with issues of underage drinking. Due to the special interest in the matter as shown by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, this paper highlights on the issues of lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 years.

A majority of young Americans still struggle to accept the reason as to why the country has a high MLDA. Mike Males (1996) through his article suggests that “the political failure of general Prohibition meant that American adults would increasingly focus justifications for alcohol policy less on the perils of drunkenness and more on the tenuous concept that adults can drink properly but youths cannot or should not” (p. 190). The above statement stands true to reason, as recent the research by Prof. Ruth revealed that many collage scholars and teenagers believe that individuals 18 years and older are legally referred to as adults. Therefore, they should be treated similarly by being permitted to legally purchase as well as consume alcohol. The research moreover highlighted that instead of them concentrating on alcohol related issues for instance Driving Under The influence (DUIs) and binge drinking hazards such as, alcohol poisoning as well as alcohol related fatalities in teenagers, many young Americans are fighting the law. “I support the idea of lowering the drinking age for several reasons, but it all boils down to respect. When a person turns 18, he or she can enter into contracts, pay taxes, do business, get married, bear arms, and fight overseas to protect our national interests. It is simply disrespectful to tell that same person that they can’t handle a cold beer when they come home” (Dirk Johnson, 2008, A16)

Supporters of a high MLDA believe that teens are not mature enough to consume or purchase alcoholic beverages. Many Americans who feel that the drinking age should not be lowered suggest that young teenagers right out of high school are not fully mature even though most of them think they are prepared to face the ‘real world’ hence they can make their own choices in life(Stefan, 2013, p. 23). They further state that at such a young age there is so much around these teens’ environment that influences their everyday judgements, considering that some decisions last a lifetime (p. 24). Their basis is founded on the factor that with all the influences, pre-mature students make thoughtless decisions and are not responsible enough to be allowed to drink as adults. On the other hand, these same individuals believe that at this age of many influences the same high school graduates should and are able to make all kinds of major decisions such assigning up in the military or earning employment, voting, acquiring homes, cars plus other major items, as well as having their own bank accounts. It is unfounded and ironical to reason in such a way, allowing these same immature individuals to make major decisions such as fight in wars and vote in political elections at the age of eighteen but not drink. In other words, government believes that teens are responsible and able to make such serious choices but considers them children when it comes to drinking alcohol.

Lowering the MLDA will reduce teen curiosity. The current society, views teenage drinking as a taboo believing that alcohol can only damage a young mind. Therefore, a number of teenagers cultivate a curiosity about alcohol when they are on their own, as they would wish to drink with their peers. The forbidden fast becomes the desired, instigating teenagers under the MLDA to sneak around to acquire alcohol. Lowering the MLDA to eighteen similar to the age when teens have the right to make other major choices should reduce or reduce the occurrences of curious teenagers trying alcohol when they are first on their own. By lowering the drinking age, “the law simply allows for parents to educate and supervise the youthful drinking. If they’re going to drink anyhow, it’s better to do it with the parents than to sneak around” (Stefan, 2013 p.35).

            In most other cultures and countries, the drinking age is lower than twenty-one, and the young people in these nations drink alcoholic beverages with their families at an early age. In several European states, teens are involved in wine tasting and learn how to deal with the consequences of alcohol as well as how to conclude when they are under the effect in a safe environment with their families. As drinking alcohol is socially okay in these states, fewer children cultivate an unhealthy curiosity of drinking and consequently make wise choices concerning drinking as well as driving or drinking beyond what one can handle. In this open setting, persistent communication improves between parent and child. Teenage drinking in college is unavoidable as most teens experience a parent free existence. A decrease in MLDA would afford teenagers with the capability to talk to their parents about drinking devoid of a feeling of shame. More significantly, teenagers would learn the consequences of alcohol in an intimate setting where they would be overseen by their parents hence preparing them for collage settings where they would be self-supervised.

Health disorders have always been used as a supporter of a high MLDA. The biggest challenge in lowering the US drinking age is that lobbyers of the prohibition suggest that the biggest health hazard of drinking under MLDA is that the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed. If someone begins to drink before it is fully developed at age 21, the cortex can be damaged, thus leaving the person’s decision reasoning at that of a teenager for the rest of his or her life. However, this is illogical since even past the age of 21 health issues in relation to uncontrolled alcoholism exist. For instance, individuals who drink heavily go through depression symptoms (Elizabeth, & Carter, 2011 p. 235). Additionally, drinking large quantities of alcohol frequently could cause cancer of the alimentary canal as well as of the liver, damage to heart muscles, cardiac arrest, and high blood pressure. In other words, excessive drinking is the problem, not age when it comes to health issues (p. 236).

In conclusion, the government through history has placed stringent laws on the legal purchase and consumption of alcohol. However, these laws have in away failed to explain their existence while standing ironic to logic. Maturity has been the main point that explains the laws, however it does not make sense to stop young Americans from drinking since they are not ready for such responsibilities yet allow them to vote, fight in wars own cars and credit account in addition to making career choices that are more  accountable. Furthermore, research has shown that lowering the drinking age reduces many risks faced by young Americans in regards to alcohol drinking perils.

Works cited

Johnson, Dirk “Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking.” New York Times 15 November 2008: A16

Kiesbye, Stefan. Should the Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered? Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Print.

Males, Mike A. The Scapegoat Generation: America’s War on Adolescents. Monroe, Main: Common

             Courage Press, 1996

Prof. Ruth C. Engs. “Why the drinking age should be lowered: An opinion based on research.”  Drinking

               on Campus. 8 March 1998. Web. 13 April 2011

Williams, Elizabeth M, and Stephanie J. Carter. The A-Z Encyclopedia of Food Controversies and the

               Law. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood/ABC-CLIO, 2011. Print.