Many Americans Support The Drinking Age Theology Religion Essay Example
Many Americans Support The Drinking Age Theology Religion Essay Example

Many Americans Support The Drinking Age Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2469 words)
  • Published: October 1, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Although many Americans support the legal drinking age of 21, this perspective is not always shared in college towns. It is undeniable that excessive and reckless drinking occurs within campus dorms, fraternities, and residence halls. However, I believe that maintaining a drinking age of 21 either exacerbates or has no impact on this issue. Numerous articles defend the age requirement while disregarding evidence supporting lowering the drinking age. I urge readers to consider alternative perspectives on addressing this problem.

Some argue for keeping the drinking age at 21 in America, but I believe it should be lowered because 18-year-olds can demonstrate responsibility like those who are 21. Additionally, reducing the drinking age would be more effective in addressing college drinking compared to current approaches.

Critics may assert that colleges with strong fraternity presence contribute significantly to underage drinking problems. In her arti


cle "Choose Accountability: Keep the legal U.S. drinking age at 21," Linda Degutis presents facts showing that schools prioritizing academics over Greek life and sports have fewer issues when alcohol is prohibited. According to Degutis, researchers have discovered that college students who attend schools with strong alcohol cultures, lenient enforcement policies, and easy access to alcoholic beverages are more likely to engage in heavy drinking behavior.Colleges that enforce alcohol restrictions and provide substance-free housing have lower levels of excessive drinking, while campuses that prioritize intercollegiate athletics and fraternity and sorority life tend to have higher rates of binge drinking. This suggests that colleges play a significant role in discouraging alcohol abuse among students, but it is likely that colleges with fraternities experience increased drinking due to lenient anti-drinking laws. While the presence of fraternities or stricter

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monitoring can reduce the occurrence of drinking, it does not eliminate it completely. Merely reducing the numbers through enforcement measures should not be considered a success. Colleges should either take strict actions such as closing liquor stores and conducting frequent raids on apartments and residence halls, or consider lowering the legal drinking age. According to Jack Hitt's book "The Battle of the Binge," Ohio University banned drinking but still has a 60% rate of orgies among students (Hitt 2). Lowering the legal drinking age would make more sense because problems with drinking persist when half the campus can legally purchase alcohol. Fraternities, like residence halls and apartments, bring together people of different ages which can lead to minors obtaining alcohol if someone who is legally allowed chooses to drink. Instead of blaming fraternities, it is important to recognize that the mistake lies in maintaining a drinking age of 21.According to a study mentioned in the article, college students aged 18-22 find it easiest to obtain alcohol through older friends/acquaintances (Fabian 19). This indicates that when students attend university, they have more straightforward access to alcoholic beverages due to being surrounded by peers of similar age and less supervision. Whether or not the legal drinking age is lowered, colleges will always offer opportunities for students to engage in activities previously restricted at home. Degutis suggests focusing on why college students feel compelled to excessively consume alcohol rather than solely targeting fraternities, as data shows they drink more than their non-college peers. One possible reason for this could be the newfound freedom and lack of consequences when away from home. Moreover, college students can easily find places

where they can drink and have someone legally able purchase alcohol on their behalf. Despite regulations or campaigns against drinking on campus, it is inevitable that half of legal-aged students will supply alcohol for those unable to purchase it legally. If the drinking age remains unchanged, this issue should be reevaluated.Degutis states that there has been an 11% decrease in alcohol-related traffic fatalities among individuals aged 15 to 20 since the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21. However, Miron and Tetelbaum argue in their article "Does the Minimum Drinking Age Save Lives?" that factors other than the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) could be responsible for the significant decline in traffic deaths over the past fifty years. They point out advancements in accident avoidance and crash protection features of cars, which began in 1969, may have played a major role. Table 13 from Crandall et al.(1986) provides evidence supporting this claim by displaying various federal safety standards implemented starting from the 1968 model year. According to Miron and Tetelbaum, most of these safety measures were present by 1970, resulting in more than thirty additional safety features not found in earlier car models. While reducing the drinking age to 18 might have contributed to decreasing accidents, it is crucial to consider alternative explanations rather than solely attributing it to this factor. In Wechsler's article "Will increasing Alcohol Availability By Lowering the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Decrease Drinking and Related Consequences Among Youths?", he suggests that lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 may not necessarily lead to an increase in drunk drivers on the streets. Wechsler opposes lowering the drinking age, stating that

it would worsen America's drinking problem.The text discusses various viewpoints on the legal drinking age and its effects on college communities. The author criticizes the Amethyst Initiative, a movement seeking to lower the drinking age, while disagreeing with Wechsler's stance on college bar entry laws. Although underage individuals are restricted from purchasing and consuming alcohol, some college communities have local rules allowing 18-20 year olds to enter bars. Wechsler argues that this leads to easy access to alcohol and disruptive behavior due to excessive drinking. However, being in a public location like a bar provides more safeguards compared to unsupervised drinking at off-campus residences. One important aspect of this debate is the "forbidden-fruit" effect where students are fascinated by their newfound access to alcohol. In contrast to Europe where underage drinking is less restricted, limited availability of alcohol for minors in America creates uncertainty about when they can drink again, leading them to engage in binge-drinking for full experience of its effects.If alcohol were easily accessible for students, the desire for excessive drinking would be reduced because the allure of forbidden-fruit would diminish. This can be compared to someone who hasn't eaten in a week and is presented with food, leading them to overeat due to uncertainty about their next meal. The same principle applies to students who crave alcohol but face legal restrictions. In college environments where opportunities for student drinking abound, it is reasonable for the government to provide legal and safe spaces for consumption as a means of discouraging excessive drinking.

Some argue that individuals will still desire excessive drinking regardless, just as there are people who speed or neglect using turn signals

while driving; instances of excessive drinking will always exist. However, by reducing the drinking age and combating the forbidden-fruit syndrome, a majority of non-drinkers can be dissuaded from indulging in alcohol excessively.

Marshall Poe supports this idea in his article "The Drinking Game," advocating for lowering the drinking age to eighteen. He acknowledges opposing arguments calling for prevention from the start but argues that lowering the age is the most effective solution to address the drinking problem. Furthermore, Poe strengthens this argument by discussing how the concept of adulthood has changed since World War 1.In the 1930s, there was a case in New York where the drinking age was eighteen, while neighboring states had it set at 21. Teenagers from those states would travel into New York to legally drink and often died in car accidents on their way back. This issue went unnoticed or disregarded until 1955 when Florence "Flo" Dwyer, an Assemblywoman in New Jersey who later became a Congresswoman, brought it to attention. In February of that same year, she traveled to Albany to advocate for children's rights and urge New York to raise its drinking age (Poe 16). Every year, fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired teenage drivers from out-of-state were legally allowed to drink resulting in these accidents (Poe 16). Opponents of the drinking age often use this incident or negative consequences experienced by states that lowered their drinking age in the seventies as examples (Poe 16). However, those against lowering the drinking age fail to consider the allure of alcohol when it is forbidden. As previously mentioned, college students engage in binge drinking due to uncertainty and the same effect occurs here.

The United States reduced the drinking age to eighteen which resulted in numerous accidents. This outcome was predicted as it was a consequence of something new and radical.Similar to the 1930s in New York, individuals who wanted to legally drink at eighteen would go to neighboring states where it was allowed. They saw this as an opportunity to acquire something forbidden. There was high demand but limited supply due to neighboring states maintaining a higher drinking age. In his article titled "Drinking is Fun and There's Nothing You Can Make About It," Fennel Reginald argues that despite statistics showing that 29.3% of young people aged 12-20 reported drinking in the past month in 2003, the policy of prohibiting alcohol for those under 21 continues. Reginald suggests that simply removing the supply of alcohol without addressing the demand will worsen the problem, comparing it to failed alcohol prohibition. He believes action should be taken to make alcohol accessible, similar to what happened during prohibition. While there may be concerns about lowering the drinking age, such as drinking and driving issues in New York, Reginald acknowledges challenges when implementing significant changes like this. He predicts that some students may misuse their newfound freedom, leading to potential problems. However, he suggests that over time, as drinking becomes more accepted in American society, instances of drinking and driving accidents should decrease.In response to concerns about potential long-lasting negative effects or an increase in drunk driving accidents, I suggest implementing Russian zero-tolerance DUI laws.In his article titled "Drinking is Fun and There's Nothing You Can Make About It," Fennel Reginald argues that despite statistics indicating that 29.3% of young people

aged 12-20 reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days in 2003, the policy of prohibition for those under 21 persists.
Reginald suggests that removing the supply of alcohol without addressing the demand will only exacerbate the problem, drawing parallels with failed alcohol prohibition.
He believes action should be taken to provide access to alcohol similar to what occurred during prohibition.
Despite potential concerns about the consequences of lowering the drinking age, similar to the issue of drinking and driving in New York, Reginald acknowledges that there will always be challenges when implementing such a significant change.
He anticipates that some students may abuse this newfound freedom, leading to potential problems.
However, he suggests that over time, as drinking becomes more accepted in American society, instances of drinking and driving accidents should decrease.
Nonetheless, he raises the question of what would happen if the negative effects of lowering the drinking age persist for longer than expected.
What if critics are correct and there is an increase in accidents caused by driving under the influence?
In response to this concern,I propose adopting Russian zero-tolerance DUI laws.

James Parrish, a traffic lawyer from Virginia, explains that Russia takes Driving While Intoxicated very seriously due to its high accident rate and history of drunk driving offenses. Consequently, individuals with a DUI conviction may be denied travel visas by foreign authorities (Parrish 1). Although some argue that this penalty is excessive, it matches the severity of the offense. Rather than advocating for an increase in fatalities, my argument supports lower drinking age regulations. This text suggests that allowing individuals to drink at 18 would discourage drinking and driving. The strict penalties of losing one's license permanently and potential

travel restrictions would deter individuals from making poor choices after attending parties. While Russia has implemented a zero-tolerance driving law, Poe argues that colleges should also adopt a zero-tolerance stance on binge drinking. The argument proposes that students who excessively drink and pose risks to themselves or others should be expelled from university as a measure to protect the community rather than as punishment. Expelled students can reapply once they have shown responsible drinking behavior; however, the author does not endorse applying a zero-tolerance approach to drinking on campus in general. According to the Illinois government website, disorderly behavior is defined as behaving unreasonably and causing alarm or distress or inciting breach of peace.According to the Illinois government website, individuals who engage in disruptive drinking behavior should face consequences similar to any other form of disorderly behavior. This is justified by society's right to safety and freedom from extreme individuals (Poe 13). Poe argues that responsible alcohol consumption is not limited to legal adults and cites examples of individuals under 21 who can handle it without causing trouble. A nationwide study on college students conducted by Engs reveals that 90% of them have never engaged in inappropriate behavior or caused damage while drinking (Engs 42). To address the problem of irresponsible drinking, Poe advocates for lowering the drinking age. It is apparent from these points that an eighteen-year-old can exhibit the same level of responsibility as a twenty-one-year-old. Despite arguments about various activities such as voting, smoking, military service, marriage, and adoption being permitted at eighteen years old, there is no substantial reasoning why drinking should be regarded as a greater responsibility than these activities.

Scholars have yet to directly address this point. It is important to consider European drinking patterns since many European countries set the minimum drinking age at 18 (Illinois government website; Poe 13; Engs 42).Salme Ahlstrom's study, titled "The effects of sensed handiness of different alcoholic drinks on immature people's imbibing in Europe: A comparative geographic expedition," discovered that college students in wine-producing countries like France, Greece, Italy, and Portugal consume alcohol moderately rather than excessively. This moderation can be attributed to the cultural normalization and availability of alcohol in these nations. Despite ongoing debates about the minimum drinking age, it is crucial to take action and prevent unsafe alcohol consumption among students. One effective approach would be initiating an open public discourse to find viable solutions. Unfortunately, politicians and provincial legislators are hesitant to discuss lowering the drinking age due to potential federal funding reductions outlined in Title 23 of the United States code (U.S.C.125) for states that do so. It should be noted that states have autonomy over their own decisions regarding the minimum drinking age. However, it is now necessary to reconsider this situation and lower the drinking age to eighteen based on practical and ethical reasons. Nevertheless, opposition may still persist from certain individuals. Thus, I urge those who oppose lowering the drinking age to acknowledge and consider the counter-arguments presented.It is frequently disregarded by scholars and writers, but we should openly address the matter instead of avoiding it. I eagerly anticipate a future where responsible 18-year-olds can legally enjoy alcohol. As Napoleon once stated, "Envisioning the future with a glass of Chambertin makes it appear incredibly promising."

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