October 28, 2011
Alcohol at 18: A Definite to Consider
The drinking age in the United States is now twenty one years of age. Some people believe that this age is too high to be the minimum age to be able to legally drink and others feel that it is the perfect age. This topic is very huge and has been debated for years. The United States drinking age has gone up and down, and recently, in 1984, it has gone up to twenty one. Many events took place before the drinking age went up. It all began when the United States slowly tried to ban alcohol in every state for every person no matter what your age was. They did succeed. This is called National Prohibition. Prohibition started in 1919 and lasted until 1933. When Prohibition started, the Constitution gained the 18th Amendment. The 18th Amendment “prohibited the manufacture, sale, transport, import, or export of alcoholic beverages”. However, this amendment was repealed in 1933 by the 21th amendment, which legalized beer and other alcohol. Once National Prohibition ended, each state created their own set of drinking laws. Some were twenty one; others were eighteen, and then some in between. This lasted for a few years, but then the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 came along. This act forced all states to change their drinking age to twenty one or lose part of the Federal-aid highway funds. It also said the states should pass laws that helped fight drunk driving. So, the drinking ages were set to twenty one, but this could change. Having the drinking age set to twenty one might not be the best. National Prohibition and safety issues, like underground drinking, are all factors that must be considered in making this decision. Because of these factors, the national drinking age of the United States should be lowered from twenty one to eighteen. Ponder for a moment on how many young adult and teenagers illegally drink under the age of twenty one. It is a fact that more than three in four teenagers consume alcohol when they are high school seniors. A big issue for underage drinking is where the underage drinkers actually do the drinking. It is known to people that underage drinking goes on, but where and when they do it, is something to look for. Because no one wants to get in trouble for drinking, those who are underage start taking part in “underground drinking”. Underground drinking is when people under the drinking age drink alcohol without the knowledge of anyone. People will bring alcohol somewhere, like a party, and drink it without their parents knowing. The police search for underage drinking, but, even they know that once the underage drinkers are caught, they will keep doing it. The difference is that this time, they will be smarter about it and hide it better than the time before.
"We'd find a party where we know there's underage drinking. We would seal the house. Surround the house with officers...We wrote hundreds and hundreds of tickets those years. All we did is we pushed it further underground." (Mark Beckner, the chief of police in Boulder, Colo.) The problem with drinking without anyone knowing, like a parent, is that it can be very dangerous and someone could get seriously injured from alcohol poisoning, or go completely out of control and hurt him or herself like that. If people under the drinking age hide when they drink, they will not want to tell anyone, like an adult that they are drinking because they do not want to get in trouble. So, if no one wants to get in trouble, then no one will tell anyone if someone gets seriously injured. There are cases in which people have died because their friends who they were drinking with were afraid of the police. As a result, it took a couple hours for anyone to say anything, and by the time they did, it was too late to really do anything.
“…a college freshman, Gordie Bailey, who died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity initiation. The…