19 March 2015
The Drinking Age; Too High or just Right In the United States of America to sit down at a restaurant, and order a beer, or other alcoholic beverages you must be 21 years old. Many citizens see this as just a normal fact of life, but it has other countries shaking their heads asking “why so high?” The United States is one of very few countries to have a minimum drinking age set at 21. In many countries the minimum legal drinking age is 18 or younger if not any at all. At the age of 18 a citizen of the United States gains the right to buy cigarettes, elect national and state leaders, and join the military, but is too young for alcohol? If it was legal for 18-20 year olds to consume alcoholic beverages they would be able to consume alcohol in a safe environment, instead of binge drinking
“Binge Drinking: NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.”(http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/) behind closed doors where there is little to no supervision. Alcohol is not that simple. Many studies have shown alcohol harms the teenage brain. Alcohol has been shown to increase memory loss, depression and in some cases even suicidal tendencies.
“Alcohol is a depressant, so one of the chief effects of alcohol on the brain is to depress central nervous system functioning which may be why major depressive disorder occurs in high rates in those who abuse alcohol. While some alcohol addicts may be drinking to self-medicate a depression, research shows that long-term, excessive intake of alcohol causes major depressive disorder.A study of people hospitalized for suicide attempts found that those who were alcoholics were 75 times more likely to go on to successfully commit suicide than non-alcoholic suicide attempters. In the general alcoholic population the increased risk of suicide compared to the general public is 5 - 20 times greater. About 15 percent of alcoholics commit suicide.Many psychological effects of alcohol on the brain can also be seen in a form of a type of liver damage known as hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy is a worsening of brain function that occurs when the liver is no longer able to remove toxic substances in the blood. The psychological effects of alcohol from hepatic encephalopathy.Sleep pattern changes.Changes in mood and personality. Depression, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions Cognitive effects such as shortened attention span and problems with coordination. Other known psychological effects of alcohol include anxiety, panic disorder, hallucinations, delusions and psychotic disorders.”(healthyplace)
Along with the psychological dangers alcohol brings physical dangers to the table as well. Bars and nightclubs can be a dangerous place for young adults. From bar fights to the use of date rape drugs
“The most common date rape drugs – also called "club drugs" - are flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), also called roofies; gamma hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), also called liquid ecstasy; and ketamine, also called Special K. These drugs may come as pills, liquids, or powders.Date rape drugs are drugs used to assist in a sexual assault, which is any type of sexual activity a person does not agree to. These drugs can affect you very quickly and cause victims to become weak, confused, and even pass out. You may not remember what happened while you were drugged. Date rape drugs can also cause seizures and even death.”(medicinenet)
The dangers are real and could be too much for the average 18 year old and could cause permanent psychological and