Many people today
are calling for a lowering of the drinking age from 21 to 18 but doing so
causes harmful ramifications especially in the United States. Keeping the
drinking age at 21 has helped save numerous lives over the years. Despite
arguments imposed by those in favor of the change like the Forbidden Fruit,
Teaching Safe Alcohol Practices, The Age of Initiation, and the point that
Age-21 laws are not effective, they are inaccurate when tested.

            Some will say that alcohol is like
as a “Forbidden Fruit” for the underage drinker and that lowering the drinking
age will help to diminish this behavior. This will, in fact, have the opposite
effect. Most students turn 18 during their junior or senior year of high
school. Since these students are still enrolled with their underage peers,
freshmen and sophomores would have a much easier time acquiring alcohol from
the older kids. If alcohol is granted to 18-year-olds, they will encourage
drinking among younger teens, much like how 21-year-olds model alcohol use in
18-year-olds. This increased access will result in a higher likelihood that
teens and children will get into binge drinking and irresponsible alcohol use.
College administrators are even calling for the drinking age to be lowered, but
no evidence has been recorded that lowering the drinking age has led to
responsible drinking practices on school grounds.

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Many
believe that, if given alcohol at a younger age, children and teens will find
their own tolerances and will, therefore, be more inclined to drink responsibly
when they go off to college. However, no evidence indicates that this is the
truth. New Zealand is considering rolling back their minimum age of alcohol
consumption to 21 due to an increase in binge drinking and alcohol related car
accidents after 1999. No evidence has shown that an educational program has
been successful in instilling a group of students with safe alcohol practices.
Gale: Opposing Viewpoints in Context had this to say about teaching safe
habits: “Responsible consumption comes with maturity, and maturity largely
comes as certain protective mechanisms, such as marriage and a first job, begin
to take hold.” Some believe that lowering the drinking age will facilitate
better parental supervision of a child’s alcohol use, but better supervision
does not necessarily correlate with responsibility. As a matter of fact, more
supervision would encourage the child to keep alcohol consumption hidden away
from the parents. Even so, parents should still be responsible for instilling
responsible drinking in their children, no matter what age they should be
allowed to drink. Commercial bars have had a reputation of aggressively
marketing to college students. The inclusion of fun events at bars like happy
hours and two-for-ones further encourages the drinker to have more. After all,
they are paying less for a drink, so they are more inclined to indulge in these
events.

A
lot of people question the fairness of skewing the drinking age with other
responsibilities granted to 18-year-olds. This is a misguided view on the age
of initiation, since people are not allowed to rent a car until they are 25 or
run for president at 35. These numbers are determined by countless research, considering
the benefits and risks of restricting these practices to certain ages. The consensus
seems to be that drinking alcohol is a symbol of freedom, but people don’t consider
how alcohol consumption can affect a teen’s health. Age-21 laws keep young
people healthy. They reduce the risks that come from consuming alcohol while
the brain is still developing as well as help to avoid alcohol dependence in
adult life.

It
is easy to say that children and teens are likely to drink anyways, so there is
no point in keeping these laws the same. Well, when shown the facts, one can
see that it is working. Since Ronald Reagan passed a bill in 1975 that required
states to keep the minimum drinking age at 21, it has saved over 20,000 lives.
This also decreased fatalities caused by drunk driving by 63% since 1982. Even
though teens are finding it easy to get their hands on alcohol, this does not
mean that the law is not working. There needs to be stricter enforcement when
it comes to commercial alcohol providers. The fact that a reported 71% of 8th
graders said that it was quite easy to get ahold of alcohol demonstrates that
there needs to be tighter regulation. Individual states have reported their own
findings on the lowering of the minimum age. Arizona found that there was an
increase in fatal accidents by 25% and a 35% increase in drinking and driving
deaths. In Massachusetts, they saw an increase in fatal car crashes and
property damage in the 18 to 20-year range. In the late ’60s and ’70s, women
were more likely to commit suicide or homicide due to the lowered drinking age.
A study showed that women who grew up in states that allowed drinking under 21
saw a 12% higher likelihood that they would commit suicide, and a 15%
likelihood that they would commit homicide as an adult. It is not exactly known
why this phenomenon happens, but it was found that women are more likely to
attempt suicide while men were more likely to complete it. Having the drinking
age lowered might make completion happen more with women. In homicides, 92% of
women are victimized by their peers. If lowering the drinking age causes higher
alcohol consumption, this could contribute to alcohol-fueled violence in the
home. Even though these changes are still an ongoing debate, keeping the
drinking age at 21 is still highly supported by students. A poll run by the
Associated Press concluded that 68% of teens and adults wanted to keep the
drinking age where it is, while 16% and 15% of adults and teens support raising
it, respectively.

            Based on these facts, it is clearly
a bad idea to allow 18-year-olds to drink. Keeping the drinking age where it is
has saved countless lives since its establishment in 1975. A change in these
laws will only cause more alcohol related deaths in the United States. The
arguments in favor of changing the age are totally misguided once applied to a
real-life scenario.