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Alcohol and Drinking - America Must Lower the Drinking Age

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America Must Lower the Drinking Age

In other countries around the world if you are under the age of 21 you can drink alcohol some countries don't even have an age limit, but in America you have to be 21 to buy alcohol. You can go to war and die for your country when you are 18, you can also vote, buy cigarettes, but you can't buy alcohol. One of the main causes of the drinking age being set to 21 was teenagers were getting into car accidents after getting drunk. I am not saying driving under the influence should be legal. What I am saying is there should be more government programs to educate and prevent people from driving intoxicated.

More and more people under the age of 21 are experiencing alcohol. "A survey released by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) found that by the time Texas teenagers are seniors in high school, more than 80% of the teens admit to having some experience with alcohol. The same study found that secondary students say it's easy to get beer, wine or liquor." (qtd. in Westbrook) Texas is a zero tolerance state for underage drinking it has some of the strictest penalties for underage drinking, and if 80% of the teenagers in Texas have had experiences with alcohol that tells me that the campaigns against underage drinking, and zero tolerance programs are not working. Teens are going to drink alcohol at one point of their lives. So instead of spending all this money to prevent teens from drinking maybe it should go toward programs, or educating these teens about alcohol so they can make a informed decision about drinking.

There are programs now that educate people under the age of 21 about alcohol. These programs are being implemented in colleges around the country, and are about the choices of using alcohol. "At the University of Virginia they are taking a more of an old-fashioned approach to educating college students about alcohol use. They are using two, two-and-a-half hour courses in class rooms called "Choices". They are boasting high results from this program a total of 75 percent of participants said they planned to reduce how much they drink in the future, while 85 percent indicated they had spoken to a friend." (Altamirano). If these programs have high success rates, I think these programs should be put in high schools as well.

Traffic fatalities in the 16-24 year age group during late 70's to early 80's accounted for 43% of traffic fatalities. That is when interest groups started to form like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). During those times people weren't aware of the risk of drunk driving could have on their life, but with the interest groups that have been informing the public about drunk driving people now a-days are more aware of the risk you take when you are drinking and driving. The amount of alcohol related fatalities have decreased over the years due to the amount of awareness on drunk driving and more education on the effects of alcohol. From 1977-2000 the number of alcohol involved traffic fatalities between 16 and 24 year olds has decreased by almost half. In 1977 there was 7,327 alcohol involved traffic deaths between 16 and 24 year olds. In 2000 that number has decreased to 3,568. The number of alcohol related traffic deaths has also decreased for people under the legal drinking age as well. In 1977 between 16 and 20 year olds there were 3,912 alcohol involved traffic deaths, and in 2000 that number has decreased to 1,654.(National)

Now a-days people are more aware of the effect of drinking and driving can have on themselves, and other people. We should continue on educating the public and people under the drinking age about the effects of alcohol. Now that more people are aware of the effects of alcohol I believe we should lower the drinking age to 18 because at that age you are considered an adult. With teens being more educated in high school and collage I think they will not make the mistake of driving drunk now that they are aware of the consequences.

Works Cited

Altamirano, Natasha "U. Virginia Alcohol Education Course Deemed a Success." Cavalier Daily 16 September 2003:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Database October 26 2003: online http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/databases/qf.htm

Westbrook, Steve "Alcohol, Kid can be Shattering Mix." Corpus Christi Caller-times 6 June: online http://www.caller.com/ccct/contributors/article/0,1641,CCCT_879_2016472,00.html

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