Underage Drinking: A Big Problem

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Underage Drinking: A Big Problem

Underage drinking is wide spread through out the United States.
According to Klaidman, of 10 million people under the age 21 who admitted they'd had a cocktail in the last month, 4.4 million said that they are "binge drinkers," or people who have had more than four drinks in a row. Also, alcohol use among 12 to 17 year olds has risen .9% over the past three years (137).
Lack of entertainment on college campuses and easy availability of alcohol can lead to underage drinking as well. Here at UWEC, it is easy to find a party where alcohol is provided to underage drinkers. There is also not much else to do in Eau Claire, unless one has access to a motor vehicle. "For 20 year-old
Iowa State junior Scott Christy, acquiring alcohol is not a problem. All he has to do is contact a friend... and within half an hour he can have the drink of his choice" (Frerking). Because underage drinking is such a problem in today's society, measures must be taken to reduce the problem.
One solution to the problem of underage drinking is to lower the drinking age from 21 years down to 18 or 19 years. At first glance, this seems like a good idea because a large portion of underage drinkers, mainly college students, would now no longer be underage and would be able to drink legally.
Problem solved, or is it? According to Reginald Smart, in 1971 the Canadian province of Ontario lowered its drinking age from 21 years to 18 years, thinking this would help alleviate its underage drinking problem. At first, the new age law seemed to be working. Soon, bar owners complained because the young drinkers scared off the above 21 crowd, just took up space, and did not drink as much as the above 21 crowd. People in Ontario also started to notice more accidents involving alcohol and more public displays of drunkenness by young people. School officials also were distressed by the fact that students were allowed to drink at lunch, and then returned to class too intoxicated to take part in the learning process. Also, school functions, such as dances and sporting events became occasions to drink. It seemed the only people still supporting the new age law were the young people who gained the privilege of drinking from the new age law. Finally, in 1978 the drinking age was raised

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