Assignment 1.2: Conflicting Viewpoints Essay - Part II -NO PLAGIARISM, TURN IT IN ASSIGNMENT

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Conflicting View Points 1

Conflicting View Points 4

Conflicting View Points: Drinking Age

Ana Trujillo

Critical Thinking

Strayer University

June 16th, 2019

One of the current and most problematic issue under debate is the legal age for alcohol consumption. Currently, in the U.S, the legal drinking age is set at 21 years. I consider lowering the legal drinking age from 21 years to be an imprudent decision that is likely to result in a number of negative consequences affecting both individual drinkers and society. Why? Firstly, the consumption of alcohol at a young age can interfere with the development of an individual’s brain system. Such interference may deter the individual’s brain from effectively performing its functions such as planning or regulating emotions. Further, such interference increases the chances of individuals experiencing chronic problems like memory loss in the future. Secondly, statistics on alcohol consumption show that early drinkers (those below 21 years) have a tendency to continue consuming alcohol in their adulthood, that is, there are more adult drinkers who started drinking when they were below 21 years than those who began at 21 years or above. Finally, given that most underage drinkers get access to alcohol through their 21-year-old peers, lowering the drinking age will therefore increase the accessibility to alcohol since the age bracket for the peers will have increased. It is due to such reasons that I do not agree with the idea of lowering the legal drinking age from 21 years to 8 years.

However, there are opposing reasons that support the lowering of the drinking age. Such reasons include the adulthood age being 18 years, allowing the younger population to drink safely in controlled environments and the fact that the legal drinking age being set at 21 years does not stop teenagers from drinking. With the foregoing in mind, the focus of this paper will be to discuss the identified opposing points of view.

The adulthood age in the U.S is 18 years and therefore individuals should be allowed to make a choice on whether to consume alcohol. At 18 years, an individual in the US is considered to be an adult with the ability and authority to make their own decisions and exercise responsibilities considered to be for adults. For instance, one is able to vote, leave a foster home, get married and even face prosecution as adults. This school of thought is interesting as it posits that similar rights should apply to the individual on whether or not to consume alcohol upon reaching the age of 18 years. However, it is vital to notice that the line of thought does not include any measures of reducing the levels of alcohol consumption among teens nor the impact of drinking on the young drinkers’ health and society (Plunk, Krauss, Syed‐Mohammed, Hur, Cavzos‐Rehg, Bierut& Grucza, 2016). For instance, many people in the US below the age of 21 years still depend on their guardians for sustenance and therefore engaging in alcohol consumption will be an added burden to the guardians. In the event that all persons at least 18 years are well aware of the effects of alcohol consumption to both their health and the society and that the individuals can afford the alcohol on their own, such an idea can be true.

Persons between 18 to 20 years should be allowed to consume alcohol in a supervised environment to reduce cases of risky drinking. Normally, bars and restaurants are licensed and regulated in providing alcoholic substances and therefore provide a safe environment for drinking. However, given that the drinking age is 21 years, persons between 18 to 20 years cannot access such places and resort to drinking in unregulated places such as unsupervised houses or parties. In doing so, it exposes them to risks that could have been avoided if the drinking activities occurred in a regulated or supervised environment (Fell, Scherer, Thomas & Voas,2016). According to this view, one can note that a supervised environment can include limits on the amount or levels of alcohol consumption per individual, which can aid in the control of alcohol consumption among teens as well as one's behaviour. If strict policies are implemented for licensed alcoholic places concerning alcohol consumption for teens, such a view can be implemented effectively.

The current legal drinking age of 21 years does not deter teens from engaging in alcohol consumption. According to statistics, 17.5% consumer expenditure on alcohol is attributed to underage drinking. Such a statistic serves as evidence that even though the drinking age is set at a high value, it does not deter underage drinking, which is mostly attributed to the thrill among teenagers associated with breaking the law. Therefore, according to this view, reducing the legal age of alcohol consumption will result in fewer cases of underage drinking as the thrill will be done away with (Yörük & Yörük, 2015). However, it is essential to note that there are teenagers who do not engage in alcohol consumption due to their age and therefore, giving them a chance to drink by lowering the drinking age may result in more alcohol consumption. Such a view is not effective since it will cause the ripple down effect where the thrill of drinking will only be transferred to those under 8 years. Therefore, for such an idea to be true, strict policies against selling alcohol products to underage persons should be implemented and adhered to.

As seen in the discussion, different views exist on whether to lower the legal age of consuming alcohol. For the views in support of the idea, there exists different measures and circumstances for them to be effectively implemented to reduce the alcohol consumption levels among teenagers. Therefore, I still maintain my position that the legal drinking age should not be lowered.

References

Plunk, A. D., Krauss, M. J., Syed‐Mohammed, H., Hur, M., Cavzos‐Rehg, P. A., Bierut, L. J., & Grucza, R. A. (2016). The impact of the minimum legal drinking age on alcohol‐related chronic disease mortality. Alcoholism: clinical and experimental research40(8), 1761-1768.

Fell, J. C., Scherer, M., Thomas, S., & Voas, R. B. (2016). Assessing the impact of twenty underage drinking laws. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs77(2), 249-260.

Yörük, C. E., & Yörük, B. K. (2015). Alcohol consumption and risky sexual behavior among young adults: evidence from minimum legal drinking age laws. Journal of Population Economics28(1), 133-157.