Saturday, October 8, 2011

Repeal of the Drinking Age

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Some people say, “Minors are going to drink regardless, so it might as well be legal.” Yea. Good point. Men hit their wives, too. Should we legalize that? Some people enjoy abusing their children, regardless of the fact that it’s illegal, so should we condone that, too? Of course not. Laws are put into effect for the safety of this country’s citizens. No one questions domestic abuse laws because they help protect people. If having a legal drinking age helps protect people too, why are we so quick to question them? Furthermore, many believe that if minors still purchase and consume alcohol underage, the policy doesn’t work. On the contrary, evidence proves that although many youth still consume and purchase alcohol, they drink less and experience fewer alcohol-related injuries and death with the higher minimum age.

After Prohibition, nearly all states set the minimum legal drinking age at 1. However, between 170 and 175, states lowered the age to 18, 1, or 0 when the minimum age for activities such as voting was lowered as well. Studies were conducted during this period, especially in respects to motor vehicle accidents, which is the leading cause of death among teenagers, according to the National Organization for Youth Safety. Studies showed that motor vehicle crashes among teenagers increased significantly when the minimum legal drinking age was lowered. Since the 170’s, more than 70 studies have examined the effects of either increasing or decreasing the minimum age. The American Medical Association has reported many of these research findings. For instance, it was found that a higher minimum legal drinking age is effective in preventing alcohol-related deaths and injuries among youth. A higher minimum age results in fewer alcohol related problems, and having the minimum age set at 1 saves over 1,000 lives every year.

Many people are also quick to believe that the United States should follow European ways and kick the minimum drinking age. It’s a common misconception that having the privilege to drink at a much younger age helps reduce drinking of driving of youths. However, other factors must be taken into consideration. Compared to Americans, European youth must be older to obtain their driver’s licenses, are less likely to have a car, and are more inclined to use public transportation. (Economics and the Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems, A.C. Wagner).

Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, stated, “State Age-1 laws are one of the most effective public policies ever implemented in the Nation...I am troubled to report that some supposedly responsible officials would like to repeal them.” I find it hard to disagree with him. The minimum legal drinking age of 1 saves the lives of over 1,000 teenagers every year. Think of just one minor you know that is affected by alcohol, maybe even yourself. Now picture your life without that person. It’s possible for this law to save the life of your sister, your cousin, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe even your best friend. So ask yourself this is repealing the minimum legal drinking age a chance your willing to take?

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