This essay agues reasons why amendments should be done in the law to allow the legal drinking age to start at 18 years. According to the American law, the legal drinking age is 21 (Kiesbye, 2012). This law was passed with the intention of decreasing the number of traffic deaths caused by young drunk drivers. It also aimed at allowing high school going student to stay away from alcohol until they clear. It is clear that alcohol abuse accounts for a larger percentage of all traffic deaths in the United States compared to other causes. This is a huge concern and should be treated as one.
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However, according to Kiesbye (2012), there are several reasons that suggest the legal drinking age to be lowered to the age of 18. According to the law, an American 18 year old has the right to vote, to marry, to join the military and also, to the extreme, buy and hold guns. It is unfortunate that the same person, presumed to be an adult, is not allowed to drink alcohol. Most foreign countries allow persons from the age of 18 to indulge since it is argued that a person has attained the age of an adult and is able to make sober and mindful decisions on his own, thus America should also standardise this age to 18 years so as reduce cases of legal suits against persons who by fact know that they are legally allowed to drink.
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What the United States has been doing to discourage underage drinking of alcohol so far had very little significance. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, for instance whose implementation is ongoing in most schools has basically been regarded as a prohibitive tactic rather than an educative strategy (Kiesbye, 2012). No single scientific study has been conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of productivity of the program. In fact, some studies have shown students who underwent the study ended up using alcohol more frequently (Woods, 2014). At 18 years, a person is still a young adult and, in most cases, at the transition point to independence and freedom from parents’ care. This is the right time for parents to oversee and probably educate their children on the consequences of overindulgence in alcohol and probably supervise their first drinks.
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In conclusion, efforts by the government to raise the legal drinking age to 21 has not effectively reduced irresponsible drinking behaviour, especially among the young adults. Instead it has influenced the young adults to perceive drinking alcoholic drinks as an underground habit, which majority of them desire to indulge in. This perception apparently increases their vulnerability to participate in drinking games, which in most cases lead to fatal consequences (Woods, 2014). Therefore, the legal drinking age should start at 18, and there should be proper communication via the law about the responsible/healthy drinking habits as well as the dangers of misusing such drinks. The young adults are at a stage of discovery and learning stages in their life and imposing prohibition will make most of them want to rebel against authority as a symbol of fame or identity. They should be educated about it the same way they are educated about adolescence, peer pressure and sex. They should be allowed to drink but in controlled areas like bars, restaurants and on specific college events.
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