Minimum Legal Drinking Age Should Be 21 Years Old Argumentative Essay Sample

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Alcoholism, Age, Drinking, Law, Alcohol, Criminal Justice, Teenagers, Minimum

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2021/02/25

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Currently, the United States currently has a standardized legal drinking age of 21. This is primarily because the national government passed legislation that would deny a segment of national highway assistance from whichever state that did not accept 21 as the lowest age for acquiring and free possession of alcoholic drinks. It states that anyone under the age of 21 cannot legally consume, purchase or obtain any beverages containing alcohol unless accompanied by a spouse, guardian or parent of legal drinking age. Whereas some states have upheld a rather unswerving drinking age ever since the enactment of Prohibition, the issue has been a continuous topic of disagreement (Paolino, 1).
Policy makers have continually questioned whether people aging between 18 to 20 years must be permitted to purchase and drink beverages with alcohol content. They also argue about which beverages to allow and the place where the beverages can be purchases and drunk (Paolino, 1).
Administrations from several states have initiated bills that would adjust the legal drinking age from 21 to 18. Moreover, some groups from colleges and universities asked for reassessment of 21 as a legal drinking age. These instances possibly influenced and ignited extensive arguments. Followers believed that lowering the legal drinking age would promote conscientious consumption. Opponents expect higher level of alcohol use, dangerous intake and driving while drunk.
More to the point the probable consequence on drinking amongst youth, the discussion entails other ideological and practical concerns. Those who are in favor of lowering the legal age inquires the authority of refuting the right to consume alcohol to legal adults, particularly the ones involved in military. Nevertheless, it would not be easy for states to change their drinking ages under 21 because they would be denied with 10% of their national highway grants (Ives, 1).
As well-known public discussion has rekindled the need to reflect on whether present rule supports the community health objectives and nationality rights, this paper aims to inform and explain to readers why the minimum legal age should be 21 years old. In order to achieve its objective, the paper would present the facts about why the age 21 was set, the reason that drives states to change the legal drinking age, the evidences that support the current policy as well as the evidences that support the lower drinking age. The soundness and legitimacy of the current policy relies on the actuality and practicality of the evidences presented from the two arguments.

The Age 21

States have rest their individual minimum drinking ages since 1933 when the Prohibition has ended. The majority of states primarily decided 21 as their legal drinking age. On the other hand, quite a few made it 18.
However, throughout the Vietnam War, almost all states held the opinion that an individual at right age to be in the military must also have the comprehensive rights of citizenship. The majority of the states changed the legal adulthood age from 21 to 18. Consequently, thirty states changed the legal drinking age to 18 along the change of legal adulthood age.
The changes done on legal adulthood and legal drinking age gave rise to several studies which established high levels of dangerous drinking and interrelated problems amongst youth. Due to this, some groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) called for reconsideration and petitioned for setting 21 as the minimum age. This supports the enactment of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 which required every state to lift the drinking age from 18 to 21. Denying the law led to a loss of 10% of grants for federal highway funds. In 1987, the entire fifty states had accepted a minimum age of 21 (Ives, 1).

Present proposition for amendment

There are remarkable confirmations that imply that alcohol use and associated problems quickly went down subsequent to the ratification of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. However, the potency of the proofs has lately been subjected to inquiry. Elevated level of drinking and problems related with it continue among youth. As a result, may question whether the present law is associated with unplanned unconstructive outcomes (Ives, 1).
Choose Responsibility, an association established in 2007, drives the movement for amendment with their ideological inquiries. Their primary point is that the drinking age is the lone exclusion to the legal age of adulthood. They argue that people of 18 years of age must be granted complete rights being a U. S. citizen. These supporters require guideline by guardians or parents and not the administration. Certain apprehensions continue regarding restraining the rights of affiliates of the military. Military bases in Mexico and Canada allowed people under 21 to drink.
New suggestions in Minnesota, Vermont, Missouri and South Dakota would change the legal drinking age to 18. On the other hand, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Kentucky recommended that the change must only be applied to those who are affiliated with military. Additional debate currently centers on damage cutback policies and on added national procedures that are not dependent on youth abstinence to alcoholic beverages (Ives, 1).

Evidences for present policy

Wide-ranging studies and primary health organizations in the United States demonstrates that that alcohol consumption along with problems related to it among youth has remarkably reduced after the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. Statistics showed that there is a 25% reduction of alcohol use among young people aging from 18 to 20 in New York. Moreover, drivers who are below 21 experienced a 12% decline of the lethal car accidents as shown by the National Highway and Traffic Institute.
Researches performed in European nations have toughened the abovementioned claims. a number of latest investigations, nevertheless, advise that the impact of minimum legal age for drinking might have considerably declined from the formerly supposed.
The numerical decrease in alcohol drinking-associated problems signifies the collaborative results of numerous alterations. These comprise of protection enhancements such as laws for using seat belt and improved automobile design, together with improved law implementation and public awareness.
Nonetheless, driving and drinking of young people pose no trouble in European countries as great as in U.S. in comparison with the American counterparts, European adolescence are required to be older to access license for driving. European youth have less opportunity to have their car and are more engage in public transportation (American Medical Association Office of Alcohol/Drug Abuse 1).
Researchers investigated the implementation activity of the policy in 295 counties in Oregon, Montana, Michigan and Kentucky, and. Evidences demonstrated that 27 % of the counties did not arrest or punish against illegal selling of alcohol to minors in a three-year period of study. Moreover, no arrests have been conducted in 41 percent of those counties with adults giving access of alcohol to youths The impact of higher legal drinking age were not felt because of little implementation.
The implementation primarily focuses in penalizing the underage drinkers for drinking and possessing alcoholic beverages. Merchants who sold alcohol to minors are rarely being penalized. Around 8% of the adults that provide underage people with alcohol face criminal punishment (American Medical Association Office of Alcohol/Drug Abuse, 1).
Evidences are presented by the Alcohol Justice article (1) that setting the minimum legal drinking age to 21 can save lives. It reduced the occurrences of binge drinking and low-birth weight amongst the women who are African-American; avoided around 600 homicides and 600 suicides of women yearly; reduced the intensity rate of traffic accidents and fatalities associated with alcohol drinking among 16-20 years age group (from 5,244 in the year1982 to 2,115 accidents in 2004); traffic accidents and fatalities by 59% among youth in the age group 15-20 in 2000; reduced suicide, and expenditure by those under 21 years old; decreases the probability that students will go on binge drinking upon entering college wherein the policy of 21 as the legal drinking age is strictly implemented; directed to the reduction of quantity of teenagers being arrest from using marijuana, vandalism, alcohol use and crime;; already saved 1,000 lives each year particularly 800 lives amongst people below 21 (The Alcohol Justice, 1).
Setting 21 as the legal drinking age did disconnect the empirical education episodes from fresh legal alcohol-drinkers to fresh legal- drivers. Although the meaning of sorting out these two phases is incomprehensible. A higher drinking age and later habituation to authorized alcohol consumption might basically change the occurrence of mortality peril to future young adult (Ives, 1).

Evidences supporting lower legal drinking age

Opponents of the policy on setting 21 as legal drinking argued that increasing the drinking age cannot resolve the profound troubles of alcohol abuse on teenage drinkers. Their arguments state that the teenage drinkers did not obtain the alcohol from their classmates of the same age.
One survey conducted by Wisconsin Association of School Councils illustrated that only 23% of drinkers who are still in high school access alcoholic beverages from youth of 18 year age group. Changing the legal age from 18 to 19 then 21, based from experience, did not create the projected effect of holding such beverages off from high school students (Paolino, 10).
Problem related to drinking persists and remain to at high level. Accidents and other problems brought by alcohol gave rise to the inquiry of the effectiveness of the present policy; some believe that it comes with unforeseen and undesirable effects. Twenty percent of teen deaths caused by traffic/ car accidents involved alcohol consumption. The present policy in U.S. is being argued by some critics. They believe that the policy promotes illegal consumption of alcohol that is not controlled.
The teenagers or the people who are underage drink in private venues instead of in bars because of the policy. No parental supervision is being provided to the youth who secretly consume alcohol. Many believed that the adventure of drinking underground motivates teenage people to drink and drive. It stimulates younger people to use and abuse alcohol more compared to adults.
Approximately 90% of juvenile alcohol consumption is used in binge drinking. Binge drinking is more prominent in students in college. However, only few confirmations recommends lowering the minimum legal drinking age would result to the decrease in general use, dangerous drinking among younger people, or drinking associated problems (Ives, 2)
There is a perceptible differentiation among drinkers of any age and the younger adult drinkers intermittent or “binge” drinking. Around fifty percent of the young adults are documented to engage with binge drinking. This is in comparison with twenty-five percent of binge drinking of adults.
This arresting variation implies two contrasting opinions. One point of view is related to the fact that drinkers that are relatively younger are more prone to set out on a “binge” drinking based from the statistics. This showed the need to manage activities through the policies of minimum drinking age.
On the other hand, another point of view suggest that it is a rite of passage feature to juvenile drinking that encourages disobedience of the minimum age policy, and this persevere in spite of the different age restrictions which have been passed (Paolino, 11).


Continuous study is considered necessary to entirely recognize the nature and characteristics of the effects of setting 21 years as legal drinking ages. Nonetheless, existing proof undoubtedly pointed out that setting a higher drinking age, and not 18-20, declines the number of problems and injuries related with drinking.
Given that the objective is to decrease the impacts of traffic fatalities related to alcohol, 21 as a legal age is suggested. Even though the security advantages of a higher drinking age is present, several disagree in support of a lower allowable drinking age base on implementation, complexity and impartiality and other deliberations not connected to safety and health.
Abundant of such opinions can rationally be prepared. For instance, conferences with a section of police officers from Massachusetts established diminutive hold and help for the higher age amongst a number of police, elevated inconsistency in implementation levels, and minimum enforcement in a few locales (Wagenaar, 105).
Because of such short implementation levels, many believe that the higher age for legal consumption of alcohol might promote impertinence for the law amongst young people, and that the need of tenacity to impose this law signifies that additional or other policies may perhaps be more helpful in decreasing accidents among drivers in any age group. Notwithstanding the scantiness of laws and plans that have established continuing results in decreasing traffic accidents related to alcohol, many individuals favor using strategies aside from minimum age to lessen driving under alcohol influence.
A number of states have tested the effect of changing the legal age from 16 to 21 on the alcohol availability for many years. The experimented showed changes regarding the accessibility of alcohol to young people have notably influenced the degree of one main health predicament associated with alcohol, and this is car accident-related fatalities. Communal strategies on other scopes of alcohol accessibility that is not restricted by one particular age group must be inspected for their usefulness in the avoidance of social and health disadvantages brought by alcohol. These scopes include marketing practices such as serving and selling; density of alcohol outlets and retail price of alcohol (Wagenaar, 105).
Even though each of these matters ought to be considered in the discussions of strategies around the subject of drinking age, they must not overlay the research information and evidences that increasing the drinking age from 18 to 21 results to a decrease in number of the occurrences of traffic accidents among young drivers influenced by alcohol.
It is a judgment of importance or value on whether the advantages of accident prevention brought by higher legal age (21 years) are more valuable compared to the apparent advantages of trouble-free alcohol accessibility for youth.
Latest proceedings imply that the public, policy-makers and health professionals undoubtedly think the advantages compensate the apparent costs of setting 21 as the legal drinking age.
Lastly and most significantly, the policy for setting the drinking legal age must not be treated as a secluded or isolated rule. It is rather an illustration of move toward the action of problems associated with alcohol that centers on limiting the accessibility and allocation of beverages containing alcoholic. Increasing the legal drinking age and setting it at 21 makes it harder for the youth to obtain and consume alcoholic beverages. Thus, it decreases the availability of alcohol.
An amalgamation of several efforts on regulation, programs and policy are needed to obtain the ultimate objective of the community.

Works Cited

American Medical Association Office of Alcohol/Drug Abuse . "The Minimum Legal Drinking Age:." 2000.
American Medical Association Office of Alcohol/Drug Abuse. The Minimum Legal Drinking Age:. New York: American Medical Association Office of Alcohol/Drug Abuse, 2000.
Ives, Noah. Minimum Drinking Age: Does Evidence Support Lowering it from Age 21? Madison: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute , 2008.
Minton, Michelle. "The Minimum Legal Drinking Age Should Be Lowered." Thompson, Stephen P. Teens at Risk. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013.
Paolino, Robert A. The minimum drinking age in Wisconsin . USA: Wisconsin Briefs Legislative Reference Bureau, 1995.
The Alcohol Justice . Minimum Legal Drinking Age Saves Lives . USA: The Alcohol Justice , 2014.
Wagenaar, Alexander C. "Preventing Highway Crashes by Raising the Legal Minimum Age for Drinking: The Michigan Experience 6 Years Later." Journal of Sujety Research 17.3 (1986): 101-109.

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