Underage Drinking

I was reading a few blogs about the effects of drinking, and it got me thinking. I know that they say younger people just don’t have the rationality to drink safely, and that is why the drinking age is 21. However, I was curious to know, is there something scientific behind it, too?

This article reminded me of Andrew’s lecture on the benefits of antibiotics. It points out that the age laws of anything are based upon weighing the risks and the benefits out of doing such a thing at that age. The article also answers my question fairly straightforwardly: The brain is known to continue to develop into your mid-twenties, so drinking can cause developmental problems.

Drinking (especially heavily) can affect the brain in many ways. I found another article that describes some of the most obvious.

Not only does heavy drinking destroy brain cells (and the links between them) and slow development of key areas of the brain, but it also causes damage in people who wouldn’t be considered alcoholics! While this may not completely get rid of the brain cells, it does lessen the quality of the connections between them (the white matter) which is how the brain gets information around all the different sections as well as to the rest of the body.

 

alcohol-drinking-depression-low-brain-activity.jpg
 On the less scientific side, the original article does point out the interesting fact that the younger you are, the more likely you are to act impulsively. This being said, if your mind is already impaired by alcohol, you are going to make even riskier decisions.

As sad as it is to admit it, yes I have drank and yes I am underage. Was it worth the risk? Probably not. But is there really that much of a difference between 18 and 21, especially if your brain is continuing to develop until your MID twenties, a few years after you become legal?

1 thought on “Underage Drinking

  1. YASH GIRDHARILAL TULSANI

    I think your entry is an interesting scientific point of view to look at things. Unfortunately law making does not take scientific factors into consideration and i consider it a failure of our education system that our lawmakers do not have a scientific outlook to things. I come from a country where the drinking is 18 and in some states there is no drinking age. Now again as i said the government irrespective of its allegiance does not make laws with a scientific outlook otherwise we would have had a uniform drinking age. Whats also funny is how science is used to justify random laws made by the government as is in this link: http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/HealthIssues/1127400726.html
    It says that consuming alcohol before 21 years damages the brain but I do not know how they just randomly came to the number 21. It seems more like a case of moving the goal post which i feel is really shameful.

Leave a Reply