(taken from this site)
Ahhh, the two questions that have sparked such a fire among Americans:
Should the drinking age be lowered? OR…
Should the drinking age be raised?
I finally decided to do some research on our current legal drinking age and why it is twenty one.
There are several people who feel that lowering the drinking age would do more harm than good. Lowering the drinking age would warrant more binge drinking and lead to future alcoholism in young adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, between the ages of twelve and twenty are when binge drinking heavily occurs. Just take that in for a second- TWELVE.
So what is it that’s causing this problem? Is it society’s “don’t touch it” attitude about drinking that is pushing the younger generations towards this behavior?
Well, the attraction to the illegality of underage drinking is often considered a reason for kids drinking alcohol. Rebellion is attractive to the young and reckless. Alcohol’s cool image, as advertised by the media, may be what is causing young teens to begin drinking at an early age.
Here’s what we see on TV:
Alcohol is fun. Alcohol brings people together. Alcohol makes you do silly things and goof around with your friends…
Now, for many of us, alcohol may be all it is crapped up to be. But does that mean at age eighteen kids are old enough to drink responsibly?
Before you decide, let’s take a look at the other end of the debate.
On the flip side, there are many people who support a higher drinking age for the following reasons…
College. When you hear that word what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Parties? Drinking? For many of you, these words are probably what came to mind. Penn State, while it is an incredible learning institution, let’s face it,- IT’S ALWAYS A FUN TIME BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW TO PARTY IN THE HAPPY VALLEY. And dang it, WE ARE proud.
The alcohol consumption rate in college is much higher than that of high school teens. Why? Think about it. Freshman year you are away from home for the first time and you are clumped together with kids your age and older. Alcohol is an easy access for pretty much everyone. Going out at night, it is very seldom that you’ll come across a party without alcohol. This is where peer pressure really sets in and binge drinking becomes a weekly occurrence for the majority of students.
According to neuroscientist and author, Sandra Aamodt, the human brain does not fully develop until the age of twenty five. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that controls decision-making and impulse actions. At age twenty one, the prefrontal cortex has still not reached its full growth.
So why is age eighteen considered to be the beginning of someone’s “adult years?” Or, why is the drinking age twenty one? These are questions that spark controversy among Americans, and provide support to the argument that the legal drinking age should be changed to twenty five.
Think about it this way. If people at age twenty one are scientifically more prone to make impulse decisions due to the underdevelopment of their prefrontal cortexes, how does it make sense to add alcohol, a decision impairer, into the mix? That being said, how does it make sense to lower the drinking age or even keep it age twenty one?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s fun here or my own, for that matter. I simply want you to think about both sides. Which side do you find yourself on? Are we old enough yet to be dabbling with this popular drink?