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Should the Us Change Laws Allowing 18 Year Olds to Drink Alcoholic Beverages?

Updated on February 16, 2018

United Kingdom and Canada allows 18 Year Olds To Drink Alcoholic Beverages, Should The US Too?

In the United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries as well, 18 year olds are allowed to purchase, consume and be in possession of alcohol at just the age of 18. At the age of 18, you are officially considered an adult, at least here in the U.S. However you still can not do certain things until an older age. The age of alcohol consumption and purchasing in the U.S. is 21 years old, rather than other country's 18 years old.

This has been a long time debated argument.

A lot of the people who are for the legal drinking age being 18 years old happen to be from the ages 18 to 20. Most people at that age are away at Universities and Colleges, and while they are studying, you know they are partying too. However when a lot of us were in Middle School - 7th to 8th grade, I believe we were taught that drinking alcohol would kill our brain cells. Some would argue that is a myth, but I won't get into that right now. There is no denying that drinking alcohol at an earlier age does cause damage, whether it's to your brain cells, to your brain at all, or simply just to your body such as your liver and other organs.

Even at 18 years old, the legal adult age, we are not done developing. Our bodies are still growing. We are still learning. Our brains are still developing. At the ages of 18 to 20 we also can't deny that even sober, we do some pretty stupid things just for "the fun of it" or to impress our friends, or trying to be funny. Adding alcohol to that would be a mess.

UK and Canada citizens I believe are a bit more civilized when it comes to people our age. Yes, their bodies are still growing and they are still learning too, however I believe they are less likely to try to jump off a rooftop into a pool - while sober, for fun.

I am not saying here that Canada, United Kingdom and other countriesdon'tsuffer from mental illness, I am not saying that at all. Being a regular US citizen who has grown up here, lived here my whole life and has never moved Ihave met many, many people throughout my life who come and go. This being said I have met a lot of other Americans with mental illness. Whether it be Depression, Anxiety, or other forms of more serious mental issues. Adding alcohol to their availability would be a nightmare. Lots of teens and early 20's believe that alcohol will make them feel better, feel a little euphoric, feel fun, feel numb, but in reality alcohol worsens symptoms of physical and mental illness.

The US is at a pretty high rate for addiction as well and that is whole another conversation. Alcoholism is horrible. Alcoholism is not having a beer everyday. It is not getting blacked out drunk once month. Alcoholism is where you can't get out of bed in the morning without a shot because you are shaking and your body needs it both to survive while simultaneously killing itself. Alcoholism is having to be rushed to the hospital, have organs taken out during surgery, spending days in a hospital gown in those cold, white blueish hospital rooms because you almost died, minutes away from death. Alcoholism is having that happen to you, and then going home and going right back to drinking. And yes, this is based on someone I know - A family friend. It is sad and heartbreaking. They drink so much because they need it now but it all started as being a teenager with mental illness and having thought that alcohol would cure things, make life better, make her happier. It's going to kill her.

There are already so many alcohol related deaths in the USboth underage drinkers and people of age. From driving while under the influence of alcohol, to doing stupid stunts to be funny, or just simple alcohol poising.

Why Do Teens Drink?

There are many reasons—here are some of the most common:

  • Misperception – Young people generally believe that more people their age are drinking alcohol than is actually happening. They also believe that those who drink are drinking more heavily than they actually are. As seen in the sidebar, one-half of all 15-year-old teens have consumed alcohol; that also means that one-half of all 15-year-olds have not consumed alcohol.
  • Escape – Some drink to escape their problems, including problems with peers, problems with parents or problems with school.
    Risk-taking – Some drink because they like to take risks. Many teens drink because they like to feel the rush that comes from doing something they are not supposed to be doing.
  • Curiosity – Some drink out of curiosity. They want to know what it feels like to drink, so they drink to gain firsthand knowledge.
  • Feeling grown-up – Some think drinking will help them feel grown-up. After all, many adults, including the teen’s parents, drink, so they are just copying the behavior of those grown-ups.
  • Peer pressure – Some drink because they see their friends drinking and feel they have to in order to “fit in.” Or they think “all the cool kids drink.”

What Are The Consequences?

Teen drinking poses a wide variety of risks, including:

  • Impaired judgment — Teens who drink make poor decisions, such as drinking and driving, using violence, and sexual activity.
  • Increased risk of assault — Youth who drink are more likely to be victims or perpetrators of physical or sexual assault.
  • Impact on brain development — The human brain continues to develop up to about the age of 25. Underage drinking can hurt the developing brain, creating problems in how it works.
  • Injury — In 2008, more than 190,000 youth went to hospital emergency rooms for alcohol-related injuries—an average of 520 ER visits per day.
  • Death — Between 4,000 and 5,000 underage drinkers die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning and accidents (e.g., falls, drownings, etc).

In my opinionI think the US has the right choice with having the legal drinking age at 21 years old instead of 18 years old. It gives us time to learn, mature physically and mentally. It prevents less deaths.I think it is the smart choice. What do you all think?


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