By BIANCA BISSON
PETALUMA HIGH SCHOOL, 18, SENIOR
One argument to lower the drinking age in the United States is that virtually every country in the world (even Canada!) is either 18 or 19 and is usually not even enforced. The fact of the matter is that America, the home of the brave, nearly never does something just because everyone else is doing it. Why should a country that hasn’t even gotten to switching over to the metric system bother with switching the age to legally drink alcohol?
Another silly argument is “you can fight and die for your country but you can’t drink a beer.” Anyone with half a brain would be able to dismiss this idea. Soldiers are the LAST people who should be drinking beer! The situation in Afghanistan probably would be even messier than it already is if we had 100,000 American troops armed with high-powered weapons staggering around the desert, blubberingly drunk.
Keeping the drinking age at 21 in the U.S. is a great idea for a few reasons. It decreases deadly teen car accident rates, lowers the chance of alcoholism later in life and causes underage youth to expand reasoning and overall thinking abilities by having to devise complicated plans to obtain alcohol.
Drunken driving needs to be taken seriously. Especially for Sonoma County residents, who live in a place where the number of teen deaths due to drunken driving accidents is higher per capita than almost any other place in California. Most students at Petaluma High can probably recollect someone they know of that has been affected by such an unfortunate event.
Death by car accident is the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., and one-third of those deaths involved alcohol consumption. If the drinking age was lowered and alcohol was made more accessible for the youth, the number of teen deaths in car accidents would skyrocket.
Although alcoholism is known to be genetic and has been proven to be so by many sources, including Medical News Today, the largest factor in whether an adult is an alcoholic or not is if they started drinking before the legal age of 21.
According to a study by SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions, 10 percent of adults who began drinking before their 21st birthday became alcoholics later in life, whereas only 2 percent of those who began drinking after the legal age did. It is true that alcohol is not at all impossible to obtain before becoming 21, but the simple fact that an effort must be made to consume it dissuades many potential drinkers. With the drinking age lowered, getting alcohol would be as easy as putting on your boots and walking to the nearest 7-Eleven. An obvious prediction is that teens would drink 10 times more often and therefore become more dependent on it.
The last reason may seem silly or trite in comparison to the two previously stated grave arguments, but I believe it is true that teens’ problem-solving abilities are expanded by not being fit into the legal drinking age.
To obtain alcohol, a youth must be able to communicate well with people older than them. Their communication skills can be improved by having to confront an older person about alcohol. They must increase their ability to be able to clean entire houses and to maintain a reasonably quiet noise level to ensure that no parents find out.
Yes, underage drinking is unsafe, illegal and involves a lot of sneaking around, but there are these few notable benefits.
As I have stated and easily proved, there are many good reasons to keep the drinking age where it is. It saves the lives of potential car accident victims, prevents future alcoholism and even builds character.