Drinking Age Remaining at 21
Debate Rounds (5)
I will be arguing that the drinking age should be raised to 25.
Currently, the drinking age is set at 21 as per U.S. National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, according to Wikipedia. Technically, this law didn't actually prohibit alchohol consumption by those 21 and under, it only prohibited those under 21 from buying and publicly owning any kind of alcholic beverage. This drinking limit is generally designed to prevent minors, and those just above the age of adulthood, from drinking, due to both the hazards of having young, inexperienced teenagers drinking alcohol, not to mention the damage caused to a brain that is still developing.
As you have said, the brain is still developing until around 25 or so (in reality, it varies slightly with gender; I will be assuming a genral 25-year cap for the sake of argument). As you have pointed out, the consumption of alcholol can cause irrevocable damage to the developing brain. But look at it from another perspective: can those still with an immature mindset really be trusted to drink responsibly?
Consider that many adults today still have issues with drinking when they should not be - in many cases, this quickly spirals into addiction, or a form of self medication, or worse. Research data from the NIAAA (National institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) shows that 87.6 percent of adults report using alcohol, but only around 7.2 percent of this same age group had an alcohol use disorder . In other words, the vast majority of normal, responsible adults are fully capable of using alcohol safely.
Can the same be said of those between the ages of 21 and 25 though? Remember, the brain is still developing. During this time, you are still not fully mature, and are not as capable of making the same level of rational decisions, and still lack some essential inhibitions (such as inhibitions against drinking yourself unconscious). During this age range, people are vulnerable to the influences of alcohol, yet they still lack the maturity to restrain themselves from using alcohol irresponsible.
To fully prevent the risk posed to developing minds, and the risk posed by the irresponsible useage of alcohol by a mind partially incapable of using it reponsible, the only effective method is to raise the alcohol age limit to at least 25.
There's one other interesting side to this - the need to keep the age groups separate. At the age of 21, most people who choose that path in life are a junior (ish) in college, people who still interact with all those younger than themselves, those who do not have legal access to alcohol - people even more (potentially) immature, and at a far more critical part of their brain's development. It is well known that when one age group with access to alcohol, drugs, etc. can share with a younger age group, they often will; look no farther than the classic "my brother bought me [drugs, alcohol, etc.]".
Now imagine if all those college students, students too young to be drinking even under the 21-year cap, have the ability to easily get alcohol from an older student? We already have the results; about four out of five college students drink alcohol, and about half of those students consume it through binge drinking , which is not exactly a practice noted as responsible. Where do these college students get their alcohol from? It's almost certain that some large portion of it comes from older students who buy it for them. All of this causes massive problems, of course, ranging from health concerns - almost 900,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are injured per year as result of alcohol consumption - to academic - 25% of college students report academic problems caused by alcohol - and of course the brain damage caused by all this drinking.
The answer to this problem is simple: remove the alcohol source - the older students - and you remove the vast majority of these alcohol related problems. Raise the cap to 25, and the alcohol supply for most of these underage drinkers dries up almost immediately, taking away the health problems, the academic concerns, and the brain damage issues.
Speaking of teenagers being able to get alcohol, do you know where they often get it from? People not that much older than them - anyone they know 21 years or older (who they are far more likely to have connections with than someone of the age 25 or older) is a potential supplier. Raise the age limit to 25 and you've taken out a major alcohol source for those who are too young to drink even under the current law.
lvl123 forfeited this round.
lvl123 forfeited this round.
Since this is the last round, I'd like to recap my arguments up to this point:
-Limiting alcohol to those at the age of 25 or above prevents the usage of alcohol by people whose brains have not fully developed yet. Alcohol is known to cause damage to the brain while it is still developing; by limiting it to those whose brains are fully developed, we prevent unnecessary brain damage.
-By setting the age cap at 25, we severely restrict the supply of alcohol to those who are underage by even today's laws, since many (if not most) underage drinkers get their alcohol from those under the age of 25.
-If you are not fully mature yet (i.e. under the age of 25), you may not be fully capable of using alcohol responsibly. By limiting alcohol use to those at or above the age of 25, we ensure that a larger portion of alcohol consumers are mentally capable of drinking responsibly.
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