The Instigator
lvl123
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
Sourec
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Drinking Age Remaining at 21

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 660 times Debate No: 69744
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

lvl123

Pro

Many teenagers and young adults argue that the drinking age should be lowered, but I believe it should remain at age 21 due to the fact that a person's brain isn't fully developed until about age 25. If you have an underdeveloped brain, you are more likely to make irrational decisions and possibly alter the future development of your brain.
Sourec

Con

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 [1]. 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.

[1] http://www.niaaa.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
lvl123

Pro

I see your points about brain development. As you and I both said, the brain doesn't fully develop until about age 25, so there is risk of developmental damage and making poor decisions. My question is, is it socially realistic to raise the drinking age to 25? At age 25, out of those who have gone to college, most have already received their undergraduate degree. Those who have gone on to grad school or furthered their education are often done with school too. At age 25, a large percent of the population are living independently and in the "real world" making a living for themselves. Is it really reasonable to restrict people that are old enough to be fully functioning in the world as "real adults" as if they are children? Many people at the age of 25 are married or even have children. If the drinking age was 25, it would be saying that someone is mature enough to have a family or make a major business decision, but they are not mature enough to have a drink of alcohol.
Sourec

Con

Actually, most people aren't married by the age of 25 [1]. Currently, the U.S. national median marriage age sits at around 29 years old for men, and nearly 27 for women - on average around 3 or so years older than that critical 25 year age limit. These aren't necessarily mature, grown adults - remember, 24-year-olds are still people who are relatively new to the world and living on their own. After such a small time, they may not have developed the maturity and responsibility that we expect from people in control of the decision over whether to consume a material known to end lives.

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 [2], 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.

[1] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org...
[2] http://www.niaaa.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
lvl123

Pro

Even if you remove the source of alcohol for college students by eliminating access by older students, it is inevitable that they will find another source. If people want to drink, they will find a way to get alcohol. The culture in college is influenced heavily by drinking and partying, like you said, so they will find a to get alcohol, as they do now. The "my brother bought me alcohol" idea can actually still apply if you increase the legal drinking age. There are brothers that are over the age of 25. Even if you do not have a direct connection to a source, it is logical to think that a type of a black market could form in college communities to make alcohol more accessible. For example, marijuana has been illegal, ignoring the recent legalization in a couple states, and yet it is still readily available to people on college campuses and other locations. If people want alcohol, they will find a way to get it.
Sourec

Con

The exact same arguments apply the the 21-year age limit, but yet you have no opposition to that. Granted, no law prohibiting anything can be 100% effective - that's nearly impossible, and it's flat out unrealistic to ask for it. Even today, with only a 21-year age limit, we still see teenagers, well below the age limit, find ways to get alcohol, but do we repeal the 21-year requirement on the basis that "people can still find ways around it"? No, of course not - I'd be very interested in seeing anyone successfully argue that. We could apply the same arguments - "if people want X they will find a way to get X" to anything, and get absolutely nowhere. That's no place to start from though; we make laws prohibiting what we know and can prove to be wrong in the hope that the laws we make will have at least some effect.

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.
Debate Round No. 3
lvl123

Pro

lvl123 forfeited this round.
Sourec

Con

My opponent has forfeited this round; I have nothing further to add other than my disappointment that my opponent was unable to post his/her argument.
Debate Round No. 4
lvl123

Pro

lvl123 forfeited this round.
Sourec

Con

Once again, my opponent has forfeited this round. I am disappointed that this debate was unable to run its full course, but I am sure that my opponent has his/her reasons for not submitting further arguments.

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.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Bahamute619 2 years ago
Bahamute619
haha good one Varrack
Posted by Varrack 2 years ago
Varrack
I would laugh if someone accepted and said "I will be arguing that the drinking age be raised to age 25".
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