The Instigator
luvx
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TrueScotsman
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Teens should not be punished for drinking alcohol

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
TrueScotsman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/1/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,895 times Debate No: 39626
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

luvx

Pro


I mean punished by law. The reason why we don't let teens drink is because of the assumption that they don't know what they are getting into when they drink, so why punish them for something they don't understand?


TrueScotsman

Con

Hello,

Thank you for setting up a rather interesting debate, I hope it can be thoughtful and respectful one!

In regards to your argument as to the "reason" for why societies generally do not allow underage drinking, I believe this contention to be false and thus your argument built on a false premise.

Here below are several reasons why Teens should not be allowed to drink, and thus punishments with respect to the crime committed should be enforced to deter the behavior.

1. Alcohol is a major cause of death among teens.

The leading cause of death is motor vehicle accidents, and of these 31% invovle alcohol.[1]

It also increases the chance of an accident being fatal.

"2 percent of drivers ages 15 to 20 involved in property damage-only crashes had been drinking, 4 percent of those involved in crashes resulting in injury had been drinking, and 22 percent of those involved in fatal crashes had been drinking."[2]

2. Increased Likelyhood of Alcohol Dependence.

According to the results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey, those who begin drinking prior to the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol develop than those of a legal drinking age.[3]

3. Dangerous Sexual Behavior

Not only are teens twice as likely to engage in premature sexual activity if they use alcohol reguarly than those who don't, but 1 out 8 binge drinkers in high school report to being raped while intoxicated.[4] STD's are also twice as likely to be present in the last year of an alcohol consuming teen than an non-alcohol consuming teen.[5]

4. Health issues associated with underage drinking.

Studies have demonstrated in the past that alcohol use prior to the age of 21 can directly impair brain development in the teen.[6]

Conclusion:

There is still very much that can be said underneath these individual points, however my ultimate contention is that in view of the blatant harmfulness of underage alcohol use, it should be punished by the law.

In regards to the punishment administered, I believe restorative justice would best be implemented and may include the following in the sentence.

1. A state ordered breathalizer or suspension of license if found to be drunk driving.
2. Community Service.
3. Court ordered therapy or AA meetings if found to be exhibiting binge like behavior or dependance issues.
4. Educational information classes so as to inform the teen to the real dangers of underage drinking.
5. If found to be a repeat offender and thus not responding to the court's sentence to bring a restoration in the teen, juvinile detention may be warranted.

These are just a few examples of why I believe it should be punishable by law.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman

Sources:
[1] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (2008). Traffic Safety Facts 2008, Washington, DC: National Center for Statistics and Analysis, U.S. Department of Transportation. Available at www.nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pubs/811169.pdf.
[2] http://www.camy.org...
[3] Grant, B.F. and Dawson, D.A. (1997). “Age at Onset of Alcohol Use and Its Association with DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey.” Journal of Substance Abuse, 9: 103-110.
[4] Miller, J.W., Naimi, T.S., Brewer, R.D., and Jones, S.E. (2007). “Binge Drinking and Associated Health Risk Behaviors among High School Students.” Pediatrics, 119 (1):76-85.
[5] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (Mar. 20, 2007). The NSDUH Report: Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Substance Use. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies.
[6] Brown, S.A., Tapert, S.F., Granholm, E., Delis, D.C. (Feb., 2000). “Neurocognitive Functioning of Adolescents: Effects of Protracted Alcohol Use.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 24 (2): 164-171.




Debate Round No. 1
luvx

Pro

1. The leading cause of death is motor vehicle accidents, and of these 31% involve alcohol.[1] It also increases the chance of an accident being fatal.


Alcohol can be just as problematic for adults if they are not responsible.


2. Increased Likelihood of Alcohol Dependence.


Just because someone is more likely to have problems with alcohol doesn't mean we should restrict them, unless an individual demonstrated he can't drink responsibly, he should not be allowed to drink.



The reason why we don't allow teens to drink alcohol is because we assume they don't know what they're getting into when they drink, so why punish them for something they don't understand? It would make more sense to punish the adult for giving them alcohol.


The studies you cited suggest alcohol problems are correlated with age, not caused by age.


3. Not only are teens twice as likely to engage in premature sexual activity if they use alcohol regularly than those who don't, but 1 out 8 binge drinkers in high school report to being raped while intoxicated.


Not all teens drink irresponsibly. Not many adults drink responsibly. It depends on the individual.



4. Studies have demonstrated in the past that alcohol use prior to the age of 21 can directly impair brain development in the teen.


These studies were never done on adults. Our brains develop throughout life. New experiences modify the brain. Even at 70 your brain is still developing (it doesn't necessarily make you wiser).


Elliot Valentin, a retired neuroscientist wrote a book called Blaming the brain, published in 1998. He wrote,


A persons mental state and experience can modify the brain just as surely as the other way around. When there is a correlation between these two events, we should not assume that we always know which way causation flows….


It has been shown in numerous experiments, for example. That exposure to stressful situations can produce long lasting brain changes.


There was a 4 year old who shot his babysitter with a shotgun.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk...



Who should be punished, the 4 year old or the parents? Why not the 4 year old? Because he doesn't understand the consequences of the shooting? If a teen doesn't understand the consequences of drinking, why punish them for something they don't understand?

TrueScotsman

Con

Hello again,

It appears your entire argument is built off of the idea that a teen does not understand what he is doing, and attempt to draw a comparison between a 4 year old who kills his parent and the teen.

This of course is a weak analogy, and does not take into consideration the cognitive development of the teenager who knows that he is breaking the law and is doing wrong and yet continues their behavior versus a 4 year old that really does not know what they are doing.

You also keep asserting that the reason why it is illegal for teenagers is because they don't know what they are doing. I demonstrated several reasons why it is illegal for a teenager, and in fact you will not find "they don't know what they're doing" ever as a reason for the prohibition of teenage alcohol consumption.

There is a level of responsibility and neurological development that sets apart an adult and a teenager. In fact the Prefrontal Cortex of a teenager is only 80% developed and doesn't reach it's full maturing until about 25 years of age.[1] This is the portion of the brain responsible for reasoning and impulses, and thus it should not be relegated to the teenagers as to whether they should drink alcohol or not, because as a society we have identified the dangers of teenagers drinking, and because we value the proper development of our youth we have made laws to deter such behavior.

Therefore, I again contend that teenage drinking should be against the law, and therefore punishable by the means I laid out earlier.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman

[1] http://teenbrain.drugfree.org...;
Debate Round No. 2
luvx

Pro

1. I demonstrated several reasons why it is illegal for a teenager, and in fact you will not find "they don't know what they're doing" ever as a reason for the prohibition of teenage alcohol consumption.


Just because you did not list that as a reason does not mean that is not a reason.



2. There is a level of responsibility and neurological development that sets apart an adult and a teenager. [1] This is the portion of the brain responsible for reasoning and impulses, and thus it should not be relegated to the teenagers as to whether they should drink alcohol or not, because as a society we have identified the dangers of teenagers drinking, and because we value the proper development of our youth we have made laws to deter such behavior.


I said the brain is influenced by the environment. Elliot Valentin, as I cited, said this. Teens all experience the same things such as high school, and most people don't settle into their careers by 25. I will post a link to the study, but here is a quote from the link.


A persons mental state and experience can modify the brain just as surely as the other way around. When there is a correlation between these two events, we should not assume that we always know which way causation flows….


http://www.news-medical.net...


We should compare the brains of young people in the U.S. to the brains of young people in pre-industrialized countries where there are no compulsory schooling laws and when marry young.


3. This of course is a weak analogy, and does not take into consideration the cognitive development of the teenager who knows that he is breaking the law and is doing wrong and yet continues their behavior


Alcohol can be just as problematic for adults as it is for teens. It depends on how responsibly the person drinks. If a teen does not have the cognitive development to drink responsibly and the consequences of drinking irresponsibly, they don't have the cognitive development to understand the consequences.

TrueScotsman

Con

Hello,

I would like to thank my opponent for an enjoyable debate on a critical and relevant issue, thank you for opening up this discussion.

Rebuttal #1:

You said:

"Just because you did not list that as a reason does not mean that is not a reason."

I have listed several sources in my other arguments, and none of them list this as a reason for it's being illegal. Because my opponent has not provided any evidence beyond his opinion on the matter, the contention should be dismissed.

Rebuttal #2:

The idea that the brain continues to develop even past adolescense (something I never doubted) does not refute my point which highlights the LACK of development of key regions of the brain among adolescents. Simply assuming teens know what's best for them doesn't match up with what we know through neuroscience.

Rebuttal #3:

Lastly, my opponent appeals to how alcohol can be just as problematic for adults as it is for teens. He then appeals to the idea that what matters is the responsibility of the individual drinking the alcohol, and that if a person cannot be responsible enough due to a cognitive deficiency, they also should not be able to understand the consequences.

What if we actually applied this to any kind of situation with your children? Why punish your young child who continually misbehaves? He doesn't understand the consequences for his behavior, so why try to change it?

Of course, this line of thinking directly ignores a very basic concept of punishment used in operant conditioning.[1] And that my suggestion is to use effective punitive measures, that are consistently applied to reduce teenage drinking and deter the behavior.

A teenager's understanding of the consequences (which you have provided no evidence that they don't understand that it's wrong and harmful) is ultimately irrelevant in regards to the reason for the application of punishment.

Kind Regards,
TrueScotsman

[1] http://psychology.about.com...;
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Oromagi 3 years ago
Oromagi
luvxTrueScotsmanTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Con. There are plenty of good arguments, libertarian & otherwise, to restrict govt. from strictly regulating an activity that is essentially legal, but prohibited for youth. But Pro never really defined the scope of his proposed policy change or identified how the current policy is harmful. Pro made the mistake of launching into the clash of opinion without first setting terms. Since Pro is arguing against status quo, the burden of proof is clearly on Pro and the case for greater laxity was never strongly defined much less proved.