Underage Drinking: Rethinking the Solution

Underage drinking

Throughout history, alcohol consumption has played a major role in society and with it a myriad of negative side effects; underage drinking has been a recurring issue throughout the centuries. As the issue continues to worsen, in the United States especially, parents and teachers alike try to ameliorate the predicament by educating the youth to the horrors of drinking alcohol, more specifically teens drinking. However, this method of trying to educate teenagers by simply showing the end result of underage drinking is not nearly enough to dissuade teenagers to imbibe the toxin or become inebriated. Thus, people have tried new methods to prevent underage drinking such as the case with the persecution of adults who buy alcohol for teens; unfortunately, it would appear the end result seems the same as a plethora of teens still choose to drink and have easy access to the substance. As a result, one may draw the conclusion that these methods are ineffective. However, lowering the age limit for drinking would reduce the number of underage drinking cases. Several nations have a lower drinking age than the U.S. and still manage to do well. Parents should continue to educate their children about alcohol, but they should also advocate lowering the drinking age.

Many are already aware of the growing problem, and in fact, many are also victims or know someone who was involved with an accident or death caused by underage drinking. There has been some decline in fatalities in reference to underage drunk driving; however, it is still one of the major concerns of both parents and teachers. Often, adults feel that by simply showing the end result of such things will resolve the matter. Speaking from experience, health teachers often show videos of stories of underage drinking with the result often either being some kind of serious accident or death. However, even with these explicit warnings, people have continued to drink before the appropriate age on countless occasions. Often, kids brush it off with the “that will never happen to me” mentality.

There are many reasons for people to not try alcohol and there are also many questions teens have that lead them to be curious about alcohol. Nearly 83% of teens who say they don’t want to try drinking till they’re twenty-one say their parents played a crucial role (http://www.centurycouncil.org/underage-drinking/statistics,10/26/13). Parents play a crucial part in children’s lives even past high school and into college. Thus, it is important that parents and other parent figures stress the importance of staying away from alcohol. Teachers, who are also major role models in teens’ life also play a role in children’s lives. Teens feel that a good teacher is someone that they can turn to for help in any situation, including the pressures of underage drinking. However, their true influence is not always enough to dissuade underage drinking. Underage drinking is still a major issue plaguing our society due to the that fact that kids are more curious than worried when it comes to the matter.

Humans are curious by nature, and when people are told they can’t have something, they try and get it- reverse psychology in a sense. Same thing applies to underage drinking. Kids are often curious as to the exact effects of alcohol and a mere description is not enough to quench this. In addition, teens are peer pressured into drinking by other teens who have had alcohol before. This is a common occurrence all throughout high school, some parts of middle school, and all the way up into college.

The statistics around this situation show that there is a decrease in the amount of alcohol consumption in teens. However, a recent survey has shown that over the period of approximately a month, roughly 40% of all twelfth graders have had some form of alcohol and nearly 30% of all twelfth graders have been “drunk”; this percentage of people who have had alcohol jumps by almost 20-30% for people in college (   http://www.centurycouncil.org/underage-drinking/statistics, 10/26/13) This number is striking for many and often people would like to see this number be a lot smaller.

Several countries, mainly throughout Europe, have a drinking age below the age of 21. For example, and in Germany, minors are allowed to consume alcohol if they are with a parent or adult. In addition, the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico 16. This leads many to wonder if introducing such an item at a younger age will encourage teens to be more patient or perhaps allow them to experience it for themselves and determine the risks involved with consumption. However, this does have its own share have negatives. With this plan implemented, the risk for your diagnosis of alcoholism/ being alcoholic greatly increases. With that being said, this will allow people to sooner diagnose such issue and be treated sooner. Even with all of the negatives involved, lowering the drinking age is still the best solution.

Many different countries, including the United States, permit other dangerous activities for people who are younger than the age of twenty one. For example, one of the biggest things is the purchase and use of cigarettes is permitted in the United States at the age of eighteen. Both alcohol and nicotine are two very dangerous substances, but by comparison, nicotine is far worse. Not only is it much more readily available and easier to purchase, it also has far worse side effects, both on people and the environment. Packaging for cigarettes even states that the product could “cause lung cancer.” In addition, things such as joining the army or being able to vote aren’t prohibited at the same age as drinking alcohol. If people are allowed to be politically active at the age of eighteen, why shouldn’t people be allowed to drink? As both times and people change, it is important to consider what role people should be allowed to participate in important things, whether they be political or recreational.

There are many ways to dissuade teens from being involved with underage drinking; however, the current methods being implemented haven’t quite been satisfactory. Thus, it has become a priority to develop a new way for people to stay away from underage drinking or finding a way to cope with the matter by lowering the drinking age. Although the percentage of reported of underage drinking has gone down, it can be even lower. Lowering the drinking age may be the solution to this still prevalent problem.

Works Cited:

Century Council. http://www.centurycouncil.org/underage-drinking/statistics.2011.  Web. October 26. 2011.

(All Images are taken from google, no copyright infringement intended)

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