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An English Teen's View on Alcohol

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The debate of the legal age to consume alcohol is often hotly debated between a variety of ages with varied, and valid, opinions. Most arguments from these variety of views have some good evidence to back up their opinions, and sometimes it’s just plain common sense which puts up a tough argument.

I understand that the majority of the users on this website are from the USA, so I shall explain to you how our, the United Kingdom’s, laws on alcohol work and give my opinion on how well it works.

In the UK, it is legal for anybody over the age of 5 to be given alcohol, but this is only allowed in private (at home). Persons aged 16 or 17 can drink alcohol in public if they are having a meal, but must be accompanied by an adult of 18 years or over. At the age of 18, you can buy and drink alcohol freely, although many stores enforce a “Challenge 21/25” scheme where I.D. is required if the seller believes the customer to be under 21/25.

Personally, I think that setting the drinking age at 21 is ludicrous. I do agree with some of the arguments supporting this law, but I believe the arguments against far outweigh this. I am currently 17 years old, and although I believe the attitude towards drinking is far different here than in the states, I believe not allowing teenagers to drink until 21 is an extremely bad idea. I believe that outlawing alcohol until that age only encourages underage drinking to feel rebellious, or once a person comes of age and is allowed, they will over-consume after all these years of having this substance consumed around them by others, and restricting it. This may not be worded well enough, so imagine this; as a teenager, I’ve grown up with my parents, my older friends, my family, and many others drinking alcohol around me. If I had never been allowed to drink, and told it was restricted often, I would create this image of this forbidden substance within my mind. This would inevitably led to underage drinking in secret, or becoming slightly obsessed with the thought of it, and then getting drunk far too often once I was of legal age.

You may have different opinions and I’m sure you will, but that is mine. I have drank and been drunk, with and without my parents or family and I lead a pretty healthy life. My parents did not encourage underage drinking, and were with me when I first got drunk and I have drank on several occasions with my parents. The discourage excessive drinking, but would rather I tell them if I’m going to be drinking at a party, and buy my alcohol so they know how much I’m drinking, and it’s fine.

My parents, family and friends all know I drink underage, and their attitude towards it is a healthy one. They too discourage binge drinking and drinking too often, but they accept that this behaviour is normal, and don’t frown upon it.

I don’t suggest the drinking age in the UK should be lowered, as allowing 16 year olds drink in pubs would end badly, I can ensure you.

As I said previously; the attitude towards underage drinking in the UK seems very different to the USA, but the drinking age of 21 seems idiotic and many arguments support this view.

But everyone is entitled to their own opinion, comments and intelligent debate is encouraged below.



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