Does a Lower Drinking Age Come with High Consequences?

January 13, 2011
By Jessica Saffold BRONZE, Aurora, Colorado
Jessica Saffold BRONZE, Aurora, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Sirens blaring, paramedics running, the horrible scene began to unfold. The accident was as destructive as Hurricane Katrina. I'm sure we'd all love to receive that dreaded phone call. Another innocent life taken because of the poor decision making of a teenager. What was the cause? Alcohol. For me the solution is simple: Increase the drinking age or inform teens at an early age how to drink responsibly.

Each year we witness the consequences of drunk-driving. Thousand of families lose their loved ones to something that is 100% preventable. It has been scientifically proven that our brains mature until or mid to late 20's. Our brains are still developing, causing our reasoning to seem senseless or mindless. Alcohol only worsens our decision making. Other people shouldn't have to suffer for it. At many high school parties, illegal drinks are served. Some high school student may decide to take the keys and drive home under the influence. Sometimes we must step in and prevent someone from making a very unsmart decision. One person, one voice, one action, one choice = One life saved.

In our society today, alcohol is not addressed among teens as much as it should. We make choices based on what we know. If we have no knowledge of something, we tend to make bad decisions. The same goes with alcohol. Teens today do not know or understand how to truly drink responsibly. When a drink is in their hand, they choose to abuse it. Thousand of accidents could have been avoided if someone had known how to handle and control their alcohol intake. States could save millions of dollars on the tickets they issue and teens they arrest for being under the influence on the road. All it takes is one voice to speak up and explain the danger of drinking irresponsibly. You may even be surprised by who listens.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, underage alcohol use increases the risk of academic failure, illicit drug use, and tobacco use. Easily, one bad decision leads to another. When a teenager become caught up in the drug world, it is very difficult to
break loose.

Alcohol not only has emotional issues on teens, but health issues. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause cirrhosis of the liver. In literal terms, your liver is soaked in alcohol causing your liver to fail leading to death. We all want to live healthy, prosperous lives, but alcohol only put a roadblock between us and our plans.

Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered the effects of increasing the drinking age. Drinking among high school seniors went down 13.3%. Alcohol related auto-deaths among 15-20 year olds dropped 58%. Less teenagers made bad choices with their alcohol.

As teenagers living in the 21st century, we always feel the right to be treated as adults. If we expect to be treated like adults, we must act like one. First we have to change the way we think and this comes with our decision making. Alcohol is one privilege given to those who are expected to use it wisely. We are not ready for those responsibilities and for that reason, I think it's best if we wait until the time comes.

The author's comments:
I hope that people look inside themselves and make decisions on what they know.

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