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Alcohol Legislation Exponentially Heightens Teenage Deaths


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Dear Mr. President:

I got the call at 3:00am.

“Sarah, I’m at the hospital in Milwaukee. I really need you to pick me up.”

I am in shock, not believing a word my friend says. But why would he lie about this? I don’t want to drive all the way to Milwaukee, where I don’t know where I am going, especially at three in the morning.

I was the only one who answered his phone calls. I was his only chance.

“Sarah, I swear to God, I am not lying and my phone is about to die. I need you.”

My friend was at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the day this happened. It was 100 degrees outside and he didn’t drink or eat much. And the only thing that was in his stomach was alcohol.

My friend could have died that day. No one was watching him, but thankfully the paramedics found him passed out in the bathroom stall, and they took good care of him.

In 2006, 2,121 people between ages 16 to 20 died in alcohol-related deaths according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 1984, the figure was 4,612—the drinking age was 18. So why would we want that rate to increase? So why would we want that rate to increase? “Keeping the drinking age at 21 has saved lives,” James C. Fell said in the LA Times article “Is lowering the drinking age a good idea.” And he is correct.

“What you’re saying is 18 year-olds today get 21 year-olds to go get them liquor…[And if we lowered the drinking age] 15 year-olds would get the 18 year-olds to do that" 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl said.

It is obvious that people under the age of 21 are drinking. And because of this, I believe there needs to be drinking education in schools. Classes would include the chemistry of alcohol, the physical consequences of abuse, and sitting in on AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) sessions. This would hopefully prevent students who aren’t 21 from illegally consuming.

Knowing that one of my very close friends could have died from alcohol poisoning scares me. It is so sad to see people die at such a young age from something that is illegal and preventable. Drinking is a very dangerous thing—for any age—and people need to be responsible. I think keeping the drinking age at 21 is a smart decision because we don’t want more of America dying.



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