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Unfortunately the world is not contained in four walls and the emotions felt on graduation day are not the same ones you feel weeks later when parents' phone rings at 2:00 in the morning and the voice on the other end says "I am sorry but I need you to identify a body." After a night of celebration and drinking, new high school graduate has taken one too many sips of alcohol and died from alcohol poisoning or chose to drive home drunk and ran a stop sign in the process (Fleming, p. 1), killing himself and others, or fell into a depressed drunken state and committed suicide (Carpenter, p. 831-842). These are not the scenarios anyone wants to think about however they are very real. Eighteen may be the age of adulthood or independence but it is not the age of reason, responsibility, maturity, or discernment. An adult under the age of 21 should not be able to legally consume alcohol, nor should they be able to vote, enlist in the military, or enter into legal contracts such as marriage. Studies show these developing minds are just not ready to take on such levels of responsibility.
Those who argue that the legal drinking age should be lowered from 21 years of age to 18 years of age believe this is the age of accountability since it is the age that U.S. citizens have the right to vote. Although 18 are considered the age of adulthood, it should not automatically establish maturity or responsibility. Some also believe the legal drinking age should be lowered to the age of 18 because 18 year olds are able to get married and be held liable for financial matters which are legally binding contracts. I would argue that a legal contract should not be executed or honored by individuals who do not understand the seriousness of the agreement of commitment. At 18 one is considered an adult in the United States; however the law cannot determine one's maturity level or readiness to deal with alcohol and legal matters.
More than 50 million people have alcohol problems in the USA (Klein, 149-169). Alcohol is related to 1000,000 deaths per year. Teenagers are probably most associated with alcohol. However, the drinking age should be kept at 21 for many reasons. One good reason to keep the drinking age at 21 is the physical effect that appears by the use of alcohol. Alcohol starts to play a big role in the early stage of someone's life. It can be fatal if it's consumed in large amounts. But even in small amounts alcohol can have damaging effects on the brain, liver, heart, stomach, and the kidney. Drinkers have to fight with confusion and memory loss. Even memorizing a name can become a big problem.
In addition to the confusion and the memory loss the motor functions of the body can be damaged. That leads to coordination problems and can result in driving accidents, falls, and other injuries (Fleming, p. 16-24). But not only the brain and the motor functions are impaired. The heart, which is one of the most important organs in our body, can also be attacked by the alcohol. Drinking causes a change in the heart vessels. In the long run it can lead to heart attacks and heart failures. Alcohol can also become dangerous for women who are pregnant. It might affect the Childs health. A newborn can face seeing and hearing problems and more damaging effects. The consequence of the alcohol is a baby for his whole life under medication.
The second reason why we should prevent an early use of alcohol is the physical effect. Alcohol is depressant. It can lead to behavior problems such as unprotected sex, violence, and drunken driving (Klein, 149-169). More than 70% of all households that consume alcohol are involved in child abuse cases. 86% are homicides cases and more than 40% car accidents per year happen through influence of alcohol (Fleming, p. 16-24). Drinkers have problems to set goals and are unable to handle responsibility. It could influence schoolwork and other activities outside the school. They can't carry the responsibility and schoolwork can result in bad grades and a bad scholarship.
The last reason why drinking should be kept at 21 is the social issue. Drinkers are separating themselves from the society. They hardly speak to anyone and stay out of conversations. They have mostly no friends and no support from their family. Alcoholics live most of the time alone and have no contact to the outside world. Besides going to work they only go out when they need to take care of their groceries. Most drinkers however deny that they depend on alcohol and look for other excuses to blame on why they are separating themselves. Most likely, young drinkers will avoid any contact to the parents and their friends. That can result in overdose of alcohol and an early death.
We have to prevent our children from drinking alcohol and the best way we can do it is to keep the drinking age at 21. It can get out of control and we have to prevent more car accidents and alcohol related deaths in total. Teens cannot fully understand the situation that occurs by consuming alcohol. We can reduce this risk by just setting the drinking age at 21. However, we have to get more involved in the control over the buying of alcohol. It is still not enough done to make it more difficult to buy alcohol.