Free Illuminating Article Essay Sample

In this illuminating article, Dr. Morris E. Chafetz, doctor of psychiatry and founder of the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, discusses how and why the legal minimum drinking age of 21 is ineffective in reducing alcohol-related fatalities in America.  The essay also proposes that binge drinking in general, and not just underage drunk-driving, is the real alcohol-related problem for college students, and that alternatives to a legal drinking age would be more likely to reduce heavy episodic consumption of alcohol.

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This source is essential to my research paper, because it directly informs and supports my argument that the current legal drinking age of 21 is ineffective in reducing the main cause of alcohol-related fatalities among college students, which my research determines is binge drinking. This source also provides some useful insights about why binge drinking is a problem, and the relationship between binge drinking and the current minimum legal drinking age becomes evident in Chaftetz’s report. Referring to hard statistical evidence that has emerged from drinking patterns over the last three decades, Chafetz brings some important patterns to light in a credible and objective way; ones that plainly demonstrate how the current minimum legal drinking age of 21 is purely trivial. At the same time, Chafetz’s also looks at cultural patterns that indicate how and why “those at whom the law is directed disobey it routinely” (Chafetz), which correspond to my thesis that the drinking age and binge drinking among college students are directly related.  This expert writer’s conclusions drinking patterns, the current 21 drinking age and the instances of off-roadway drinking problems associated with the 18 to 21 year-old age group will help me to strengthen my (research-backed) opinion that instances of binge drinking will be likely to decrease if the drinking age were lowered.

This source presents a body of literature both in favor of and against lowering the legal drinking age. In addition to the many statistics, facts and study findings that can be found in this resource, this website also includes a list of pros and cons that inform both sides of the drinking age debate as well as a general comparison of different perspectives that influence the argument about the current drinking age. These facts, comparisons and summative claims about the debate in general can help me establish the very purpose of my paper, which is to illustrate how lowering the drinking age can reduce binge drinking in American colleges, as well as back up my claims about the relationship between the current drinking age and binge drinking among college students. In addition, the website includes user comments; an analysis of which might be useful to my claims about undocumented reasons and patterns of binge drinking among college students.

This article examines the origins of the nation’s 21 year-old drinking age law as an attempt to “address the problem of drunken driving fatalities,” while also making clear that since the law’s inception in1984, states have enforced this drinking age “under threat of highway fund withholding” (McCardell) from the federal government. McCardell makes a case for lowering or abolishing the minimum drinking age altogether due to the law’s ineffectiveness in curbing alcohol-related fatalities (as well as the financially-driven political motives behind the law’s continued national enforcement and support), while responding to the concerns and convictions maintained by those who oppose minimum drinking age reform.

This source will inform the portion of my research paper that discusses the ineffectiveness of the current drinking law, while also shedding light on my discussion about why reform is met with resistance (which is, in part, due to the political motives for maintaining the law that McCardell’s work makes clear). McCardell also offers a few alternatives to a minimum drinking age that may be more effective in reducing alcohol-related fatalities among college students, such as licensure. These ideas will help me to illustrate how binge-drinking can be reduced with a lower drinking age, or even without one at all.

This resource offers research-based information about college binge drinking for college administrators, parents and students. The website offers a wide body of educational literature about drinking patterns on college campuses, which include age and gender demographics related to the heavy episodic consumption of alcohol. The website also includes statistical data about the failure of the current drinking age to reduce binge drinking problems (“more than 80 percent of American youth consume alcohol before their 21st birthday”) and utilizes research findings to illustrate just how dangerous of a problem binge drinking is for American college students (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

This resource will be central to my discussion about the problems associated with binge drinking, and will inform my assertion that binge drinking, not underage drinking, is the real threat to college students. The patterns in binge drinking in relation to the drinking age will also be useful to my final paper, as I can utilize these findings as reported by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to demonstrate how lowering the drinking age may actually reduce instances of binge drinking on college campuses by making alcohol more accessible to young adults who chose to drink.


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