The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Lowering the drinking age will not solve the problem

Alcohol is a forbidden topic in the United States. It’s dangerous and leads to disease, addiction, injury and death. So no one talks about it and therefore no one learns how to respect it.
The younger a person is the less they tend to understand how to treat alcohol. Until the social norm changes to accept alcohol as a part of life and responsibility is taught, lowering the drinking age to 18 will only encourage misuse and ultimately be detrimental to society.

Recently college presidents from about 100 universities across the nation came together to encourage lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. They reasoned that the current laws encourage binge drinking on campus rather than stopping minors from drinking.

When college students enter their freshman year it’s almost a right of passage to go out and party. For most people, it is the first time that they are away from parental supervision and can actually do what they want.

That kind of partying is what leads to many of the alcohol related deaths for college-aged students. They don’t understand how to have fun, but not go overboard.

The changing of a law would not change the culture that exists around alcohol. It wouldn’t change the desire for students to binge drink or get ridiculously drunk.

Although 21 may not be a perfect number and legal age students aren’t necessarily responsible either, the age has been helping to dramatically cut down alcohol-related deaths. Since the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) law was enacted, an estimated 25,000 lives have been saved, as stated on the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website.

Although many believe that if the MLDA was lowered to 18, it would give parents an opportunity to teach their children how to safely drink before sending them off to college.

The MADD website states parents are the most common supplier of alcohol to those under 21. If this is truly the case then parents already have that opportunity. By supplying their children with enough alcohol to throw a party, they are allowing for opportunities where binge drinking and other dangerous acts can occur.

After the 21 MLDA law was put into place, many underage alcohol related incidents lessened greatly. The number of teens killed annually in crashes involving drunk drivers under 21 has been cut in half since the early 1980’s, from more than 5,000′ teens then to nearly 2,000 in 2005. Also, research indicates that if people don’t start to drink before they are 21, they will drink less overall.

There are also many physical consequences to underage binge drinking and misuse. A person’s brain doesn’t stop developing until their mid-20s. Heavy drinking prior to the finishing of that development can lead to negative affects on the brain. It can affect coordination, decision making, mental health, speech and memory. People who drink heavily before they are 21 also are at greater risk for alcoholism at some time in their life.

It seems although everyone can agree that alcohol is a problem for students, the right course of action is to take none at all in reference to the law. Part of the problem of underage drinking is not the law but society itself, who by not discussing alcohol encourages misuse when students are finally free from their parents. If society can help to change the taboo that is on alcohol then maybe the law can be looked at and changed if necessary. Until that happens, the law should continue to keep the minimum drinking age at 21.

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