"So what If I'm Not 21?"- The debate over the Minimum legal drinking age

Essay by shawnnathegreatCollege, UndergraduateA-, January 2005

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So What if I'm Not 21?

At the age of 18, one gains many responsibilities, such as being able to marry. But if you're 20, don't even think about having that traditional sip of champagne at your wedding reception because every state in the United States has set the legal drinking age at 21 years old. The drinking age has a major impact on the 18-21 year-old crowd because many feel drinking is a right they should have since they are considered adults. This is an issue that faces the national and state governments. The United States passed a law in 1984 to raise the drinking age to 21, and would reduce highway funds for states that didn't change the age. Should the drinking age be lowered to 18 years old, when one is considered an adult, and assumes adult privileges and penalties, or should the drinking age remain at 21 years old, since people are more mature and therefore, can be safe and responsible with alcohol?

The debate started with the Prohibition, and whether alcohol consumption in it's entirety should be legal or not.

Prohibition occurred in 1919, when the 18th Amendment was approved. Prohibition outlawed the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors. This Amendment was repealed with the 21st Amendment in 1933. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 required all of the states to change their legal drinking age. If the states refused to comply with the law, they would lose federal funding.

Doctor Enoch Gordis states that "the earlier children begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop serious alcohol related problems in their lifetime".( about.com)

Current research shows that persons who first drank alcohol before age 15 were more than five times as likely to report alcohol dependence or abuse in the...