Lower America's Legal Drinking Age For A More Civilized Drinking Culture
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I ask America to reconsider our country's legal drinking age. Not because I want to see "underaged" citizens abusing alcohol, getting trashed and harming themselves, but because I don't.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) wrote in their fact sheet titled "Underage Drinking" on report.nih.gov :
"Alcohol is the drug of choice among America's adolescents, used by more young people than tobacco or illicit drugs... [T]here are 10.1 million underage drinkers in the United States... 39% of current 8th graders, 58% of 10th graders, 72% of 12th graders, and 85% of college students have tried alcohol.
Particularly worrisome among adolescents is the high prevalence of binge drinking... Underage drinkers consume, on average, 4 to 5 drinks per occasion about 5 times a month. By comparison, drinkers age 26 and older consume 2 to 3 drinks per occasion, about 9 times a month. Underage drinking is a leading contributor to death from injuries, which are the main cause of death for people under age 21. Each year, approximately 5,000 persons under the age of 21 die from causes related to underage drinking. These deaths include about 1,600 homicides and 300 suicides.
Alcohol also plays a significant role in risky sexual behavior and increases the risk of physical and sexual assault. Among college students under age 21, 50,000 experience alcohol-related date rape, and 43,000 are injured by another student who has been drinking."
It's time for a change. We need to foster a more European-style culture of drinking that promotes responsibility and civilized sobriety. By diminishing the immense taboo that surrounds alcohol, we can eradicate the tendency for alcohol to serve as an obsession. People are more likely to act like adults if you treat them like adults. People are more likely to treat alcohol respectively if they're allowed to enjoy it. In America, turning 18 entails receiving the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. The right to vote, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults, and to join the military. At 18, anyone can sign up to potentially die for their country, but they are not yet seen as mature enough to have a beer at their local bar.
This isn't 1984 anymore. We have acquired all the federal highway funds we need. So what's the hold up?
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