I salute you all! Today, we want to learn about why the drinking age should be lowered to 18. This talk comes in a time when there have been reported many incidents of death or immoral actions that have resulted from irresponsible drinking by adolescents. This talk is not meant to mislead the public but to create a clear understanding on the problems of setting the drinking age at 21. The topic on lowering the drinking age to 18 will open more understanding why new initiative should be embraced by policy makers in order to encourage responsible drinking.
In every year, millions of American young adults graduate from various high schools. The graduation marks a special time in history in their lives. As for this reason, they organize parties and enjoy a variety of foods and drinks-including alcohol. They often take alcohol, becoming drunk and getting arrested and harassed by the police for months and even years (Engs, 1998). Because of these harassments directed to American young adults, there have been heated debates on whether to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18 or to abolish the entire law on drinking age.
Today, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am going to support and give a strong backup argument why we should reduce the drinking age from 21 to 18. After the talk, we shall appreciate why it is legitimate for the individuals over the age of 18 should be allowed to take alcohol in controlled environments like taverns, restaurants, pubs as well as other official university and school functions. The only good manner to solve alcohol abuse is not criminalizing alcohol use for individuals under the age of 18; instead, it is concrete to teach the young adults on matters to do with sensible, mature and responsible drinking (Engs, 1998).
Ladies and Gentlemen, we should appreciate the meaning of the many surrounding ideologies and theories on ‘the forbidden fruit’ or the ‘badge of insurgence against the law’ and rethink about criminalizing alcohol consumption among young adults aged below 21. The ban has not succeeded; instead, an increasing number of young adults, a majority of them being college students, illegally purchase alcohol and take it irresponsibly (Dejong & Hanson, 2008). Since it is illegal to purchase alcohol, once they get some chance to buy, they will buy much of it and take excessively to compensate the denied days.
We should not be ready to let history repeat itself. History will judge us mercilessly like it did with our forefathers and fathers back in the 1850s and 1920s when there were instituted state prohibitions and National Prohibitions respectively. From the histories, we learn that all these efforts did not bear viable fruits and the laws were finally revoked since the backlash towards these laws caused an array of social problems. Today, the prohibitions have definitely failed, retracing the history of the 1850s and 1920s. They will neither work in the future nor the generations to come after.
Critics have stood in support of these cynical laws claiming that that accidents and alcohol related problems have reduced significantly because of the raising of the purchase age (Dejong & Hansen, 2008). These claims are all based on total flaws. What have resulted to a significant reduction in road accident are not the drinking age prohibitions but the efforts and resources that have been invested in educating drivers, improved driver programs, increased airbag and safety belt usage, speed governors, safer automobiles and free taxi services from drinking areas.
It is important to appreciate that there has been a greater reduction in per capita alcohol consumption and road accidents. However, during this same time, there has been a marked increase in general problems related to irresponsible and heavy drinking among the young adults (Dejong & Hanson, 2008). The problems related to overconsumption of alcohol have not yet been reduced despite the enforcement of the purchase age law in 1987. What then, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the purpose of the law, which does not make any difference in our society?
Instead of positively anticipating good results from the laws, surprisingly, we get slaps on our faces due to the new laws. Why should we keep silence while things go out of hand? The prohibition law has instead encouraged the several problems related to irresponsible drinking such as reduction in academic performance, hangovers which make the college students not to attend classes and actions or violence and immorality such as rape (Engs, 1998).
The increased problems of abusive drinking have mainly resulted from underground drinking where they cannot be seen by any adult. The young adults end up not getting important information about responsible drinking from the adults since they often drink with their peers who are equally ignorant of the dangers of alcohol intake. Ladies and Gentlemen, upon examining the dangers of setting the drinking age at 21, we should find out some of the options that may work with our young adults in the society. We should search for new alternatives which might seem to work.
Perhaps, borrowing from other cultures such as the Chinese, Italians, Greeks and Jews may act as a solution. These groups usually have no problems or have minor drinking-related problems (Dejong, 2008). References Engs, R. (1998). Why the Drinking Age Should Be Lowered: An Opinion Based Upon Research. Retrieved April 30, 2010, from http://www. indiana. edu/~engs/articles/cqoped. html Dejong, W. & Hanson, D. (2008, November, 2008). Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered to 18? American Teacher, 93, 8-21.