One of the hottest topics of debate in today’s world is the legal drinking age. The reason why this topic is much debated nowadays is because of the fact that many people are of the opinion that a person is grown up at the age of 18 and has a clear understanding of what is wrong or right at this age. Most people in the United States, do not regard the legal drinking age as the right one, in other words, they do not agree with it.
Many citizens strongly argue that the legal age to buy, possess or purchase alcohol drinks should be 18 years rather than 21. Taking into consideration that the American citizens are allowed to vote at the age of 18 years, this seems to be quite a valid point of argument, however, drinking age is not changed to 18 years as teenagers are considered not to be capable of getting over alcohol at such tender age.
The current age limit is the correct age as a person is matured enough at the age of 21 and knows his/ her social responsibility. Lowering the age to 18 years old would only bring about chaos in the life of a teenager as it is the age when they are careless and reckless. “The teenage brain is not just an adult brain with fewer miles on it,” says Frances E. Jensen, a professor of neurology. “It’s a paradoxical time of development.
These are people with very sharp brains, but they’re not quite sure what to do with them” (Ruder par. 2). Legal drinking age should not be changed to 18 as teenagers still do not understand their mental hardwiring, thus it would only lead to much chaos in their lives which will result in more drinking problems as teenagers are more subjected to some of alcohol’s effects than the adults are.
Teenagers neither understand nor have a complete control of their life. “Teen brains, for example, are more susceptible than their adult counterparts to alcohol-induced toxicity. Jensen highlights an experiment in which rat brain cells were exposed to alcohol, which blocks certain synaptic activity. When the alcohol was washed out, the adult cells recovered while the adolescent cells remained “disabled.”” (Ruder par. 9).
Teenagers are more prone to addiction than adults and if they are given the license to drink it would only result in numerous teenagers becoming alcoholics. Their brains are still not developed and they are more vulnerable to bad influences from the outside.
Many people are of the opinion that lowering the age is desirable as we are just suppressing the young people and it makes alcohol more desirable for them as they are not allowed to drink it by the law.
On the contrary, lowering the age would not in any way be beneficial for them as it would rather increase their ability to obtain alcohol freely which in turn would produce countless teenage alcoholics. “The adolescent brain is still undergoing several maturational processes that render it more vulnerable to some of the effects of substances” (Tapert par. 4).
Teenagers are not in a position to make right judgments. Human and animal studies, as Jensen and Urion note, have shown that “the brain grows and changes continually in young people—and that it is only about 80 percent developed in adolescents” (Ruder par. 5). Therefore, the legal age of drinking should be not lowered as it is irresponsible as well as immoral to hand over alcohol to teenagers who are mentally unstable at their age.
Lowering the drinking age would only lead to chaos in teenagers’ lives which would also result in more drinking problems. “Adolescence is a time of transition, physically, socially, and emotionally. The adolescent brain is in transition as well” (Giedd et al. par. 2).
Despite the fact that all vital functional and structural changes happen in the brain all through the childhood to adulthood, it is during the adolescent period that such changes mostly occur. (Alcohol and Adolescent Brain Development par. 2). Teenagers are easily influenced; they are not in that stage of life when judgments are correct and their acts are conscious.
If the age is lowered, many teenagers would be trapped as they are more prone to addiction to alcohol than adults. It would, in its turn, impact the choices the teens make, which would often be wrong that will negatively influence their whole lives. Teenage years is the period when it is impossible to have a complete control of things as the brain formation has not been completed yet.
If teenagers are addicted to something, it becomes very difficult for them to give up bad habits. “During adolescence, the brain undergoes a major remodeling involving the formation of new connections between nerve cells, as well as the pruning of existing synaptic connections. These changes affect the processes involved in planning and decision making, impulse control, voluntary movement, memory, and speech production, among others” (Rubia et al. par. 3).
Therefore, it is not right to treat teenagers as adults and give them the responsibilities those of adults. It would also be highly irresponsible to give them the freedom to drink as 18 is not the right age to make mature decisions in life.
“Research also suggests that adolescents are less sensitive than adults to some of alcohol’s effects. For example, adolescent rats, on their first exposure to alcohol, are less susceptible than adult rats to alcohol’s sedative effects, as well as its effects on balance and motor coordination” (Little et al. & White et al.).
Teenager’s brain is not fully developed which makes it more vulnerable to alcohol-induced toxicity than an adult’s brain. They should be protected from making the wrong choices in life so basically alcohol is definitely not the right thing to do.
From the above discussion it is clear and evident that the legal drinking age should not be changed to 18. The legal drinking age should not be lowered as teenagers of 18 still do not understand their necessities; it would only lead to bigger chaos in their lives resulting in more drinking problems since teenagers are less stable and resistant to some of the alcohol’s effects.
Alcohol and Adolescent Brain Development. 2008. AddictionInfo.org. 2008. Web. 05 February 2012. http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/2563/1/Alcohol-and-Adolescent-Brain-Development/Page1.html&title=Alcohol+and+Adolescent+Brain+Development&desc=+-+Article+exploring+recent+scientific+evidence+that+alcohol+affects+adolescents+and+adults+differently%2C+and+discussing+findings+regarding+adolescent+brain+development
Ruder, Debra Bradley. “The Teen Brain”. Harvard Magazine. 2008. Web. 04 February 2012.
Tapert & Trudeau, Michelle. “Teen Drinking May Cause Irreversible Brain Damage”. NPR. 2007. Web. 05 February 2012.