Newspaper editor Fil Gravatte explains here how to go about to reducing underage alcohol abuse. Resources on the topic follow his piece.
I suppose we can argue that it’s ignorance or just plain human nature. When people are held within boundaries, they always seem to cross the lines. They explore the forbidden and break the rules.
Especially in our youth, rebellion seems to show itself to the utmost in the household, classroom or workplace. The prohibition on drinking alcohol for anyone under 21 is one of those rules broken constantly all over the nation.
Legal Drinking Age
In the U.S., the legal drinking age is 21. However, a large number of not only college, but high school and even junior high students, drink. Yet underage drinking isn’t enough. Beyond the drinking, young people abuse alcohol to the commonly known degree of complete intoxication.
Not by accident, either; many students and teenagers are intent on passing out before they even begin to drink. Why such an outrageous craving to drink to the point of a drunken stupor?
Drinking as Spite
Children drink despite their parents’ rules. They do so to prove a point, to make a statement, or simply to enjoy the thrill. The less allowed, the more curious young people become.
Laws are in effect and people know the severe consequences for underage drinking. Yet the youth of this nation are on a one-minded track for the weekend shindig of drinking. It’s unvarying even if it means throwing up with a throbbing hangover headache the next morning.
Unreasonable Drinking Age
Our national legal drinking age of 21 is the highest in the world. Adults 18 years old are mature enough to serve in the military, vote for president, and serve on a jury. However, the U.S. finds those 21 and under not mature enough to drink alcohol. Why is it we can fight a war for our country yet cannot drink? It seems unreasonable.
A solution to the illegal use of alcohol is to lower the drinking age. Then youths can learn the correct use of alcohol at a younger age.
In Europe, the drinking age in some countries is 12. That permits the young to acclimate at a younger age and develop better judgment skills. Perhaps if our drinking age were lower, the rebellion of teenagers and their desire to drink in would diminish.
Safer and still enjoyable drinking at parties or with friends could prevail. But the current laws are obviously not working.
Resources: Reducing Underage Alcohol Abuse
McCardell, J. Let Them Drink at 18, With a Learners Permit. New York Times, May 28, 2012.
Peele, S. Addiction Proof Your Child. Potter, 2009.