America has one of the highest drinking ages in the world at twenty-one. Our northern neighbors, Canada, draw the line at nineteen. On our southern border, Mexico draws the line at eighteen. The majority of European countries also draw the legal drinking line at eighteen. Does this mean Americans are too strict?
The American drinking age is set at twenty-one because alcohol can seriously stunt a teen's growth and development. Through research it has been found that at the age of twenty-one alcohol will no longer inhibit growth and development for the majority of bodies. This is why America holds the bar high.
A ramification of the high drinking age has caused a problem among youth. This is the problem of under-aged drinking. Because there is a "can not have" on alcohol, many American teens end up drinking too much to the point of passing out when they do drink. Binge drinking is common among children and young adults.
Decreasing the drinking age is not the answer to America's under-aged drinking problem. According to the Partnership at Drug Free.Org: Dramatic Differences Found in American and European Teenage Substance Use, European countries have alcohol abuse problems as well because their drinking age is lower than America's. Europe has more teens drinking alcohol in school than America does.
Over fifty percent of adults eighteen and over are current drinkers, meaning they have had at least twelve drinks in the past year. Over twelve percent of adults age eighteen and over are infrequent drinkers, meaning they had between one and eleven drinks in the past year. This means that the majority of Americans eighty and over are alcohol drinkers, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol Use for the US
Binge drinking is when a person drinks so much alcohol that their body goes into shock and gets sick, vomiting uncontrollably, or blacks out. All of these symptoms are very dangerous as they could cause the body to shut down completely and die. Many binge drinkers visit the emergency room every year to get their stomachs pumped because they were binge drinking.
The number of alcohol-induced deaths in America, excluding alcohol-related deaths which included accidents and homicides, is 25,692. Many American towns have an entire population smaller than this number.
Alcohol is damaging to the liver. The liver is the part of the body which filters harmful chemicals from the blood, and alcohol is definitely a harmful chemical. The more a person drinks, the less able the liver is to perform this function. Alcoholics who do not die from binge drinking or accidents tend to die in their mid-forties and fifties from alcohol poisoning.
Modern medicine has made it possible for most people to live to be a hundred or older. Alcohol poisoning is literally cutting a person's life span in half. A few drinks here and there may seem like a good idea, but consider this fact: preventable death is always one of the hardest subjects to change since it is cured by people making better choices.
Raising awareness on the subject of alcohol abuse is a positive way to reverse the American alcohol epidemic which is plaguing this country. Nobody needs to die from alcohol poisoning or liver damage. There is so much to live for in this world – do not let alcohol take it away.