Life at 21 years old to keep the communities’

Life
and Death

While researching
texts written about alcohol and legal drinking age, I found a few authors who
published work about the affects alcohol has on an individual. These authors
often placed the importance of keeping alcohol out of the hands of young
induvial because death numbers will increase. These authors talked about the
numerous reasons as why to keep the legal drinking age at 21 years old to keep
the communities’ safe. My goal in this paper is to put the importance on safe
drinking for anyone over the age of 21 but as well as put all the reasons
behind keeping that the legal drinking age.

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Alcohol has
provided many functions for people throughout history, alcohol has played an
important role in religion and worship. Alcoholic beverages have served as sources
of needed nutrients, the have been widely known and used for their medicinal,
antiseptic, and analgesic properties. 
They can also come into play when individuals are trying to enhance the
enjoyment of life. Fermenting grain, fruit juice and honey have been around to
make alcohol for thousands of years.  Foundation
For A Drug-Free World state, “In
early Egyptian civilization these fermented beverages were known to exist. There
is evidence of alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C, India between 3000 and
2000 B.C, Babylonians in 2700 B.C. During these periods alcohol was mainly used
for medicinal purpose” (Foundation for A Drug-Free World). Beginning in
the 18th century, the purpose of alcohol started to change and most
governments did not have interest in them. Foundation For A Drug-Free World
states, “In 1920 that’s
when it all changed for the United States, by passing a law prohibiting the
manufacture, sale, import, and export of intoxicating liquors” (Foundation
for A Drug-Free World). In the United States, that’s when alcoholic beverages
became known as “Moonshine” for the production of this alcohol was made in the
night under moonlight in order to see so they were not caught by law. As well
as the transportation of the Moonshine was done during the night for the same
reason. 

Alcohol comes in a
liquid form and can be bought legally by an adult that is 21 years of age or
older in the United States. Alcohol can have immediate effects on the body after
even a small dose. According to health line, “while a small amount of alcohol can escape the body via
urine and breathing, most of the alcohol a person consumes is absorbed into
their bloodstream” (American Addiction Center). In other words, health
line is informing the public that the full effect is not going to hit you right
away because it will take time to fully enter your bloodstream. Even with the
small amount leaving your body through breathing and going to the restroom it
is not enough to counter the amount in the bloodstream. With the more alcohol
that is consumed the greater of effect it has on an individual’s system. Many
people do not understand what constitutes of a standard drink. According to the
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “one 12-ounce beer with about 5 percent alcohol content is
a good example of a standard drink. Five ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of
80-proof (40 percent alcohol) distilled spirits or liquor are also examples of
standard drinks” (American Addiction Center).
NIAAA’s point is that majority of people do not understand how to
consume a standard amount of alcohol putting others at risk. People are
drinking more than one should in order to still safely operate a vehicle.

Young adults are
in a developmental stage in which they mature physically, mentally, and
behaviorally. They are acquiring the skills that allow them to live independently
growing into self-dependent adults. During this period is marked frequently by
social interactions with peers, exploration of behavior, with an increase of
risk taking actions. Often involves the self-confidence acquired from the use
of alcohol. The brain undergoes enormous structural and functional changes during
the time period of their new life experiences. Based on the group of neurons
that are regularly stimulated also known as plasticity can affects the nerve
cells connected to the brain. “This process eliminates the unnecessary and unused cells resulting in
only the neurons that are meaningful to the body” (NIAAA). In other words,
NIAAA believes that if you add alcohol to the equation while the body is developing
the brain might eliminate cells that are necessary for the future.  Adolescence being such an important time of
brain development that the use of alcohol on the brain can have a negatively
impact during that period. Adolescence in humans is defined as the second
decade of life. NIAAA states, “One brain region where particularly extensive
remodeling occurs is the frontal region of the outer layer of the brain—the
prefrontal cortex—which is thought to be involved in working memory, voluntary
motor behavior, impulse control, rule learning, spatial learning, planning, and
decisionmaking” (NIAAA). NIAAA’s point is
that adolescent time period is the most important time of a humans’ life
because it’s when an individual’s gains and develops all the necessary skills
to be a successful adult. So, alcohol should be left out of the picture since
it can hinder the full development of those skills.

Majority
of privileges and responsibilities are granted to individuals at the age of 18
years of age into adulthood. From legally being able to vote, enlist in the
military, move out on your own if you no longer want to live with your parents
but is that the final point of maturity in humans? No matter how smart a teen
may act their brain has not fully develop. The part of the brain that allows
them to make rational decisions isn’t “fully developed until the age of 25” (The
University of Rochester). The University of Rochester’s point is that young
adults don’t fully mature until 25 so by keeping the drinking age at 21 their decision-making
skills are close to fully development taking away that many more opportunities
of making bad decisions.  Recent study
done by University of Rochester found “that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think
with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part if the
brain that responds to situations with good judgement and an awareness of
long-term consequences. Teen process information with the amygdala. This is the
emotional part” (The University of Rochester). The university’s point is
that adults will take the time to figure out all the outcomes that could
possibly affect their life forever. While teens do not necessarily care or
consider the outcomes that come in the future because they have temporary
happiness. Putting teens into a greater risk of peer pressure meaning that if
an individual is around partners or friends they are 50 percent likely to be a
risk taker around them. With keeping the drinking age at 21 it gives
individuals a couple more years to get past the period where they are thinking
with emotions rather than with logic. Even though some young adults are more
capable of handling things by themselves and other aren’t necessarily ready for
full responsibility. This will keep the number of death tolls down from
drinking and driving within the young adults.

The
Cool Spot states, “The
death toll caused by alcohol consumed by minors for each year is estimated to
be 5,000 deaths” (The Cool Spot). The Cool Spot’s point is that there
are too many accidents among minors that could be prevented from eliminating
alcohol. Cool Spot also states, “In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the leading most cause of death in
people aged 15 to 20″ (The Cool Spot). Cool spot’s point is that even
without alcohol, motor vehicles are very dangerous and always need to be
handled with care since they are the leading cause of deaths. When alcohol is
put into the equation, the chances of alcohol related crashes are doubled in
teens compared to individuals that are of legal drinking age. According to
Edgar Snyder & Associates, ” if a person under 21 years of age is found guilty of an alcohol
violation,…shall be fined. In addition,…may be assigned 8-12 hours of community
service……suspended license or permit for 30 days for first offense… 60 for
second offense, and 180 days for each subsequent offense” (Edgar Snyder
& Associates). Snyder’s point is that in the state of Texas violations are
taken seriously in order to keep the state safe and disciplined. Texas
alcoholic beverage commission states, if a minor is caught driving under the
influence an “Alcohol
awareness class” might be required along with the suspension of license
of permit (Edgar Snyder & Associates). TABS point is that there are serious
outcomes that can come from driving under the influence one possibility being
killing another individual while trying to make it home. So, the awareness
class informs them how much danger they are putting themselves and others in from
a bad decision.

            A major responsibility in consuming alcohol is to not
over drink which could result in alcohol poisoning. Mayo Clinic states, alcohol
poisoning symptoms consist of ” Confusion, Vomiting, Seizures, Slow breathing, Blue-tinged skin or
pale skin, low body temperature, passing out” (Mayo Clinic). Mayo’s
point is some of the symptoms can claim an individual’s life if not recognized
in time to be treated by a bystander or be taken to the hospital. If someone is
suspected to have alcohol poisoning it is suggested a by stander should follow
these steps; first call 911 to have professional assistants on the way, be
prepared to provide important information such as location of the event and
individuals name if known, never leave the person alone if unconscious wait
until 911 has arrived, and help a person who is vomiting so they do not choke
on their own vomit if laying causing death. Alcohol poisoning can be caused by
what is known as “binge drinking”. Binge drinking is defined by Mayo Clinic as
“a pattern of heavy
drinking when a male rapidly consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two
hours, or a female down at least four drinks within two hours”
(Mayo Clinic). Mayo’s point is that binge drinking is very unhealthy for an
individual of any age especially under the age of 21 because there is too much
alcohol running through the bloodstream.

            All the alcohol that is entered into an individual’s
bloodstream while the consumption is metabolized in the liver. According to the
University of New York, “the
liver metabolizes alcohol at the same rate for everyone, regardless of weight,
sex or race” (The University of New York). The University of New York’s
point is that weight or sex does not help an induvial to sober up faster to be
of the legal drinking limit in their state. The University of New York also
states, “On
average, the liver takes one hour to metabolize one ounce of alcohol. For most
people, one ounce of alcohol will produce a .015 blood-alcohol concentration” (The
University of New York). The University’s point is to inform readers of the
damage alcohol can have on the liver from the concentration in the bloodstream.

            The law for the legal drinking limit will vary from state
to state. According to the state of Texas, “driving while intoxicated (DWI) means drunk driving, and the
state uses your blood
alcohol concentration (BAC) to
determine whether you’re too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle
(DMV.org). In other words, Texas DMV believe that the roads should stay safe
for everyone on them to get home safe to their families.  Texas DMV laws state, blood alcohol content “cannot exceed .08%” (DMV.org).
Texas’ point is that if you are driving under the influence any induvial will
be arrested and taken to jail, in order to keep the roads safe for law abiding
citizens.

            Just because underage drinking has
become a major problem throughout the United States doesn’t mean the legal
drinking age should be changed to 18 years of age. Teens that can’t control
their abuse problem will need assistants from parents to put an end to it.
WebMD state if parents, “feel uncomfortable, ask for help from a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist.” (WebMd).  WebMD’s point is that as a parent
the subject cannot go undiscussed even if its uncomfortable because negative
life changing event can happen. By doing this it is hurting
not only the United States from greater death tolls but the individual doing
the drinking. It might not be visible to the naked eye but it starts by
hindering their development of the brain that allows them to make rational
decisions. Leading to un-rational decisions that could change or completely end
their life forever.  WebMD state, “Alcohol…abuse
is a leading cause of teen death or injury related to car crashes, suicides,
violence, and drowning” (WebMD). WebMD’s point
is that teens will abuse the ability to buy alcohol at the age of 18 and the purchase
is a receipt for death. For the benefit of everyone, the government
needs to keep the legal drinking age the same.