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Emily Kong

5/24/11
Health- Alcohol Debate

The legal age to vote, serve on a jury, or be drafted is 18. Should the minimal legal drinking age
be changed to 18 too?

Pro:

The law has reduced highway deaths that contribute to an increase in off-highway deaths. The
surgeon general McCardell says more than 3,000 Americans under the age of 21 are dying every
year of alcohol-related causes other than driving including homicide, suicide, and alcohol
poisoning.

Streeter, Ruth. "The Debate On Lowering The Drinking Age - 60 Minutes - CBS News."
Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. CBS, 1 Mar.
2010. Web. 24 May 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/19/60minutes/
main4813571_page4.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody>.

Hasn’t reduced under-age drinking (Miller) John M. McCardell, former president of


Middlebury College in Vermont and founder of Choose Responsibility said, “It does not reduce
drinking. It has simply put young adults at greater risk.” The federal government’s National
Survey on Drug Use and Health found that in 2005, the most recent year for which complete
figures are available, 85 percent of 20-year-old Americans reported that they had used alcohol.
Two out of five said they had binged — that is, consumed five or more drinks at one time —
within the previous month.”

Miller, John J. "The Case Against 21 - John J. Miller." National Review Online. National
Review, 19 Apr. 2007. Web. 24 May 2011.
<http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/220660/case-against-21/john-j-miller>.

Causes kids to not seek help out of fear of punishment (Flynn)


"Drunkenness also spawns other problems—from assaults and rapes to accidents and alcohol
poisonings, both fatal and nearly so. Young adults who are drinking illegally are reluctant to
summon help when things go wrong. “If a student passes out, in the old days there was usually
someone around to check,” says Alan Marlatt, a psychology professor at the University of
Washington who helped develop a widely used alcohol-screening program called BASICS.
“Now everyone’s afraid of getting caught.”"

Flynn, Sean. "Teen Drinking | Parade.com." PARADE Magazine, Celebrity News, Entertainment
News, Health, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Games | Parade.com. Parade, 12 Aug. 2007. Web. 24
May 2011. <http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2007/edition_08-12-2007/Teen_Drinking>.

Just transfers deaths to 21-24 age group


As researchers Peter Asch and David Levy put it, the "minimum legal drinking age is not a
significant-or even a perceptible-factor in the fatality experience of all drivers or of young
drivers." In an in-depth and unrefuted study Asch and Levy prove that raising the drinking age
merely transferred lost lives from the 18-20 bracket to the 21-24 age group."
"Drinking Age FAQ." National Youth Rights Association. National Youth Rights Association.
Web. 24 May 2011. <http://www.youthrights.org/dafaq.php>.

Con:

Forbidden fruit argument on alcohol fails on facts (Voas)

"As for the forbidden fruit argument, the opposite is true. Research shows that back when some
states still had a minimum drinking age of 18, youths in those states who were under 21 drank
more and continued to drink more as adults in their early 20s. In states where the drinking age
was 21, teenagers drank less and continue to drink less through their early 20s."

Voas, Robert. "There's No Benefit to Lowering the Drinking Age." The Christian Science
Monitor - CSMonitor.com. Christian Science, 12 Jan. 2006. Web. 24 May 2011.
<http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0112/p09s01-coop.html>.

Alcohol consumption not comparable to military service (Voas)

"First, I'm not sure what going to war and being allowed to drink have in common. The military
takes in youngsters particularly because they are not yet fully developed and can be molded into
soldiers. The 21 law is predicated on the fact that drinking is more dangerous for youth because
they're still developing mentally and physically, and they lack experience and are more likely to
take risks. Ask platoon leaders and unit commanders, and they'll tell you that the last thing they
want is young soldiers drinking."

European youth are not more responsible drinkers (Voas)

Do European countries really have fewer youth drinking problems? No, that's a myth. Compared
to American youth, binge drinking rates among young people are higher in every European
country except Turkey. Intoxication rates are higher in most countries; in the Britain, Denmark,
and Ireland they're more than twice the US level. Intoxication and binge drinking are directly
linked to higher levels of alcohol-related problems, such as drinking and driving.

A large majority of Americans oppose lowering drinking age (Flynn)

A 2005 ABC News poll, taken on the 21st anniversary of the 1984 federal law that forced states
to raise their drinking ages, found that 78% of the public opposed a lower age. A 2007 Gallup
Poll found that 77% of Americans oppose lowering the drinking age to 18.

Flynn, Sean. "Teen Drinking | Parade.com." PARADE Magazine, Celebrity News, Entertainment
News, Health, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Games | Parade.com. Parade, 12 Aug. 2007. Web. 24
May 2011. <http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2007/edition_08-12-2007/Teen_Drinking>.