Oppositionof the Proposal To Allow The 18-20 Year Olds Start Drinking AfterCompleting An Alcohol Education Program
Alcoholconsumption by the young adults causes numerous harms like deaths,commission of a crime, risky sexual behavior and criminalvictimization amongst others. A substantial portion of the harmscaused is imposed directly on other people. There is a theoreticalpossibility, backed by laboratory evidence, that young adults maydiscount the future utility in a way that underestimates the futureharm that can result from their current behaviors. As a result, eventhe risks borne directly by the person drinking are not consideredwhen deciding on the amount of alcohol that one should consume. Giventhe high costs imposed by drinkers on other people without themtaking account of the harm they cause, there is a case forlegislature`s intervention regarding alcohol consumption. Minimumdrinking age can represent one of the approaches towards reduction ofdrinking between young adults (Cund 39).
Researchshows that most people drink heaviest at their late teens andmid-twenties. Thedetermination of the minimum drinking age requires careful estimateof the losses in consumer surplus, as well as benefits to the drinkerand society after reduction of alcohol-related harms. However,focusing on a more feasible analysis, the drinking age is currentlyset at 21 years. If lowered between 18 and 20 years of age inconjunction with alcohol education programs, I believe that thisshould not be recommended (Carr and George128).
Therefore,the repercussions resulting from a change in drinking age from 21 canbe well demonstrated by evaluating the mortality rate. This enhancesthe characterization of the harms to both the drinker and closerelatives and friends. Studies show that between ages 18 and the 20have a high tolerance to risk, hence have a high likelihood ofdrinking heavily and exposing themselves to danger like recklessdriving. However, studies on the appropriate drinking age have notbeen successful. In United States, all young adults below 21 years ofage are subject to minimum drinking age that is legally acceptable(Rosenbaum 28).
Itis evident that the call for alcohol abstinence for persons under theage of 21 has been unsuccessful. Also, the current education programsare mandated by law to offer education on abstinence only (Carr andGeorge 129). I feel that this is biased in that they assume that onlyfew people less than 21 years of age drink. I feel that the alcoholeducation programs are based on three major myths. First myth is thatthe use of alcohol is the same as abuse of alcohol. Second myth isthat consumption of alcohol acts as a gateway to drug abuse. Thethird myth is that the exaggeration of dangers related with alcoholconsumption has a high probability of scaring young people andcompelling them to abstain.
Itis crucial to understand that young adults are very observant of theworld around them. Therefore, it is easier for them to conclude thatpeople enjoy taking alcohol without causing any harm or abusing itwhatsoever. However, most the alcohol abstinence-only educationprograms tend to ignore the most crucial distinction and treat everyuse of alcohol as abuse. Theoretically, use of one substance, liketobacco, acts as a gateway to other drugs. Nevertheless, research hasfailed in proofing that taking of one substance leads to another.Also, young people can easily note that the people who consumealcohol do not necessarily purge into drug abuse (Carr andGeorge132).
Therefore,such an exaggeration of alcohol consumption had been a majorcomponent of alcohol education. It should be noted that healthterrorism and scare tactics are ineffective and counterproductive.This is because as young people mature, they understand the falsityof associated myths, and at that, all educators lose theircredibility.Alcohol had become part of the culture in the West, andmany people enjoy alcohol beverages. The pretense of young peoplegrowing up and entering the world of abstinence is irresponsible andunrealistic. Even the religious groups that stress on abstinenceamong the members have not been successful. Most young people takealcohol, at least on an occasional basis. This does not imply thatthey are defaulters. It simply implies that alcohol is part of theyouthful culture (Cund 35).
Unfortunately,the only goal of alcohol education programs is to promote abstinenceamong those less than 21 years of age. Adults between 18 and 20 yearsare told to abstain to the extent of being given strategies on howthey can keep off from alcoholic beverages. For those who chose todrink, nothing is provided for them. The programs do not giveinformation of pacing consumption, alcohol equivalency, importance ofeating healthy while drinking or any information that can contributeto the reduction of possible harm that result from abuse of alcohol(Cund 36).
Therefore,I feel that allowing the 18-20 year olds to drink after such acorrupted education programs based on assumptions, the ultimate goalof reducing harm caused by irresponsible drinking will never berealized. The protection of such young people and promoting theirsafety should be the goal of any program. In this case, the youngpeople will be provided with unbiased, accurate and truthfulinformation and alcohol and associated harms. Also, the abuse and useof alcohol should be distinguished. The youngsters must be taught themost effective ways of reducing potential harm that may result fromabuse of alcohol.
Currently,I am opposed to the education programs that are being provided.Instead of stigmatizing alcohol and scaring young people, thelegislation needs to recognize that the abuse of alcohol is the onethat is harmful as opposed to alcohol itself. Teaching about aresponsible approach towards alcohol consumption does not mean thatthe student consume alcohol, just the same way as teaching geographyabout Nepal does mean that the student should visit Nepal. Teachingis done so that the student can perform tasks related to whateverlearned in a more responsible manner. For adults, moderate drinkingand abstinence must be equally accepted among adults, and studentsmust be prepared for either choice (Rosenbaum 42).
Furthermore,research indicates that the development of the brain continuesthroughout out the adolescence up to young adulthood. It is thereforemy concern that drinking while at this critical stage of developmentin a person`s life can potentially lead to the lifetime impairmentsand poor brain functioning, especially relating to coordination,motor skills and memory. Young adults have a high likelihood of bingedrinking as well as suffer from repeated alcohol withdrawal bouts. Inthis case, binge drinking entails consumption of about three drinksfor women and four drinks for men in a period of about two hours.
Therefore,from the evidence put across by this paper, young 18-20 year oldsshould not be allowed to drink. First because of the fragility of thelife-stage there are in, and the harms involved, and second, becauseof the poor content alcohol education program. This means that theyoung adults will not be fully equipped on how to handlealcohol-related issues. This proposal must be reviewed.
Carr,Pattie L., and George S. Mcclellan. "Alcohol Awareness Throughthe Arts: The Power of Dance in a College Alcohol Education Program."Journalof Dance Education8.4 (2008): 128-30. Web.
Cund,Audrey. "Alcohol Education Revisited: Exploring How Much Time WeDevote to Alcohol Education in the Nursing Curriculum." NurseEducation in Practice13.1 (2013): 35-39. Web.
Rosenbaum,Marsha. SafetyFirst: A Reality-based Approach to Teens, Drugs, and Drug Education.San Francisco, CA: Lindesmith Center, 1999. Print.