During the time period of the Vietnam war, there was a brief period where the drinking age was lowered to 18, causing numerous amounts of conflict regarding safety. Lowering the drinking age began to take a toll on the nation’s highways. This caused outbreaks in alcohol-related traffic fatalities which were rapidly increasing causing Congress to put pressure on raising the age. In 1975 when the national drinking age was raised to 21 the number of traffic fatalities decreased. The amount of death lessened and overall had a positive outcome on well being of the younger generation, not only were traffic-related fatalities lessened causing for less worry of drunk underage driving but the cognitive damage in young individuals lessened as well. Though it is still arguable that younger generations have still been prone to drink under the legal drinking age this doesn’t mean that the drinking age should be lowered.
Considering in many other countries the national drinking age is 18 teens and adolescents in countries where the drinking age is higher feel that when they are the rightful age of 18 they are to be considered an adult in almost every context — including in the voting booth, therefore, should they be considered an adult when it comes to ordering a beverage. This being true does not minimize the harms underage drinking causes to one’s health.
“Ruth Sanchez-Way, director of the Center of Substance Abuse Prevention, says teen drinking also involves serious issues of emotional and physical maturity”. She argues that underage alcohol consumption would condone the stunting of mental growth and the possibility of health issues such as impairing one’s ability to make decisions and one’s memory, ultimately resulting in brain deformities; or damaging vital organs such as the stomach causing for one’s consumption of alcohol to lead to acid reflux disease, or in extreme cases of consumption cancer primarily liver. Each of these statistics being serious and concerning thus leading us to question why is this something we are still debating.