Underage Drinking In America
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Underage Drinking In America:
It’s Monday night at about 11:30, but I’m doing something different tonight that I haven’t done on a Monday night in a while; I’m staying sober. Yes, I am underage (19 years and 6 months to be exact) and it won’t be until my Junior year of college before I can take my first legal drink in the United States. But I am not the only one who drinks while under the legal age limit; there is an estimated 63% of underage college students that get drunk on a minimum basis of one night a week (Foster, 1996).
In Mexico I can be drunk any night of the week because of the 18 year old age limit on alcohol; so if I were in Mexico right now drinking, I would be drinking legally. Europe as well has very low or no drinking age laws at all. In Germany all you have to do is reach up to the counter and order a beer. In fact, mothers give their infants a substance called maltzbeir, which has several important proteins and carbohydrates essential to healthy growing (Dane, 1997). All this from the country that has no speed limit on it busiest highway and doesn’t have a problem with drunk driving. France as well has a custom of giving its youth wine to drink instead of water. They do this because the waterways of France, especially Paris, are so filthy and contaminated, it is not prohibited to drink from there, or even bathe in it. For France’s sake, the drinking is more than just a social allowance; it is a survival one too.
The one difference between the aforementioned countries and the United States is the United States is the only one in the world with a problem with underage drinking. We are the only country that has to ID everyone who looks under 40 at the door or at the register. We are the only country in the world where we set up organizations to stop people from drinking instead of teaching everyone how to do it in moderation.
When American teens go out and drink, they don’t drink because it tastes good (that’s not why I drink), they do for two totally separate reasons. One reason is the buzz received off of alcohol: the feeling of surrealism around oneself and the bloated self-confidence. As people who drink for the very first time at an older age such as 16, 17, and 18 year old, they get entranced with that drunken feeling because it helps them escape the do’s and don’ts of their lives. Teens in America are so fed up with life sometimes that they need to drown their sorrows at least once a week to make it a little more bearable.
The second reason is because of the natural rebellion instinct inside all humans. If someone tells us to Stay Off The Grass: America’s youth would play soccer there. Don’t Smoke: “give me a light,” they would say. Don’t drink alcohol: “hey, let’s go over to Jimmy’s house and raid their folk’s liquor cabinet.” We are all prone to some sort of rebellion to the higher authority against rules we believe are unjust. Teens feel that they are just as smart as adults and just as responsible adults and they should deserve to drink like adults. Everyday I see reasons hat would back up as well as contradict the previous statement, but more of the former, than the latter.
It is a shame the United States government does not agree with this philosophy, or else the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1986 (Robertson, 1992) would never have been passed. This Act is one in a long line of laws that start just after prohibition was repealed, before then the legal drinking age was 18. With the age at 18, there was little controversy over the age limit because the youth of America had the same values and ideas as the older generations, and there was no fear of rebellion. Plus, there were no cars around to crash, per se.
I also do not agree with the double standard of sorts that the United States government has put on the young people of America. The things that
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Drinking culture, Alcohol abuse, Alcohol law, Drug culture, Alcohol consumption by youth in the United States, Alcoholic beverage, Legal drinking age, National Minimum Drinking Age Act, Epidemiology of binge drinking, Legal Drinking Age Controversy
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