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  • Writer's pictureKayla Grant

Underage drinking is a serious matter

Underage drinking leads to more than 4,300 deaths annually according to the data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, when a teenager turns 18 years old, he or she becomes a legal adult. This allows him or her to vote, to join the military, to gamble and to be tried as an adult in the court of law; however, he or she cannot drink or purchase alcohol. The legal age to purchase and drink alcohol in the United States is 21 years old.

Although the drinking age is 18 and lower in most of the other countries, the United States remains one of the only countries with the drinking age set at 21. Many people have called for the drinking age to be lowered to 18; however, there are many negative effects that could come from underage drinking.

Underage drinking is linked to many negative effects, such as negative changes in brain development, alcohol addiction, problems in school and more.

Alcohol consumption can interfere with the development of a young adult’s brain because it creates a greater risk for dangerous risk-taking behavior, reduced decision-making ability, memory loss, depression, violence and suicide.

The data collected by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions show that people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence during their lifetime than those who began drinking at age 21 or later.

Alcohol consumption can cause many problems in school for underage drinkers. It can lead to students dropping out of school or receiving low performance scores.

Although there are many negative effects that can come from drinking underage, many people argue that lowering the drinking age will have a more positive outcome on the lives of teenagers.

If the drinking age is lowered, alcohol consumption would become an important part of American culture, which would make teenagers less prone to drink excessively, according to Kynslie Otte.

Otte explained that in European countries, the legal drinking age is 18 or lower and minors are not as compelled to drink excessively because moderated drinking is part of the culture.

Whether a person drinks before or after turning 21 years old, it is important for the person to be prepared and know about the effects of alcohol. He or she should think about and completely understand all of the potential negative effects. In addition to that, a person should know his or her own drinking limit, keep track of how many drinks he or she has consumed and remember not to drive when under the influence.


This article is published in the Clark Atlanta University Panther.

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