Maintaining Drinking Age at 21: The Consequences of Underage Drinking

Essay by arakul600College, UndergraduateB, November 2007

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Underage drinking is a hidden problem of modern society that affects young people and adults alike. It is a problem which in the past few years has been slowly forgotten. Today's society concentrates its attention on fighting against tobacco and drugs, the fight against the most popular drug, alcohol, has been minimized. Many people forget that alcohol is a privilege and not a right. Many studies have proven that the minimum drinking age of 21 prevents young people from alcohol-related incidents and protects them from damaging their brain prematurely. Lowering the minimum drinking age in the United States will increase the rate of alcohol-related injuries and deaths among young people.

Many eighteen year olds are not mature enough to handle drinking alcohol in a responsible manner. Drinking alcohol at early age may lead to side effects. The brain development of a teenager is not completed until adulthood, which usually is over at ages of 21-22.

In many 18 year olds, the part of the brain responsible for memory, called hippocampus, is still maturing. In the article "Young Brains on Alcohol," scientists compared brain structures of two age groups: teenagers ages 12-16 and adults ages 23-30. The report concluded that the frontal cortex, which is responsible for processing complex information, differs among two groups of people. The report explains how the teenage brain is still undergoing the process of development. The article also points out that teenagers, who excessively consume alcohol could experience memory loss and may have smaller hippocampal memory areas of the brain than non-drinkers. At adolescent stage of a human development, the brain cells are still dividing and areas of the brain continue to expand until adulthood, when development processes reach their culmination. Consumption of alcohol at the developmental stage can seriously damage the brain cells and can...