Age and Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol, on one hand, is Intoxicating liquor containing alcoholic ingredients which affects one physiological characteristic, usually consumed to relieve stress, gain social status and serves as a relaxation mechanism of the body. While the legal drinking age refers to the age at which beverage alcohol is allowed by the law or other customary teachings be consumed. Its a societal construct and frame of reference that stipulates who consumes alcohol at what age and who does not.
There has been a lot of debate when it comes to the legal drinking age. When it comes to law, there is always an opinion, some are for it and some are against. Legal drinking age varies by country. In most cases legal drinking age is between 18 to 21 years of age depending on national legal frameworks which are subject to amendments and therefore change. The problem of identifying the optimum minimum drinking age to reduce alcohol abuse is a serious one. It involves issues of freedom, responsibility, parental rights, religion, politics and many other realms of life (Hughes, 2002).
Many scholars argue that alcohol consumption limit is necessary in order to stop alcohol abuse society disorders intellectual protection and underperforming citizens. The minimum drinking age set between 18 and 21 in many countries appears to be not only ineffective but actually counter-productive. It??™s always argued that moral and ethical considerations can bridge gaps left by national framework, alcohol age limit seems to be more of a personal decision that cannot be eliminated by national laws but reduced (Hanson, 2006). This seems to be a parental role which should be exercised in the early socialization ages of the youth. Similarly schools, opinion makers as well as the mass media should act as responsible socializing agents in order to protect young children from alcoholic abuses.
Alcohol effects on individual and society are innumerous .A lot of people may enjoy alcohol without incident but when over consumed for long periods of time it has some very serious consequences. Its misuse will not only harm the individual but damage relationships and society generally in terms of violent crime, accidents and drink driving. Some of the well as the recognized immediate effects of over consumption of alcohol are nausea/vomiting and even stomach sickness.
Having identified some serious effects of alcohol certain age should be underscored as a limit to when to consume alcohol. For instance, in America, the age limit stands 21 years of age as of now in many states. With the legal drinking age at 21, colleges are able to regulate alcohol use so students don??™t get overly intoxicated (Hanson, 2006). They can be monitored whereas when they are hiding and drinking you can??™t really go sniffing their cups or making false accusations.
Problems related to alcohol are going to be there whether the drinking age is 18 or 21. As a matter of fact, analysts argue that making 21 the legal age to drink does not solve a problem. It is in fact one of the reasons why there are innumerable or rather many alcohol related deaths among teens (Hughes, 2002). In any case, teens will get some alcohol and in their excitement get overly intoxicated since they do not know when they will ever get their hands on alcohol.
In the developed world, people mostly consume alcohol responsibly. Alcohol consumption is an individualistic decision and not social or group event. In this case, raising the alcohol consumption limit age may not serve as a positive policy measure. On the other hand, the developing world??™s alcohol consumption is not an individualized decision, but rather social and a group activity where one gains social status and actualization. The satisfaction does not come from alcohol itself but whom you associate with in that particular event. I would argue that same policies and legal frameworks in developed countries may not be applicable in the developing world (Hanson, 2006).
Hughes, S. & Dodder, R. (2002). Changing the legal minimum drinking age: results of a
longitudinal study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 53(6).
Hanson, D. (2006). Seven recommendations for a national alcohol policy. The Rally Journal