Why the legal age of 21?

Many young drinkers can’t understand why the legal age can’t be lowered to 18. There are many reasons suggest the benefits of 21 as the legal drinking age.

Young people have a tendency to drink for the reason of getting buzzed or drunk, so all the consequences described previously still apply. Binge drinking, which is drinking several drinks in one sitting over a short period time; greatly increases the chance of death by alcohol poisoning or accidental death. Binge drinking also greatly increases the chances of memory blackouts. When a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is reached, the person may not be able to commit things to memory; therefore, occurrences that happened in the recent past cannot be recalled. This condition is often not noticed by those around the drinker because for the most part, they are walking and talking normally. The person may wake up the next morning and not know where they are, how they got there, and what they did the night before. Some even wake up with injuries, lost relationships, damaged property, etc., none of which they can recall.

Another reason for keeping the drinking age 21 is related to the development of the brain. Brain development is not complete until around age 22-24 years old. When alcohol or any drug is put in a developing brain, it can be like a chemistry experiment. The part of the brain that is believed to develop last is the part that helps us make decisions requiring judgement, especially about the future. This is one of areas most affected by alcohol use, by lowering inhibitions and decreasing our drive to reach our goals.  This interruption in brain development is why we see that young people that begin drinking around the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until they are 21.

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