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Should The Legal Age For The Consumption Of Alcohol Be Increased To 21?

983 words - 4 pages

Increasing the legal age for the consumption of alcohol to twenty-one is a topic that has recently sparked much debate, with many people endorsing the idea of increasing the age of alcohol consumption. This is because it is thought that implementing such a law may curb youth binge drinking and alcohol related road accidents (Drug Free Australia: 2008). However there are many reasons as to why the legal age for alcohol consumption should not be increased. These include the fact that young people will still drink regardless of any age restrictions, ethical issues and because there are other ways that could be more effective in lowering youth binge drinking and alcohol related road accidents.
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Increasing the legal age for alcohol consumption to twenty-one will not stop underage drinking; it will only increase the number of youths breaking the law and drinking illegally.

There are also ethical issues to think about when considering whether the legal drinking age should be increased to twenty-one. Currently when an individual turns eighteen years of age the Australian government, as well as society, classes them as an adult. Being an adult in Australia gives you legal rights as well as responsibilities. Some of the things an individual can legally do as an adult include get married, get a tattoo, gamble, purchase cigarettes, enlist and serve in the army, obtain credit cards and loans, vote for the leaders of our country and change your name. Individuals in Australia are viewed as mature enough at eighteen years of age to make all of these decisions. Some of these decisions, such as getting a tattoo, are ones that can never be changed. Others, such as enlisting in the army, are ones that could be potentially life threatening. Increasing the age for the legal consumption of alcohol would mean telling individuals that they are mature enough to make life decisions, but not mature enough to consume and make decisions related to alcohol. This would create a very large outcry from society, especially from young people, who could see changing the legal age of alcohol consumption to twenty-one as unfair.

Another reason why the legal age of alcohol consumption should not be increased to twenty-one is that there may be other ways to decrease youth binge drinking and alcohol related road accidents that could be more effective. One alternative would be to increase the tax on alcoholic beverages, especially pre-mixed spirits which are a popular choice for young people especially females (Hayman & White: 2006). Increasing the tax on alcoholic beverages would increase the overall cost of the product. Raising the price through tax would make alcoholic beverages unaffordable to many underage drinkers as...

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