Will changing the Australian legal drinking age be the demise of youth music festivals? |
Stage Two Research Paper |
Maya Burvill 16568 |
Academic Research Paper – Stage Two |
Will changing the Australian legal drinking age be the demise of youth music festivals?
Binge drinking and alcohol incurred road accidents by youth are a growing concern in Australia; issues which governments are looking for strategies to control. One solution that is currently being debated is to increase the minimum legal drinking age from eighteen to twenty-one. This option would create some unintended consequences that will adversely impact Australia’s ...view middle of the document...
Not only would it have a significant impact on the health of youth, changing the legislation would also effect the Australian events industry, in particular youth music events. Alcohol is integral to these events as it encourages attendance, is the key source of revenue and is usually the source of the main sponsorship for such events. Through analysing relevant sources, this essay will discuss and evaluate both the beneficial and detrimental effects of changing the legal drinking age in Australia. In particular, this paper will focus on the detrimental impact such a move would have on youth and Australian music festivals.
It is common knowledge that the use of alcohol has various detrimental side effects on one’s health and ability to make sound decisions. Excessive alcohol consumption by young people is associated with thousands of road accidents and adverse health consequences each year. “Nationally, seventy young people are admitted to hospital every week and four die from alcohol abuse” (Wood, 2010, para.4). Furthermore, the use of alcohol among youth has been associated with “unintentional injuries, physical fights, academic and occupational problems, illegal behaviour” and “depression, anxiety and antisocial personality disorder” (Centres for Disease Control and Protection, 2010, para.2). A study into Australia’s consumption of alcohol by psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg has revealed that one in twenty teenagers aged eighteen “were consuming on average fifty standard drinks a month” (Wood, 2010). Binge drinking is Australia’s “greatest social problem” (Wood, 2010, para.12). Through setting the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) at eighteen, youth are able to purchase and abuse alcohol, thus opening their bodies to the long term side effects of alcohol misuse including “liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological damage” (Centres for Disease Control and Protection, 2010, para,2). Raising the MLDA would obviously help minimise these adverse health outcomes.
Increasing the MLDA in Australia to twenty-one would also greatly reduce the incidence of fatal road accidents for youth. In 1984 American States made a uniform decision to increase the MLDA from eighteen to twenty-one following an evaluation of the increase in youth road incidents since reducing the MLDA to eighteen in the seventies (Hall, 2010, para.2). The evaluation revealed that “reducing the MLDA to eighteen was followed by a ten per cent increase in road fatalities” (Hall, 2010, para.3) whilst increasing the MLDA to the age of twenty-one was “followed by an average twelve per cent decrease in fatalities” (Hall, 2010, para.4). This metra-analysis study of the effects of changing the MLDA evidenced that increasing the MLDA is effective in reducing alcohol-related road death.
The benefits of increasing the MLDA in Australia are apparent in regards to improved health and road safety, however, the change of law is likely to have adverse effects by encouraging...