Underage Drinking A Big Problem Essay Research

Underage Drinking: A Big Problem Essay, Research Paper Underage Drinking: A Big Problem Underage drinking is wide spread through out the United States.

Underage Drinking: A Big Problem Essay, Research Paper

Underage Drinking: A Big Problem

Underage drinking is wide spread through out the United States.

According to Klaidman, of 10 million people under the age 21 who admitted they’d

had a cocktail in the last month, 4.4 million said that they are “binge

drinkers,” or people who have had more than four drinks in a row. Also, alcohol

use among 12 to 17 year olds has risen .9% over the past three years (137).

Lack of entertainment on college campuses and easy availability of alcohol can

lead to underage drinking as well. Here at UWEC, it is easy to find a party

where alcohol is provided to underage drinkers. There is also not much else to

do in Eau Claire, unless one has access to a motor vehicle. “For 20 year-old

Iowa State junior Scott Christy, acquiring alcohol is not a problem. All he has

to do is contact a friend… and within half an hour he can have the drink of

his choice” (Frerking). Because underage drinking is such a problem in today’s

society, measures must be taken to reduce the problem.

One solution to the problem of underage drinking is to lower the

drinking age from 21 years down to 18 or 19 years. At first glance, this seems

like a good idea because a large portion of underage drinkers, mainly college

students, would now no longer be underage and would be able to drink legally.

Problem solved, or is it? According to Reginald Smart, in 1971 the Canadian

province of Ontario lowered its drinking age from 21 years to 18 years, thinking

this would help alleviate its underage drinking problem. At first, the new age

law seemed to be working. Soon, bar owners complained because the young

drinkers scared off the above 21 crowd, just took up space, and did not drink

as much as the above 21 crowd. People in Ontario also started to notice more

accidents involving alcohol and more public displays of drunkenness by young

people. School officials also were distressed by the fact that students were

allowed to drink at lunch, and then returned to class too intoxicated to take

part in the learning process. Also, school functions, such as dances and

sporting events became occasions to drink. It seemed the only people still

supporting the new age law were the young people who gained the privilege of

drinking from the new age law. Finally, in 1978 the drinking age was raised

(90,93,105). Also, lowering the drinking age is not a good solution because

it completely ignores minors aged 12-17 which according to the aforementioned

statistic, are starting to increase their consumption of alcohol. To sum up,

lowering the drinking is not a viable solution to the problem of underage


Another solution to the problem of underage drinking is enacting

stricter penalties on those who choose to drink under the legal age. The

consequences of underage drinking can range from fines to jail time to driver’s

license suspensions to community service (What Are the Facts of Underage

Drinking). According to Renee Fisher, Kansas legislators lowered the limit of

intoxication from .08 to .02 for underage drinkers. This means it takes less

alcohol for someone under 21 to be legally intoxicated. According to the

Associated Press, New Jersey legislators approved a bill that would allow police

to arrest people under the age of 21 who possess alcoholic beverages on private

property. In Michigan, people underage can now be charged for attempting to

“purchase, consume, or possess” alcohol (Rhodes). Although it is good that the

government is taking steps to curb underage drinking, these measures will

probably not have much of an effect. When people under 21 go out to drink, they

are not thinking of the consequences of their actions, they just want to have

fun. They worry about being caught, but this will make them more cautious, not

stop them from drinking. Even if they are caught, this probably will not stop

them from drinking again. According to the Collegian Editorial Board, “… even

if a person gets arrested for a violation of the fake ID law, that doesn’t mean

they won’t try again.” In summary, stiffer penalties will not solve the problem

of underage drinking.

Prevention is the only solution that can drastically reduce underage

drinking. Children need to start being educated about the dangers of alcohol

when they are young. Not only the dangers associated with drinking, such as

alcohol poisoning, but also dangers such as rape, assault, and drunk driving.

Parents should also talk to their children about underage drinking and about

drinking responsibly and parents should be at home when their children have a

party (What Are the Facts of Underage Drinking). In the home, alcohol should be

locked away just like a gun, because it can be just as, if not more deadly than

a gun. Neighbors, or neighborhood watch groups should report underage drinking

to police (What Are the Facts of Underage Drinking). This way, police can stop

parties before they start. Finally, according to What Are the Facts of Underage

Drinking, people should report those who sell or give alcohol to people under

the age of 21. If people under 21 can not get alcohol, obviously they can not

drink it. In conclusion, prevention is the best solution to the problem of

underage drinking.

The problem of underage drinking can not be solved in a day or two. The

solution that has been provided will take a longtime and a lot of effort, but if

it is followed, then underage drinking will continue to decline until it is no

longer a problem.


“What are the Facts of Underage Drinking?” Untitled: 5 pars. On-line.

Internet. Available


Associated Press. “Assembly Passes Bill to Fight Underage Drinking.” Untitled:

7 pars. On-line.

Internet. Available http://www.smartline.com/ap/ap621101.html

Collegian Editorial Board. “Current Drinking Laws Need to be Re-evaluated.”

Collegian Opinion: 12 pars. On-line. Internet. Available

http://collegian.ksu.ed…nion/ed-board- 9.13.html

Klaidman, Daniel. “Here’s the Straight Dope.” Newsweek 21 October 1996:37.

Fisher, Renee. “New Bill Tightens Limit on underage Drinking.” Untitled: 12

pars. On-line. Internet. Available http://www.spub.ksu.edu…0-


Frerking, Tim. “Underage Drinking is Up.” Untitled: 13pars. On-line. Internet.



Rhoades, Rebecca. “Tougher Laws Created for Underage Drinkers.” Lode: 10 pars.

On-line. Internet. Available


Smart, Reginald G. The New Drinkers. Toronto, Canada: Addiction Research