Why the Drinking Age Should Stay at 21: Preserving Health

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Health Complications of Drinking Before the Age of 21

The most important reason why should the drinking age stay at 21 is because of the effects it has on the health of the user. Alcohol is very harmful to our bodies if consumed continuously in large amounts. Even when you consume little amounts at a time, it’s still a poison to the body. The consumption of alcoholic beverages, particularly in excessive amounts, before the body has undergone full maturity could stunt the body’s healthy development, in turn causing lifelong deficits. At 16 or even 18 years of age, a teenager is not as equipped to think ahead and make wise decisions, and this becomes even more apparent under the influence of alcohol. This is the reason the legal drinking age is in place to help reduce the potentially dangerous situations that can be found in the research of the (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services vi). The research behind the use of alcohol in teenagers is alarming. According to Guha, the minimum legal drinking age “has a statistically significant impact on youthful fatality rates', and suggests that there would be a rise in almost every category of alcohol-related events such as dangerous sexual activities, car accidents, suicides etc.

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Impact of Drinking on Organs and Cognitive Function

If someone were to binge drink the drinker has a very good chance of getting alcohol poisoning, which could lead to the death of that person or serious injury. Alcohol is very harmful to many, if not all, of the organs. According to Albert S. Whiting “there is a great deal of evidence to show that even a small amount of alcohol can be quite harmful to the heart.” Whiting also stated that “alcohol has a direct effect on heart muscle cells” (“Alcohol Use Is Harmful”). When you drink alcohol, it speeds up the heart rate because you are then becoming dehydrated. The body is trying to get rid of the poison that the alcohol has in it. Speeding up the heart rate can be very bad for anyone. It can shorten your life expectancy and cause serious heart problems. A long-term effect that alcohol can have on the heart is that it “has an influence on the risk factors for coronary heart disease” (Whiting). The alcohol spreads through all of the blood stream it goes through in every organ. The reason that the drinker’s memory is blurred or they “black out” while using this substance would be because it is affecting the brain which controls all parts of the body. “The organ most sensitive to alcohol is the brain… Alcohol destroys brain cells which, unlike the blood cells it also destroys, are irreplaceable. The reaction times are slowed, and their muscle coordination is less efficient” (Whiting).

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