Alcohol has been readily and easily available since the earliest of times of our childhood for the use of celebrations and gatherings. Over recent years, there has been evidence of an increase in alcohol consumption by the youth in developed countries. This is because of the change in consumption patterns and alcohol percentage from old and traditional use with limited alcohol percentage to increased percentages in these beverages used for recreational purposes sold commercially. As a result, has caused social issues in a lot of aspects of life, including the lives of underage individuals and society. To combat the rise of issues caused by increased underage consumption, various countries have put regulations in place for limitations, business hours, restrictions, and sales points. (Reference)One of the most important limitations provides for the minimum drinking age as 16 years. The question that rises from all these provisions put in place by authorities, is whether they are sufficient to maintain an orderly and safe society that is safe for everyone living in it. The purpose of this essay is to prove that the effects of underage and early drinking have a negative effect on social life and therefore, the legal drinking age should be raised to 18. This will be achieved by discussing the effects of underage drinking on the youth, the effects it has on society, and in the long run, what will the future look like if measures for change are not made.
2. Underage drinking
The use of alcohol at a young age causes developmental problems related to adolescence that influences various aspects of the underage drinker. It should be noted that the brain does not fully develop until at least 18 years, and consumption of alcohol could have severe effects. These include damage to brain functionality and causes delayed brain development which causes poor to fail grades and decreased performance or academic achievement in school. This lack of performance results in failure and leads to stress, anxiety and depression, and risk of suicide. Suicides as a result of depression and stress have been recorded as the 3rd leading cause of death among the youth. In addition, drinking from a young age creates an increase in impulsive behavior as it impairs and blurs reasoning capacity and judgment, which increases the risk of behaviors that can be harmful to everyone and in turn society.
3. Effects of alcohol abuse on society
Underage drinking has harmful effects on society, in that it poses a risk to the safety of others and disturbs the order of society. This was made evident with the implementation of legislation for the minimum drinking age to be 18. This resulted in a decrease in underage drinking, fewer motor vehicle crashes due to individuals being under the influence of alcohol, and fewer deaths among people below the age of 18. Proving that the legislation of alcohol and availability at a young age is harmful and should be raised to 18. Furthermore, due to impaired judgment caused by alcohol, increased consumption and abuse can lead to more unintentional injuries, increase risky sexual behavior such as rape, HIVAIDS and assault, and other severe conditions of health linked to alcohol.
4. Long-term effects
The long-term effects of underage drinking include co-dependence on substances in the future and cause binge drinking. As alcohol is a gateway substance to other illegal drugs, it could open the gate for the development of potential alcohol and other illicit substance dependence or abuse in the future. This will affect the users’ health such as cancer, stroke, and liver diseases. In addition, it can have a negative effect on social surroundings in terms of interpersonal relationships, causing marital instability and breakdown of relationship ties. As a result of the above-mentioned arguments,