The Issue of Drinking among College and University Students
The issue of drinking is very prominent among college and university students thus it’s a contentious issue. Most teenagers’ join the University at a very tender age and most of them are usually very young, tender and naïve and have not experience personal freedom before. They therefore become overwhelmed by the immense freedom that they get in the universities and colleges. Their excitement to try out new things is at the peak and is accelerated by the fact that their parents are no longer there to impose unnecessary rules on them. Most teenagers mature up in the senior years in campus and it’s during this time that they are capable of making reasonable choices about their life.
Since there are no parents to guide students in the university, it is partly the duty of the administration and the college presidents to act the role of their brother’s keeper. For this reason, the college students may be interested in the issue of college drinking and the right drinking age. However their argument on the issue of the drinking age may and may not be sensible since most college students are irrational in their reasoning.
The college presidents have the role of supervision, administration, instruction and in some instances they can be mentors or counselors. It is therefore their duty to address the issue of beer drinking since it’s the cause of most college problems. This issue affects all students both the drinking and non-drinking. In their effort to reduce the number of irresponsible beer drinking college students, they have entered a debate on whether the drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18.
According to them, lowering the drinking age would have a positive impact on the toll of Alcoholism College. They argue that the current drinking age only ignores the issue of drinking in college while it is real and quite rampant instead of addressing it. According to the campus presidents, and I quote “The current limit ignores the reality of drinking while in college years and drives it underground, making binge drinking more dangerous and students less likely to seek help in an emergency”. These presidents have a point since they interact with the students and are in a better position to tell what happens behind college doors. The college presidents call on the public to join and give their view on the effects of the 21-year drinking age which is recommended by the state.
They signed the petition so as to encourage discussion but not to call for a decline in the drinking age. Most college students opt to drinking by themselves in their college rooms and they end up getting seriously ill but are too afraid to seek for medical attention. McCarddell`s organization argues that, “it is a paradox that 18-year olds can vote, serve juries and join the military but cannot legally drink beer” . This Organization proposes a drinking license that’s similar to a driver’s license, for 18-20 year olds who have complete an alcohol education program. Mothers against drunk driving were obviously against this debate and they quickly denounced this and urge parents to protest to college presidents.
Chuck Harley chief executive of mothers against drunk driving was profoundly disappointed and contended that presidents ignored the showing a significant drop in the number of teens drunk driving deaths since the age limit was raised to 21. According to McCardellthis reduction could be attributed to; safer cars, better enforcement and wider use of designated drivers. The UCLA and USC officials Held off when approached to sign the petition. The UCLA asked for more time to research into the age limit issue while the USC president has not taken any action yet.
The Drinking Age Should Not Be Lowered from 21 to 18
In my opinion, the drinking age should not be lowered from 21 to 18 as proposed by the college presidents. According to surveys 50% of college students in their first year of study drank before they joined college. Most students indulge in taking alcohol in their first few months of college. According to these surveys most teenagers start drinking before they are even 18-years –old; the most unfortunate thing is that some of them learn about drinking from their homes especially during the holidays or thanksgiving vacations. This gives such teens the urge to start drinking more and they only get this freedom when they go to colleges.
For this reason, parents should be warned not to introduce their kids to alcohol for whatever reason and they should educate them on the risks and dangers of drinking especially at a tender age. In my argument, the drinking age should remain at 21 since at this age one is mature enough to make rational choices in life and is in a better position to deal and refrain from peer pressure. At 21, one is able to understand the effects of alcohol and also one is able to focus more on his future since he/she is past the teenage stage. Most 21 year olds are employed thus are financially stable and can therefore be able to finance for their drinking unlike the teenagers who might be tempted to start stealing so as to get money.
According to research, the brain continues to develop throughout the adolescence and well into young adulthood; this period is therefore very critical and drinking during this stage could lead to impairments in the brain function specifically the memory, coordination and motor skills. For this reason, kids under 18s should not involve themselves in drinking. Another factor is that, teenagers take alcohol even with the current age restriction policy; though they drink little amounts for fear of being discovered, thus lowering the drinking age would be giving them the green light to drown themselves in alcohol openly. This is dangerous for them since teens are quite arrogant and irrational in their reasoning. And again, if the drinking age is decreased younger people, the likes of 16 and 15-year olds will be able to access it. Lowering the drinking will take away the thrill of alcohol and will make it less of a taboo. (Wechsler, 1995)
The drinking age limit is meant to help save people’s lives.This is done by ensuring that only the mature citizens can access it; there is absolutely no point of lowering the drinking if it keeps people away from harm.The drinking age should there remain at 21 so as to reduce the number of accidents resulting from drinking and driving and also so as to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies whose major cause is alcohol.
The higher the drinking age the lower the chances of getting addicted to alcohol. Teenagers should try to appreciate the fact that the state cares for them and one should not take alcohol just because he/she has reached the age of 21, people should understand that there is a risk of addiction which is a serious medical problem.
College students should be educated in depth about the consequences of college drinking and drinking in general.These consequences include; death, injury, assault, sexual abuse, unsafe sex, academic problems, health related problems, suicide attempts, drunk driving, property damage, police involvement and alcohol dependence . The most eminent of these consequences, according to survey is drunk driving followed by assault, injury then followed by unsafe sex. Apart from the damage on the lives of the students, these consequences affect the reputation of the institutions, the college’s academic ranking, the institutions operating costs and the relationship between the college and the community.
The college presidents have tried to be very honest about drinking in these institutions they have also worked very hard to try and control the amount of drinking taking place in the colleges. Any student caught drinking is required to attend a meeting with the administrators and may have a reprimand placed in their file, in some cases counseling may be recommended and the parents alerted. In case the drinking leads to property damage or physical damage, the student might be suspended.A better way of preventing under Age College students from drinking is restricting the availability of alcohol, limiting when and where alcohol can be consumed or enforcing policies that help minimize problems such as drunken driving.
In my opinion college students should undergo extensive learning on the risks and harm of alcohol and should be taught on controlled drinking and thereafter should be issued with a drinking license at the age of 21.