Assignment 3: Discuss whether the legal age for drinking
alcohol in Australia should be raised to 21
On a typical weeknight in Sydney, huge crowds of people flock to pubs, clubs, and bars.
They hang out and gather along the streets to have fun and chill. In this bustling
population of drinkers are young adults; fresh-faced and willing to get drunk all night. You
will see hundreds of party goers all around the pub districts with their friends, drinking and
partying the night away with the crowd of people who also enjoys the same loud music
and booze. Everything is all happy and fun, but that is until someone who can’t hold their
alcohol starts a fight with somebody who they think looked down on them. It is something
that happens, not just to young people, but to everyone who had too much to drink for
their own benefit. All around the world, many countries have always been concerned
about the excessive consumption of alcohol. In the United States, although the legal age
for drinking is 21, they still tackle several alcohol-related problems that have sometimes
led to serious offenses. In Australia, various government bodies and research scientists
from all states debate over whether the legal age for drinking should be raised. The Royal
Australasian College of Physicians proposed that the government should increase the
age limit to 21 years. This proposition directly targets young adults who over-consume
alcohol and irresponsible drinkers; the responsible drinkers will otherwise be affected as
In the early 20th century, the local government had its own jurisdiction with the legal
drinking age that range from 18 to 21. However, when the Vietnam war started, the age
was diminished to 18 on the grounds that any civilian who could fight and die for their
country could drink alcohol. In 1974, many states adopted this legal age.
The legal age to vote in Australia is precisely 18-years-old, therefore people assume they
are old enough to consume alcohol.
Several studies show that there is significant correlation between alcoholism and the
minimum legal drinking age in Australia. Washington University School of Medicine in the
United States state that a person is more likely to become addicted to alcohol when are
raised in an environment with a lower limit on drinking age. Being addicted to alcohol
brings about numerous risks, which involves health risks, altered social behavior,
vehicular road accidents, sexually transmitted infections and, in other cases, violence and
crime. Although these assumptions are mostly true, the data gathered in several studies
do not necessarily imply that alcohol consumption is the direct culprit of these underlying
problems. Even so, there are many submissions to review from the legal, indigenous
groups, and many alcohol industries. Northern Territory is said to be the highest alcoholconsuming
territory across Australia.
According to the government and other research bodies, there are numerous benefits if
the legal age is raised to 21. The following are: Alcohol-related traffic accidents. Several
road crashes have been allegedly reported as occurring due to excessive consumption
of alcohol. Improved brain development. Researchers have proven that alcohol could
hamper the brain development of young adults from their early adulthood. This would
also engage potential problems in the person’s brain and affect their full intellectual
capability. Less alcohol-fueled violence and crime. Alcohol addiction is one of the main
culprits of violence and crime that has caused injuries, and so young people are very
vulnerable to the adverse effects of heavy drinking. Binge drinking and possible
alcoholism will be reduced. Binge drinking causes harm to our health, and alcoholism
affects our social behavior as well.
The local government proposes different initiatives on how to minimize excessive alcohol
consumption, especially in young adults. One of them is to increase the tax on alcohol in
spite of the large contribution of the companies. One research states that consumption
would be minimized if people cannot afford to buy their own drinks. Another step is
providing education on the harmful effects of alcohol to young adults. On the other hand,
other legislators have bluntly said that widespread restrictions on alcohol availability will
not solve excessive alcohol consumption. The misuse of alcohol is only one part of the
complex social issues occurring within the Australia. The research that holds the belief
that alcoholics will reduce their excessive consumption of alcohol when the price
increases is a flawed assumption. The model that was used has substandard information
and used figures without margin of errors. The government body of Northern Territory
recommended that the advertising of alcohol in several public spaces should be banned;
like advertising in public transits and in sports events.
There will be several social and economic effects in Australia if the goverment decides to
increase the drinking legal age to 21. The higher the legal drinking age, the higher the
population of irresponsible drinkers and law-breakers. Age does not automatically make
someone responsible, especially if the gap is just from 18 to 21. Many people claim that
even if the state prohibits the consumption of alcohol, they will still find a means to acquire
alcohol; those who are close to the age limit will still go out and drink in nearby pubs and
clubs using their relatives or an older friend’s identification card. The minors will use adults
to buy them alcohol, and some parents who regularly drink will buy and take home alcohol,
encouraging their children to drink as well. It is a known and unfortunate fact that some
minors learn how to drink at their early age not because of outside influences, but mainly
because of the people around them, most specifically their parents and relatives.
In a psychological manner, the more the law prohibits alcohol consumption, the more
people will be urged to be rebellious and buy one to relinquish their thirst; especially when
they are too restricted. This goes on specially for young adults who have been exposed
to alcohol at an early age. They are used to seeing the people around them drink and be
drunk that they themselves have adopted this way of living. Restricting them will not
create a better outcome. This may lead to lies and they will resort to even more dangerous
ways of getting alcohol. Either by creating a false identification card, or they can opt to
steal just to get what they want. Eventually, the young adults who claim to be “responsible
drinkers” and are only consuming alcohol for social reasons will otherwise be affected as
well. These people cried that the government ignores the possible health benefits of
alcohol consumption. Higher taxes will indeed reduce demand for alcohol among people
who have lower incomes. If the demand reduces, over-consumption will be solved; but
on the other hand, this would also increase incentives on the importation of low duty
alcohol shipped overseas.
Alcohol problems in people, especially in young adults can be solved using other better
ways, perhaps changing people’s irresponsible attitude into a more acceptable manner.
Alcohol consumption in the UK and in other countries is an accepted way of life and is
highly embedded in the culture; when restrictions are made, the majority will rebel against
it. This age restriction increase will also initiate illegal trades of alcohol in the black market.
This assumes that the government will be burdened to accurately monitor such schemes.
Alcohol is not harmful when taken in moderation. The legislation heavily implies that their
proposed law is for the benefit of the excessive and irresponsible heavy drinkers. Many
people believe that their habitual drinking is necessary for improving their social behavior;
Hanging out on a stressful night and gathering with friends and families will not harm them
by any means. On the other hand, alcohol addiction is one of the main causes of family
problems and breakdowns. Family members that struggle with alcohol addiction and
experience negative effects when drinking should be provided with proper medication and
Despite the government’s initiatives on reducing the harmful effects of alcohol to the
young people inside Australia, they still have not yet resolved the root cause of the
problem, which is the attitude that people have towards alcohol. Even if the law enforces
a strict age limit on alcohol consumption, many people will find any means to get their
hands on it. People do not like lectures from the government about alcohol consumption,
but for now, it is the best possible solution to alcoholism. Pure awareness and responsible
consumption will greatly diminish the harmful effects of alcohol in Australia.
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