Underage Drinking


Marie Hawwa and Bryanna Simons

Underage drinking is an important topic to a lot of people. The argument that seems to always recur is whether or not underage drinking is an issue in the United States. Some people like to claim that in other countries that have fewer laws against drinking, there is a lower percentage rate of minors consuming alcohol irresponsibly. We also interviewed a few people to see their thoughts on underage drinking. We interviewed two people; one person is an Ipswich High School teacher, Mr. Simms. Another is an Ipswich High School student, Kelsey Daly.

We wanted to start off with a general question, asking whether they thought the drinking age was set too high or too low. Mr. Simms believes that, “Having a drinking age is an arbitrary number. For some people it is set too high and for some people, I think, it is set too low. I don’t think number determines responsible alcohol consumption”. When we asked Kelsey Daly the same question, her response was that “The drinking age was set at a good age, because the frontal lobe of our brain is fully developed then, and it plays a role on addiction.” In general, it seems that people believe that it doesn’t matter your age with alcohol; other people are just more prone to abusing it.

Mr. Simms also believes that if you go to other countries with fewer drinking laws they have less of a drinking rate. But the U.S actually has one of the lowest drinking rates out of the world. Studies show that although people in the U.S don’t abuse alcohol as much, teens have more fatal experiences. Along with those things, we wanted to know if the general public has accepted underage drinking. Kelsey responded with, “Yes, I believe that parents have accepted it, and they just teach their kids to do it in a safe environment now.” Mr. Simms had a similar answer, saying “I think people have accepted under age drinking, but more concertedly have accepted irresponsible under age drinking.”  

A lot of people feel that irresponsible drinking is hereditary, that age doesn’t make a difference on whether or not someone will drink irresponsibly. Some believe that  people are just born with a gene that will determine whether they will abuse alcohol or not. There’s another theory that it’s determined by the kind of environment you grow up in. So the next question we asked was if they believe drinking irresponsibly is hereditary. Mr Simms’ response was, “… environmental factors and parental behavior play a further role than hereditary issues.” Kelsey’s response to the question was, “I think you learn from your parents and if you’re watching your parents drink everyday you’re more likely to do the same thing.”

The issue of underage drinking is very up in the air with a lot of people. There’s not a lot of say of who’s right or wrong; there are a lot of aspects to it and can be caused by many different things. Although Kelsey and Mr. Simms don’t exactly agree on what the drinking law age should be, it’s safe to say that it could be a split between whether there should be more strict laws or less of them.