Underage Drinking

Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am Matt Movalson and I have been serving our country as a police officer since I started my career. I have strived to talk in front of you today in an effort to bring to the forefront the pervasive problem of underage binge drinking that occurs in many communities across the United States. I talk in front of you as a police officer who has been witness to, unwillingly part of and victim of youth misdemeanor because they have fallen under the influence of alcohol.

I have seen the chaos and the destruction underage binge drinking causes to the community, to property and to lives and today stand before you and appeal that we, in government, take action. Ladies and Gentlemen, underage binge drinking is a result of dangerous drinking practices harbored by our present drinking laws. Binge drinking, or the act of drinking alcohol in large amounts at a certain period of time, is an act often committed by young individuals who consume alcohol secretly or covertly as a clandestine effort because of the legal parameters against underage drinking.

In our nation, the legal drinking age is 21 years of age. This legal age is the highest among all other nations across the world, even other progressive and western nations have age limits of only 18 years old. In a nation where young adults of 18 years of age can determine the future of other lives through their service in jury, can engage in productive economic activities and even contract in marriage and become responsible for children, we have not reconciled their ability to drink responsibly and enforce a legal age higher than those of other areas of responsibility in their lives.

I stand in front of you today, firmly believing that the high legal age works against the formation of responsible drinking habits and in the curtailment of the consumption of alcohol amongst the youth. Furthermore, the high age limit only creates an insatiable curiosity and encourages delinquency among the adventurous youth. We have all gone through adolescence and remember the excitement and the feeling of assimilation associated with secretly getting a drink of alcohol.

It is this kind of experimentation and concealed act that leads young people to drink excessively because they are unsure when they will be able to do so again. We have also failed to utilize our resources of youth management because of the legal age. Because the legal system prohibits alcohol and the discussion of alcohol within the school, educators are robbed of the opportunity to positively shape perceptions regarding the consumption of alcohol and activities where alcohol can be consumed responsibly.

By banning the consumption of alcohol, for those below 21 and above 18 years of age, in public places, where positive influences may be present, we instead encourage the youth to do so in secret, in private and without the correct guidance. Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand in front of you today as a man who has in many situations witnessed how the youth has ignored the age limit and found a way to consume alcohol at an age below 21 years old. I stand in front of you today, appealing that we reevaluate the effectiveness of this regulation in an examination of laws in other nations as well as the pervasiveness of underage drinking in our nation.

I come before you emphatic, knowing that this law is flawed and that we should pursue other means to allow the young people, at an age of 18 years, responsible access to alcohol so that they may form better drinking practices and a more pragmatic understanding of the effects of alcohol consumption. As leaders, enforcers and citizens of this nation, we must remember our own misdemeanor as young adults and consider if the law was effective then. From there we must start a move toward change and better policies for alcohol regulation. Thank you for your time.

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