Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Policy Brief Paper, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1571

Essay

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a nursing student, and I have been working on a project that is designed to promote reform and to reduce the problems associated with teenage drinking in Canada. I believe that this issue is critical to preserving the health and wellbeing of today’s youth. I have realized that teenage drinking is a critical concern throughout Canada and has caused alarm for many parents and law enforcement officials. I am alarmed at the statistics regarding alcohol abuse and binge drinking in teenagers; therefore, legislative reform is essential.

This policy brief supports legislative reform to address the current legal drinking age of 19. By increasing this age to 21, many lives will saved and tragedies will be avoided within the teenage population throughout Canada. This change must also encourage expanded education regarding alcohol consumption in teenagers to increase awareness of the problem and its scope.

I respectfully request your review of this issue and the possibility of legislative reform. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

xxxxxxxx

 

Issue

Teenagers use alcohol more than any other type of drug on a regular basis, and the average first age of consumption is 12.4 years (Health Alliance on Alcohol, 2013). The average age of first intoxication is 13.2 years and two-thirds of students between grades seven and nine have consumed alcohol (Health Alliance on Alcohol, 2013). Teens are particularly vulnerable to alcohol use and abuse due to peer pressure and the challenges of growing up in the modern era. Furthermore, they may face challenges in the home environment that contribute to stress and greater vulnerability. As students grow older, they possess a greater tendency to binge drink and experience trouble as a result of alcohol use, including health problems and psychological concerns (Health Alliance on Alcohol, 2013). To address this important issue, Canadian governments should consider placing greater restrictions on teens who abuse alcohol, as well as educate this population and their parents regarding the serious dangers of alcohol, even in the home environment with supervision. In addition, the government should strongly consider increasing its legal drinking age from 19 to 21. There is a significant emphasis placed upon teenage alcohol use and abuse because it is illegal to drink under the age of 19; therefore, this vulnerable population receives considerable attention and focus at higher levels than adults from a legislative perspective. The perceptions are often highly negative because teenagers give into peer pressure rather easily and find it difficult to abstain from alcohol when it is offered to them.

Background

Alcohol is often synonymous with relaxation, socialization, and a greater feeling of satisfaction. Therefore, many teenagers experiencing trouble at school or in their social lives have a tendency to consume alcohol to relax and to alleviate stress. However, as a depressant, alcohol challenges the actions of the central nervous system by slowing down reactivity and increasing impairment (DUI Foundation, 2013). In teenagers, alcohol abuse on a consistent basis may lead to cognitive brain dysfunction by limiting brain maturity and effective decision-making capabilities (Rosecrance Health Network, 2013). For some teens, continued alcohol abuse may cause brain cell death and permanent dysfunction (Rosecrance Health Network, 2013). Teen binge drinking is very common in teens and adults between the ages of 15 and 24, with the potential for addiction at a very young age (DARA Thailand, 2011). In addition, teenagers who drive under the influence of alcohol put themselves and others at significant risk (About Kids Health, 2013). Alcohol-related car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and are more common in the summer and on evenings and weekends (About Kids Health, 2013).

Current Status

The key stakeholders associated with policy making and legislative decisions regarding teenage drinking include provincial governments, MADD Canada, and other organizations providing services and oversight for teenagers throughout Canada. Although there is not a significant call to action in increasing the drinking age to 21, the citizens of Canada, particularly teens and young adults, would significantly benefit from this mandate. For teens who do abuse alcohol, however, there must be stronger legislative action for these teens to face the consequences and acquire treatment as necessary. One research study demonstrates the importance of having a minimum drinking age because a lack thereof is likely to increase alcohol abuse and hospitalizations for teenagers (Callaghan et.al, 2013). Furthermore, it is known that when drinking ages are lower, there is an increase in fatalities due to car accidents and suicides (Science Daily, 2013). Alcohol use in teenagers poses many serious risks and may lead to avoidable tragedies and other consequences in some teenagers, which require expanded legislation alternatives (Science Daily, 2013).

Teens who abuse alcohol also face lower blood alcohol levels at which an individual is considered to be legally drunk, thereby resulting in possible punishment and prosecution when this law is violated (Canada Safety Council, 2013). In particular, Canada’s blood alcohol level of 0.08 is accompanied by strict laws, including large fines for first offenses, along with mandatory jail time for future offenses (Canada Safety Council, 2013). However, the reduction of Canada’s blood alcohol level, along with a change in the drinking age from 19 to 21 would go a long way in supporting the development of legislation to promote these objectives and to improve the lives of teenagers throughout Canada.

Key Considerations

There is significant opposition regarding this issue because each province has primary governance over its drinking age. With these mandates in place, it will be difficult for provincial governments and the national government to consider expanding the legal drinking age to 21. However, many advocates have considered following the lead of the United States to expand the drinking age because it may lead to fewer car accidents, as proposed by insurance companies throughout Canada (Insurance-Canada.ca, 2013). From an economic perspective, increasing the drinking age to 21 in Canada will also reduce insurance rates and the costs associated with accident claims, thereby creating an environment that supports improved driving safety, especially for teenagers and young adults (Insurance-Canada.ca, 2013). Parents also advocate for this change because it will allow their teenage children to be safer on the roads and to exercise greater driving safety throughout their own lives (Insurance-Canada.ca, 2013).

Options

With the continued growth of danger associated with teenage drinking, it is necessary to consider two primary options with respect to teen safety: 1) Increasing the drinking age from 19 to 21; and 2) Reduce the blood alcohol limit to 0.05 to match the standard of other countries. The former represents an opportunity to increase the drinking age to promote greater driving safety and to save the lives of many teenagers throughout Canada. This alternative would also support alcohol education for parents and teenagers in order to encourage greater responsibility and warn of the dangers of alcohol abuse. It is likely that with this alternative, many citizens of Canada will act in a “law abiding” manner to protect themselves from unnecessary risk or harm (Open Politics, 2013).

However, advocates against raising the legal drinking age to 21 are likely to argue that there is no precedent for this change, as teenagers are going to do what they want, regardless of the law (Open Politics, 2013). Furthermore, it is likely that there will be greater levels of binge drinking when alcohol is not readily available (Open Politics, 2013). Finally, advocates might argue that maintaining the current drinking age promotes responsibility for teenagers to make positive decisions in their lives (Open Politics, 2013).

Conclusion/Recommendations

It is reasonable to anticipate that a shift in the drinking age from 19 to 21 will promote greater safety and alcohol awareness, particularly for teenagers. Therefore, legislative changes would encourage adherence to the law and also promote responsibility for this age group. Legislative reform would also encourage the development of improved teenage behaviors and demonstrate the serious nature of drinking in this population, which may lead to tragic consequences if care is not exercised.

Significant attention must be paid towards teenage drinking and the possible extension of the legal drinking age from 19 to 21. The following recommendations must be considered: 1) Expanded education for teenagers and parents, including the risks associated with binge drinking and alcohol abuse; 2) Reducing the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05; 3) Widespread disciplinary action for parents who allow teenage drinking in their homes, even under direct supervision; 4) Longer prosecution for drunk drivers who cause accidents, cause injury or death to others, or who are found to be legally drunk; and 5) Support a nationally recognized mandate to expand the legal drinking age from 19 to 21 across Canada and within each province.

References

About Kids Health (2013). Teen drinking and driving: a deadly rite of passage. Retrieved from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/News/NewsAndFeatures/Pages/Teen-Drinking-and-Driving-A-Deadly-Rite-of-Passage.aspx

Callaghan, R.C., Sanches, M., and Gatley, J.M. (2013). Impacts of the minimum legal drinking age legislation on in-patient morbidity in Canada, 1997-2007: a regression-discontinuity approach. Addiction, 108(9), 1590-1600.

Canada Safety Council (2013). Canada’s blood alcohol laws among the strictest in the Western world. Retrieved from https://canadasafetycouncil.org/traffic-safety/canada-s-blood-alcohol-laws-among-strictest-western-world

DARA Thailand (2011). Alcoholism in Canada. Retrieved from http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/alcoholism-in-canada/

DUI Foundation (2013). Alcohol impairment. Retrieved from http://www.duifoundation.org/drunkdriving/impairment/

Health Alliance on Alcohol (2013). Talking to Teens: Underage Drinking. Retrieved from http://healthallianceonalcohol.ca/ca/en/underage-drinking-book/

Insurance-Canada.ca (2013). Raise the drinking age back to 21 – lessen car accidents – save lives – and lower insurance costs. Retrieved from http://www.insurance-canada.ca/consinfoauto/lwhiteford310.php

Open Politics (2013). Drinking age. Retrieved from http://openpolitics.ca/tiki-index.php?page=drinking+age

Rosecrance (2013). Impaired brain development in teens: signs and symptoms of substance abuse. Retrieved from http://www.rosecrance.org/impaired-brain-development-teens-signs-symptoms-substance-abuse/

Science Daily (2013). Lower drinking ages can have an impact on later drinking patterns. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130122162232.htm

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!