America's Drinking Age Is Dangerous

America's Drinking Age Is Dangerous

Twenty-one-years of sobriety does NOT equal a healthy relationship with alcohol.

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Happy birthday! You've just turned 18. Woah! That's a big one. Time to take on a whole new range of responsibilities — you're an adult now. Say goodbye to having legal and financial guardians. From now on, if you do anything wrong the consequences come directly back to you (YAY!). You might even be responsible for your own food, clothing, and shelter. Welcome to the world - now fly from the nest and try to take care of yourself.

It's a lot of added responsibility, but you also have a range of opportunities that are now available to you. Along comes your birthday and BAM... you can suddenly do pretty much anything. You can vote, join the military, get married, ADOPT A CHILD, or even buy a house. That's a lot of power for an 18-year-old!

But, guess what? You still can't have a drink.

That's right, go ahead and buy a pack of cigarettes but don't you dare step foot in a bar or night club! (Oh wait, I forgot about Rounders — you can go there, just make sure you pay the $20 underage cover).

In the US, the legal drinking age is 21. For those of you who struggle in the maths department, that's three years after gaining every other level of responsibility. By 21, we have pretty much experienced every form of adulthood and had some crazy experiences (most of us would have been through college), and yet we're expected to not touch alcohol until this point. Where is the logic in that?

The silliest part in all of this is that almost everyone has consumed alcohol before they turn 21, and this is very common knowledge. I don't think I've ever met an American who has waited until they were 21 to drink. Instead, high school and college parties are filled with underage kids recklessly consuming alcohol. Can you blame them? They've had no safe environment to drink or learn their limit in the past. They've grown up having to hide it, creating a much more dangerous atmosphere.

If it's going to happen regardless (and I can guarantee you it is going to happen), why not make it openly accessible so the younger generations can be monitored? They have an insane amount of responsibilities handed to them on their 18th birthday. They're learning to be an adult, so why not let them learn how to moderately drink at the same time? I struggle to see how the act of drinking is any more of a responsibility than buying a house. It's created an environment where it's common for young adults to break the law, and where the element of secrecy has made it more dangerous.

Take a look at European countries such as Germany and Italy — they're allowed to purchase alcohol at the age of 18, and at 16 they can have a wine, beer or cider with a meal. From a young age, they learn what it's like to have a casual, responsible drink here and there, and are well aware of their limits by the time they can purchase alcohol at 18. That seems a lot more reasonable than restricting us from any form of the substance for twenty-one years, then releasing us into the world of partying and alcohol consumption - go wild!

Until this seemingly unreasonable law is changed in the US, I guess we'll have to keep watching "underage" adults ignore their limits and blackout at parties (they drop like flies, I swear!). It's about time we realized that secretive drinking is dangerous drinking.

So Happy Birthday! You're finally 18 and can cheer your nonalcoholic drink to the burden of your new found responsibilities. Enjoy adulthood with restrictions!

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk (Or High), Do You?

Get in the habit of safe driving practices when alcohol or other drugs are involved!

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As a Peer Health Educator at SDSU, I am required to participate in various community outreach events on campus throughout the year. The most recent tabling event was with one of Well-Being & Health Promotion's partner organizations, RADD (Rockers Against Drunk Driving). The event consisted of peer health educators reaching out to students passing by and asking them to participate in our trivia game or to take an informational pamphlet.

Our trivia game was a spin-the-wheel type with questions related to drunk driving laws and general knowledge that people should be aware of when it comes to intoxicated driving. Sadly, I don't believe many people know the true dangers and risks of drunk (or high) driving. There are several life-altering things that can happen if you are driving under the influence and law enforcement gets involved. Obviously, there's a huge risk that you can physically hurt yourself, your passengers, or other people on the road. Injury can range from broken bones to death. Some may know that you will also lose driving privileges for a while, and you will probably have to spend a night in jail.

However, many people do not know that if you receive a DUI, you will most likely be automatically disqualified from many programs such as medical school, law school, any branch of the United States Armed Forces, etc. Many people also do not know that getting a DUI can cost up to $10,000 (original fines, legal fines, etc.). It can also take up to ten years to get a DUI off your record. And lastly, your BAC does not have to be over .08 to receive a DUI. Police can pull you over if you are driving strangely and it turns out your BAC is only .01. Any poor driving due to alcohol can result in a DUI.

Finally, many people do not realize that driving while high can also result in a DUI! Just because it's legal to purchase and enjoy, DOES NOT mean it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana or any associated marijuana products! There is a .08 BAC maximum for driving under the influence of alcohol, however, there is a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of marijuana. There is no legal limit on how high you can be while driving. Any amount of marijuana can land you a DUI, even if it was from earlier in the day. Many people do not realize that the consequences for driving high are the exact same as driving drunk. You can still injure or kill people, receive a DUI, get arrested, pay thousands in legal fines, and destroy your future.

RADD is a wonderful educational program that teaches people the risks and consequences of intoxicated driving and gives incentives for designated drivers. There are ways to get involved with RADD in several areas of California, just check out their website. Also, many restaurants/bars will give discounted/free items if you tell them that you pledge to never drive intoxicated or that you are the designated driver (just mention RADD).

Intoxicated driving accidents are 100% preventable! Be a part of the solution! Go crazy and wild! Just don't get behind the wheel afterward :)

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