More Thinking, Less Drinking

For years the legal drinking age in America has been 21, but drinking before the age of 25 can have permanent consequences to your body.


Alcohol comes in many different forms which can affect organs of all sorts in the human body.

  Organs such as your brain, heart, liver, pancreas and more are all important necessities required to survive. Taking care of them is crucial for a long life. However, adolescents start drinking at the age of 21, despite the fact that alcohol damages the organs in your body and halts your brain from fully developing four years too early. The legal drinking age of 21 is too early for people to start consuming alcohol and can lead to irreversible effects on a person. 

   You most likely know that drinking too much alcohol can lead to intoxication. But, when drinking before the age of 25, alcohol can have irritable consequences which can affect you for the rest of your life. This is why the legal drinking age should be pushed back to 25 years of age.

Alcohol comes in many different forms which can affect organs of all sorts in the human body.

Why Change the Drinking Age to 25?

      Contrary to what most believe and what the school system failed to properly teach; the brain isn’t finished growing until the age of 25. The last thing to finish developing is the frontal cortex. Coincidentally, the frontal cortex controls many different characteristics that alcohol affects.

   “The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans, such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors. It is, in essence, the ‘control panel’ of our personality and our ability to communicate,” says Healthline.

   Research has also shown that drinking before the age of 25 can shrink the size of the frontal cortex, leading to permanent effects on your body’s ability to comprehend, memorize, and more.

Is Alcohol Only Damaging My Brain?

   Besides the damages that a brain will sustain from drinking, there are also other organs that will be permanently damaged from alcohol.

  • The brain is the organ responsible for the way your body moves, functions, and thinks, and is one of the most important organs in your body. Not only does alcohol stop your brain from fully developing when drinking before the age of 25, but it has other effects on your brain. Alcohol can make it harder to control balance, coordination, judgment, speech and more, which can result in serious injuries.
  • The liver is an organ responsible for many different things. Some of them include regulating metabolism, energy storage, waste removal, and manufacturing cholesterol. When exposed to long term drinking, three different liver diseases can be created. Fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver. Excessive alcohol drinking can also cause inflammation of the liver and in extreme cases can cause liver failure.
  • The kidneys are an organ responsible for producing and regulating fluids in the body, filtering waste products, and releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure. Once exposed to alcohol, the drying out effect of the beverage can lead to your kidneys struggling to keep your bodily fluids in balance. Alcohol can lead to an increase of your blood pressure. One of the leading causes of kidney disease is high blood pressure.
  • The heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood throughout your body, which sends oxygen and nutrients to all the parts in your body. The heart also removes unnecessary carbon dioxide. Heavy drinking has been proven to weaken your heart and can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a serious condition where your heart can’t pump blood to all your organs. This can result in damaged organs and tissues. Chronic alcohol abuse can also cause high blood pressure, which can cause the pressure in your veins and arteries to increase.
  • The pancreas is an organ that’s responsible for sending enzymes to the small intestine to metabolize food. An increased amount of alcohol can disrupt this process and cause the enzymes to be stored internally rather than the small intestine. Because the enzymes are harmful to the pancreas, a heavy drinker can experience inflammation, along with swelling of blood vessels and tissues. This inflammation is known as pancreatitis, and it can prevent the pancreas from functioning properly. Pancreatitis is also a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
  • The stomach is an organ responsible for breaking down food and releasing acids and enzymes for further chemical breakdown. Alcohol is known to irritate and erode the lining of your stomach, which can lead to stomach bleeds, ulcers, and gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach., While there are cures, more serious and untreated conditions can lead to stomach cancer. Other stomach problems from drinking can include excessive vomiting and stomach acid.

   Above are just a few different ways that alcohol can affect vital organs in your body. Setting the drinking age back will also allow more relief on the organs that a body relies on to function any given day. 

   A poll from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism revealed that 64 percent of people believed that increasing the legal drinking age to 25 would have many benefits, and those people are not the only ones who believe that.

One Step in the Right Direction:

   In Nantucket, Massachusetts, The Gazebo, a popular bar, has recently changed their liquor serving age. The Gazebo will not be serving alcohol to anyone who is younger than 25. Luke Tedeschi, the owner of The Gazebo, has been running the bar for 29 years. And just recently, he made the decision to change the required age in July of 2021.

   “If I’m losing business I’m losing it to illegal drinkers, which is jeopardizing everything I have. When drastic measures need to be taken, I am not afraid to take them, regardless of the situation and this happens to be the protection of the establishment, the license, and curbing underage drinking,” said Tedeschi. surveyed their readers and asked if they believed it was appropriate for Tedeschi to increase the age of service at his bar. The results were successful and showed that 73.8 percent of people agreed with Tedeschi.

The Age of 21:

   In 1984, all 50 states in America adapted the legal drinking age of 21 due to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. On July 14th, 1984, President Reagan was the one who signed off on the bill.

   “It’s a grave and national problem that touches all of our lives,” said Reagan as he signed the papers.

   Ever since then, the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. The United States made the change to create uniform between all the states. At the time, there was no consistent national drinking age, it was up to the individual state to create their own legal drinking age. Though consistency for the United States was a success, another problem arose: underage drinking. 

 Underage Drinking Consequences:

   Waiting until the age of 25 years old to drink alcohol comes with many benefits. A person who waits only a four-year difference can save their bodies from a lifetime of damage and help stop the national problem of underage drinking. On average, 5,000 people die from underage drinking each year.

This infographic created via Google Spreads shows the percentage of deaths from alcohol incidents.

  According to the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention, underage drinking is also associated with:

  • Death from alcohol poisoning.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as car crashes, falls, burns, and drowning.
  • Violence, such as fighting and sexual assault.
  • School performance problems, such as higher absenteeism and poor or failing grades.
  • Alcohol dependence later in life.

      Alcohol is one of the top killers in America, killing one average 95,000 people a year and underage drinking costs up to an estimated 24 billion dollars to the United States economy, according to the Law Offices of John Phebus. Whenever Congress realizes that increasing our legal drinking age to 25 is best for our population’s health, it will be a decision that will drastically improve people’s lives and the quality of them. 

   Until then, the best thing you can do is spread awareness on the dangers of drinking before the age of 25 along with the risks that come with it. Whenever a person decides to start drinking is up to them, but what follows afterwards isn’t anyone’s fault but their own. Remember, temporary fun will have permanent consequences.

Remembering Reese Johnson:

   A Willard family is mourning the loss of their daughter after a drinking and driving accident on Sunday, October 17th. Reese Johnson was one of two victims who tragically passed away. Johnson was 17 years old and a senior at Willard High School. She was an athlete and was a member of Willard’s cheerleading team. 

   “She was always super sweet and full of light. Her makeup was amazing all of the time,” said Lily Anderson, a teammate of Johnson’s.

Reese Johnson hugs her older brother, Tyler for one of the very last times. Photo courtesy of Chuck Johnson.

   Though friends who knew Johnson took the news hard, her family is going through the unimaginable. Her older brother Tyler tells KY3 News, that she was his best friend. 

   “We grew into this really close relationship where we could just talk about anything…She was my baby sister, I was supposed to be there for and protect her and, and I tried to do that the best I could throughout her childhood in any situation that she needed because she was my little girl,” Tyler said to KY3 News. 

   A candlelight service was held in honor of Johnson’s passing. 

   “When I went to the candlelight memorial so many people showed up there and we said a prayer for her. We let off lanterns…,” said Anderson. 

   Johnson’s unfortunate passing is just one of thousands of examples of how alcohol can tear up someone’s life in an instant and is just another reason to reevaluate the legal drinking age law.  If you’re interested in helping the Johnson family, there is a GoFundMe fundraiser created in support of funeral costs. It was made by Courtney Hunt on behalf of Johnon’s brother, Tyler. 

   In the GoFundMe’s description, it describes how Johnon wanted to be a kindergarten teacher and was “… the most caring person you would have met.”

   The goal of this fundraiser is to raise 20,000 dollars and any money that doesn’t go to funeral expenses will be donated to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving.)