Drinking Alcohol

revised Spring 2008, Young

Beer Pong, Quarters, Drunk Driver, and I Never. All of these are known as drinking games. These games can be played anywhere and get out of control. When plying these games people can get out of control by trying to win; resulting in a person who is very intoxicated. More than likely, if a person were to ask someone under the age of twenty-one what these were, that underage adult could tell the person the rules and possibly even show the person how to play the game. A reason this could be is that “Montana has had the highest fatality rate per vehicle miles traveled during three of the last four years” (Mt.gov). In 2003, Montana had one of the highest percentages for alcohol related crashes at 49 percent and has been growing ever since (mt.gov). The laws that are currently in place do not seem to effective. One law states, “bands who play in clubs where alcohol is served may not leave the stage while performing. (www.dumblaws.com)”

Its Context
The drinking of alcohol happens almost anywhere. People can drink at sporting events, concerts, weddings, parties, restaurants, and so on. Most of the time drinking happens at night but some people feel the need to drink during the day. Not everyone that drinks however is over the age of twenty-one, especially in Montana. Many teenagers under the age of twenty-one have experimented with alcohol. Most of them can go over to a friend’s house and drink, go to parties, or do it alone in the privacy of their own home. The only thing that the teenager really needs is money and buyers: someone that is over the age of twenty-one who is willing and able to purchase alcohol. Some activities support the drinking of alcohol such as Beerfest and Octoberfest. There are a lot of activities for underage and legal drinkers that can cause problems for that person. For instance, if that person were to be in a sport or if the person were caught drinking on the job, it could cause serious problems. Drinking of alcohol has been known to cost people their jobs, money, friends, family, and future schooling. In most cases, a person does not need any equipment to drink alcohol. Although alcohol is known as a depressant, people drink it hoping for the opposite effect. People also drink alcohol to feel good, to be relaxed, to fit in, to have fun, and to get their mind off of the other problems they may have in life. However, when it comes to breaking the law with this artificial enjoyment, it could lead to serious problems.

Laws in Place
Laws for the consumption of alcohol have been altered and improved for decades. “The legal drinking age for different countries varies dramatically, from 0 to 21” (www2.Potsdam.edu/handsondj/legaldrinkingage.html). The United States is the only country that has a legal drinking age of twenty-one. It is also commonly believed, “people can legally drink below that age under many different circumstances.” The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, required all state within the Unites States to raise the minimum age for purchasing as well as possessing or consuming alcohol to the age of twenty-one. Some states have also been trying to bring in other laws to help stop the rise of drinking while driving. Here in Montana, we have the Open Container Law. This new law that was passed in October of 2005, states that
“a bottle, can, jar, or other receptacles that contains any amount of an alcoholic beverage that is open, has a broken seal, the contents of which are partially removed or are immediately capable of being consumed is illegal” (mdt.mt.gov/safety/open_container_faq.shtml).

Juridic controls
The laws for the drinking of alcohol are practically the same in Montana as any other state in the United States. All state and local alcohol laws are controlled by states. The state has its own statutes that they govern, including the consuming of alcohol. Each state has there own Liquor Act, which under the 21st Amendment, allows each and every state the control over consumption, sale and distribution of alcohol. Since all states can control their own liquor laws, it is smart for any out-of-stater to view the state laws regarding alcohol consumption whenever they travel to a different state. (http://www.epi.uwm.edu/alcohol/pathfinder/pathfinder2.shtml). There are a couple of ways in which people learn about that law. One of the primary sources of information on drinking laws is local media. People can find these laws on the news, in the newspaper or even the internet. Nowadays people can go online to find information on a state’s alcohol laws. Just by typing in alcohol laws with the state’s name on a search engine, a person can come up with many sites that have that state’s alcohol laws. If people are not informed of current laws, they will not realize what the penalties could be for various offenses, such as drinking and driving. If caught, it could not only mean prison time but could be a problem with car insurance. “Many national car insurance companies will turn down people right away when they learn of a DUI/DWI problem looming” (drunkdrivingdefense.com). The laws do not really come to the human mind usually, unless the person is out driving and they are looking out for law enforcement. Not many people were open to the idea of expressing their experiences and outcomes with drinking alcohol. The few people that would even give an answer would only say they were just trying to have a good time or that nothing ever seemed to go wrong. Ward’s direct action would be an excellent step for these people to take. If they would take action and get themselves a designated driver or make plans to make sure that they do not drive under the influence, it would help make a difference in how many accidents and deaths come about on the road.

Escaping From Laws
There is no major way of escaping from the laws for drinking alcohol. If that person wanted to continue to drink without being caught by the law, a smart step to take would be to get a sober and legal driver behind the wheel. If the person who is drinking is a minor, there is still a chance that they will be caught. However, the likelihood of being caught increases if the underage teen decided to drive him or herself. If you were going to drink, the best way to avoid having to interact with the law would be to stay home and drink alone, with a few quiet friends, or take it easy at the bar. This way, they could enjoy themselves without having to worry too much about the law and they would probably not have any interaction with authorities. So many people abuse their rights to drink alcohol, that the laws are required for the safety of others. Even if cars were removed, people could still get in trouble for public intoxication. Until people take a step back and realize that they can be responsible while drinking, laws are needed to ensure some kind of safety.

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