To Lower the Drinking Age or to Not?


| 9 Comments
Over the weekend I was home and while I was out to dinner with my family I was the only one not legally allowed to have a glass of wine. I expressed to my mom, dad, and sister that it's annoying that I can't enjoy a drink with them because at school I drink very classy vlad and natty ice. My mom, who is very against underage drinking, said she doesn't care. The law is the law. But my sister and my dad had a different take on it. They both believe, along with me, that the drinking age should be lowered because those who don't learn their drinking limits before college can get into some serious danger. 

My dad has always said to me "at 18 you can vote for the president of the U.S., die for your country, and drive a vehicle, but you can't have a drink at a restaurant. That is just not right." I completely agree with him. I could go on for hours about why I think the drinking age should be lowered to 18, but that would take too much time. So I researched some reasons and picked the ones that I agreed with most. 

1. You are able to vote and serve in the military at the age 18. You could possibility be leading the country in some way, you should be able to purchase a drink (cognac.com)

2. Many believe that 21 year olds have a high tolerance for alcohol and 18 year olds won't have that tolerance until they are 21. But in reality you won't know your tolerance until you try and find out. Tolerance comes with responsibility, not age. (cognac.com)

3. There is no correlation between fatal drunk driving accidents and the drinking age. According to ProCon.org, in 1984, two years before the drinking age was changed to 21 the number of fatal accidents decreased in all demographics and categories. 

4. Countries in Europe have a lower drinking age and don't have the drinking problems that occur in the U.S. (cognac.com)

5. many young adults under the age of 21 are already drinking, but they are doing it irresponsibly because they are doing it to be rebellious.But if it is lowered they will learn to be responsible about their drinking (Alcohol Problems and Solutions) 

LARGE PHOTOS_ALCOHOL.jpg

9 Comments

I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine on this topic pretty recently. He is from the Netherlands, where the drinking age is 18. He mentioned that as a result, teens learn responsibility with alcohol rather than making it a forbidden fruit. He also mentioned that recreational drug use was uncommon because they were allowed to drink alcohol so they saw no purpose in breaking any laws.

I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine on this topic pretty recently. He is from the Netherlands, where the drinking age is 18. He mentioned that as a result, teens learn responsibility with alcohol rather than making it a forbidden fruit. He also mentioned that recreational drug use was uncommon because they were allowed to drink alcohol so they saw no purpose in breaking any laws. Another thing worth mentioning is that many times minors do not want to call for help when there friends have become dangerously intoxicated because they are worried about legal repercussions. In this sense, lowering the drinking age could save lives.

We had a debate about this in my English class freshman year. The main argument against the 18 year old drinking age was that if 18 year olds can legally purchase alcohol, that makes it much easier for other high-schoolers (14-17) to get it as well. That's not to say that they can't find it now if they try hard enough, but it limits the access. By setting the bar at 21, most people understand that 18 year olds can find alcohol pretty easily, but at least that consumption is often taking place in a more mature environment (college vs high school).

I was about to say that if 18 makes you a legal adult, fully grown and fully capable of everything any other adult can do, then why can't you drink? But, after reading Mark's comment I feel differently. It makes sense now that 18 is not a suitable age because it makes it way too easy for high schoolers to get a hold of alcohol. I do believe that the age should not be 21 though. Most high schoolers graduate at 18 with some rare exceptions that are 19. So, why do we have to wait until we are 21? Maybe 19 would still have the same excuse as 18 but, there are definitely no 20 year olds in my high school right now. 21 is an odd and random age.

I absolutely agree with you. I've had this same converstation. It was really intersting because while I was having this converstation the man I was talking with brought up why alcohol is even legal in the first place. This
article is very interesting because alcohol has become to normal in our society. It seems crazy to think of alcohol as being an illegal substance or even a dangerous substance because it is part of our culture to drink alcohol. So this article looks at without these blinders of normal societies view point. Just something to think about!

I am from India where the drinking age is 18 and for all practical purposes the cops are lenient about it if you are under 18 and are caught drinking alcohol. Unless you are drinking and driving cops look at it in a very practical way and you do not usually get in trouble. I started drinking when I was 16 and it was a very normal practice to go to a bar and call for a beer. Then coming to the US and suddenly being illegal to go to bars and buy my own alcohol was a big shock for me. Also the difference which i noticed between the drinking habits back home and drinking habits in school say a lot about how defeating it is to have the drinking age as 21. Since alcohol was so easily available in India we could go enjoy it whenever we wanted and that also inculcated the habit of enjoying the drink and appreciating well brewed beer and other drinks. Whereas in college all my friends who are local students lose their minds when they get their hands on a bottle of vlad or the cheapest kind of beer which is really self defeating for the law. The binge drinking thats prevalent in the US was never the case in India. Knowing the effects of alcohol made me respect it and enjoy it responsibly and also I do not get the logic behind making criminals out of young college kids just because of a stupid law.

I'm from South Korea, where drinking age is also 18, so I used to be able to drink legally last summer. and I find it kind of annoying that i'm under age here, because I know how to behave when I drink and am trained (haha), so it's not like I would go crazy if I drank alcohol here. However, I think as long as the law says I'm not allowed to, I shouldn't. Because it's the law. Therefore I'm all for lowering the drinking age! I mean drinking is a very big part of Penn State, so the law doesn't seem to matter that much over here. But still. It would be nice if we're legally allowed and don't have to worry so much about being illegal.

http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/YouthIssues/1046348192.html#.Umc5amSKKFc

I do agree, just like most other college aged students that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. It just makes sense, the most logical argument being the one that you mentioned, we can enlist in the army and possibly die in the name of our country at the age of 18 but we cant order a drink at dinner. Something just doesn't seem right. But on the other hand, binge drinking among college aged people in the United states is already such a problem even with the drinking age at 21 would it get better or worse if the age were to be lowered? The idea of whether or not it would get students to drink less is discussed in this Washington Post article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/08/20/ST2008082003248.html. I think it is this huge risk of making alcohol even more readily available to an audience that has a tendency to abuse it that has lawmakers hesitating to even considering lowering the drinking age. Personally, I feel like the age should be lowered just because it makes sense; based off of all the other laws the United States already has and the fact that most other countries in the world don't hold their drinking ages as high as we do. Even though I think that it should be lowered, I honestly don't see it happening anytime soon.

There are some valid points for the drinking age being higher but they often are for reasons that are overlooked in other situations. Such as the health aspect of alcohol, people claim it is not healthy for a younger person to consume alcohol but it is also extremely unhealthy for a teen to consume soda. Also you might claim that it would be too easy for teens in high school to get alcohol if the drinking age was 18 but right now with the drinking age at 21 they still do not have trouble getting a hold of it.

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