Should the U.S lower the drinking age to 18?



The United States is still one of few countries that continue to enforce the law of "no drinking until you are 21." Right about now, all the seniors' in High School are shaking their heads in disapproval. But honestly, why is this? I understand that the United States is trying to prevent younger audiences from participating in such debauchery, but wouldn't there be benefits of lowering the drinking age?


When I think about the age "18," I think about the privilege of being allowed to vote. If someone is old enough to legally change the way a country operates, don't you think it would be alright for them to grab a quick beer at the bar afterwards? Along with being able to buy tobacco products, driving, and voting, turning 18, in a lot of ways, symbolizes becoming an adult. My parents always told me that when you are an adult you can make your own decisions, but I guess that was not entirely true.

 A lot of times, because kids are not allowed to drink, it makes them want to do it even more. This can lead to kids drinking in unsafe environments and developing unsafe drinking habits. According to the <a href="">Center for Disease Control and Prevention</a> people between the age of 12 and 20 consume 11% of all alcohol drank in the United States already. If kids were taught proper, safe drinking habits, this number would be undoubtedly lower. If the drinking age were to be lowered to 18, kids could learn how to drink in regulated environments and learn the safest way to handle themselves when doing so. In my opinion, binge drinking on weekends would be greatly reduced, as would the nasty habit of drinking and driving. If kids were exposed to this privilege at a younger age, it would give them the experience they need to learn how to develop safe drinking habits. Safer drinking habits means less underage citations and happier parents.Binge drinking is also the fifth leading reason for <a href="hospital visits"></a> among underage teens. If teens were taught how to practice safer drinking habits at a younger age, hospital visits would decrease as would the number of fatalities associated with binge drinking.


Not only would this <a href="">lower drinking age</a> incur benefits for the kids, but would also benefit the United States economy. With more people in general allowed to go to bars, beer distributors, and liquor stores, an entire new demographic would appear for the owners of these establishments. They would increase profits greatly and could really have the chance to thrive in their respected markets. The tax dollars generated from this new audience could also be used to better the United States in a number of ways. For example, the government could fund more programs to teach kids the dangers of alcohol use. A good idea would be to have every 18-year-old attend a mandatory alcohol abuse class funded by the tax dollars generated by the new law. This class could inform, teach, and even frighten kids about the dangers they could encounter when partying too hard. It would cut down drinking and driving dramatically and save many lives in the process. 

The most important reason why the drinking age should be lowered to 18 years old, is because it has proven itself to work in other countries. For example, Germany's drinking age is <a href="">16 for beer and wine and 18 for liquor and other spirits</a>. To many people's surprise, the number of drinking and driving fatalities in Germany is significantly less than the number in the United States. An alternative method of enforcing drinking and driving laws if the drinking age were to be lowered to 18, would be to have a "no tolerance" law for drinking and driving. This means that even if you have .01 blood alcohol content, you are over the legal limit to drink and drive. This "no tolerance" law would certainly make people think twice before drinking and driving. 

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You raised some great points about why the drinking age should be lowered in terms of financial benefits and such, but I would have to disagree with your conclusion. Yes many other countries have their drinking age set at 18, but that doesn't mean we have to conform. 21 years of age is a better cut off for the drinking limit because the brain doesn't even fully develop until your mid twenties. Sure 21 isn't your mid-twenties, but by the time you're 21, you'll have had major responsibilities that you have had to take care of, maturing you as an individual. Age 18 is when you can finally leave the nest and are considered an independent. It wouldn't be a good idea to immediately give these young adults access to alcohol. They need to learn independent responsibility first so they don't have such an easy opportunity to destroy their life at such a young age.

I agree with the post above, and i would agree with you. But the reasons to lower the drinking age are so few, and I dont really feel that they are effective. They are the same old, old enough to vote but not to drink, old enough to serve but no to drink. They are really repetitive and until people can get ms scientific studies that show drinking at a younger age is better, I think that it should stay.
drinking age to 18

I just had this conversation with someone the other day and I came to the conclusion that I don't think they should lower the drinking age back to 18. The reason why I think that is because we live in a society where regardless of the drinking age people from the age of 18-21 are going to drink no matter what the law says. This shows to me that this age group is irresponsible and would not be able to handle the new drinking age. I think the biggest impact we would see is the amount of drunk driving because most people in this age group would not be able to control themselves from drinking too many beers and driving home after. I think that is the main reason why government would not be willing to change the drinking age.

I feel that I can agree with both sides of this argument. I don't think there is really any right way to evaluate what should be done because even though lower age works in other countries, our societies function very different from each other so it is difficult to know. I think maybe the answer to whether the drinking age should be lowered or not is better evaluated through our own U.S. drinking age history.

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