Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Should the Drinking Age be Lowered?

    The debate between lowering the drinking age to 18 or keeping it at 21 is a very hot topic for high school and college students nation wide. I'm in favor with lowering the drinking age but not by any means because I want to be able to drink sooner. At the age of 18 you are considered a legal adult in most states and you are finally able to vote, sign up for the military, sign legal contracts on your own, and even adopt a child. To me those seem to be very mature decisions, so whats making drinking alcohol a more mature responsibility then let's say, adopting a child?
    The United States is one of the countries with the highest drinking age besides New Zealand where you have to be 21 to drink on your own but are still allowed to drink at the age of 18 with an adult. Mexico, France, Canada, and Australia are all countries with drinking ages of 18. In Germany you can start drinking at the age of 5 if its at dinner time, at 16 you can buy your own alcohol for meals, and once you hit 18 you are able to drink for what ever reason (shea). One of the biggest arguments of lowering the drinking age is that there will be more traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers. But according to, even with the United States increasing the minimum legal drinking age to 21, its rate of traffic fatalities in the 1980s decreased less than that of European countries whose legal drinking ages are lower than 21. Regardless the drinking age, there are still going to be people out there that will choose to make stupid decisions and drive while intoxicated. Just because you are 21 doesn't mean that your brain won't be affected any differently then that of an 18 year old who is just as drunk.
    Because drinking is prohibited to anyone below the age of 21, it provides more a of thrill to minors to drink. If The drinking age was lowered, people wouldn't see it as another rule that they can try and break. Usually when a teenager is told no, they have more of a desire to break that rule because it's off limits to them. Along with the drinking age being at 21, it causes a barrier when someone has over-drank and is in a serious health condition and could possibly die. They are afraid to seek help because they might get in trouble with either their parents or even the law because they have been participating in underage drinking.
    Enforcing the law of underage drinking takes a lot of time and money. Instead of wasting the money on trying to reinforce the law that is just going to continually get broken, the money should be spent on educational programs that teach children and young adults about the dangers of drinking and how to drink responsibly. If children are taught how to drink responsibly and its not something that they are forbidden to do, they are more then likely to take it more seriously and drink more responsible. Also, alcohol has been proven to be good for your health, but only in moderate amounts. So if the drinking age is at 21, 21-year-olds and higher are the only ones that can use that type of medical treatment so to say.
    Just because the drinking age should be lowered, doesn't mean that people are just going to be able to get drunk at an earlier age. It could potentially reduce binge drinking and deaths caused by alcohol poisoning if people aren't afraid to get help and money is spent on the education of alcohol and it isn't just another law that young adults are trying to sneak behind. Also, what makes having the choice to drink alcohol any different from selecting the next president, having a child, or joining the military?
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Scrambeled Eggs said...

No the drinking law should not be lowered. Yes joining the military and asopting are big decisions, but they do not affect a persons health. It will probably raise the number of DUI'S, because 16 yr olds will say only two more years and probably drink. It will make kids want to drink it more. Drinking is bad enough as it is and it is limited to people ages 21 and older for their health. There are already programs out there to warn people about the effects of two much drinking. I was in sixth grade when I went through D.A.R.E.
I think lowering the drinking age would be dangerous and unwise, it would just create more problems.

iambroken said...

Alcohol has been proven to be good for your health?? What? Well I do kind of agree with some arguments in this article but not all of them. I do believe that they should stop wasting money on trying to enforce the law and spend that money on educating the minors of dangers on drinking alcohol. Yes, voting, adopting a child, going into the military are mature actions that can happen when you are eighteen but comparing drinking to those factors is inappropriate. Drinking intoxicates you which slows down your reflexes and effects your driving ability and can kill one's life. Voting, adopting, being in the military is a freedom where it makes you a better person, taking big steps without the intoxication. I have no problem if they lower the drinking age to 18. Better yet, I think they should lower it because even if they don't lower it kids are still gonna drink no matter what. It's the fact that they will get in trouble with the law if they get caught that matters.

eric.paine said...

Most states in the nation adopted a minimum drinking age of 21 soon after federal passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, which required states to maintain a minimum drinking age of 21 in order to avoid a reduction in federal highway funds. The original intention of the law was to reduce the incidents of alcohol-related accidents among people under 21. But since passage of this legislation, and the raising of the drinking age in many states, the percentage of people who drink between the ages of 18 to 20 has skyrocketed. Many say the prohibitions have actually encouraged secretive binge drinking, more dangerous behavior, and less educational programming targeting this age group. Respected law enforcement officials and university presidents have recently called for changes in the federal law to permit states to lower the drinking age.

At age 18, people are legal adults. As much as their parents may think otherwise, they are no longer children. They have the right to vote and help choose the President of the United States. They can go to war to defend our country, and they can legally purchase guns and cigarettes. It is absolutely absurd that they cannot have a beer or glass of wine without fear of possible arrest and prosecution.

It's time for the nation to repeal these Prohibition-era laws and adopt a more intelligent, progressive, and educational approach to drinking among younger adults. These laws simply don't work, they aren't enforceable any longer, and if anything they are counterproductive. Literally millions of responsible young adults are already consuming alcohol and that's not going to change. What we need to do is stop wasting the taxpayers money chasing, charging and prosecuting responsible young adults who want to have a beer, and start putting the money where it ought to be, in promoting smart education about responsible drinking, and in pursuing far more serious criminals, including those at all ages who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Eric Paine
President & Founder
Drink At 18