by Domenick Booker-Pomata
In my college experience, I have witnessed numerous accounts of underage drinking leading to trouble with authority. Why must young adults be persecuted for trying to enjoy themselves after an excruciating week of studying and working? It is time for the legal drinking age to be lowered to 18 years of age.
Some argue, 18-year-olds are too immature and irresponsible to consume alcohol, but I disagree. Once someone turns 18, life opens up and they acquire multiple obligations and privileges.
They receive the right to vote or choose to be married, while also receiving the duties of enlisting in the military and performing jury duty. It is ridiculous that young adults can vote for government officials, risk their lives at war, but can’t be trusted with alcohol. This law is absurd and needs to be changed.
Our culture has a double-sided image of alcohol. On one hand, it is portrayed “life of the party,” but on the other it is depicted as the destroyer of families, lives and marriages.
In reality, alcohol is healthy when consumed in moderation. Medical research suggests the advantages of drinking alcohol range from reducing the risk of heart disease to lowering the likelihood of gallstones. It is wrong to restrict minors from having access to these health advantages.
Alcohol is consumed around the world and the United States, along with a few other countries continue to keep the drinking age at 21. But many countries such as China, France, Italy and Spain have a legal drinking age of 18. These countries allow their youth to consume alcohol, but are taught to drink in moderation. Americans should follow in their footsteps and lower the drinking age.
The laws on alcohol consumption are unreasonable and ineffective. Even though the law clearly states a person must be 21 or older to purchase alcohol, young people always get their hands on it. This is unfavorable because it forces youth to consume alcohol in unsupervised places that are risky and consumption may be abused. Lowering the drinking age will allow 18 to 20-year-olds to drink in areas such as bars, restaurants and other supervised and regulated environments.
The age restriction inspires undesirable activities just as the National Prohibition Act did. From 1920 to 1933, Prohibition gave rise to organized crime and illegal activity.
Also, our strict alcohol policies tempt the under-aged, making it more desirable for those who aren’t allowed to consume it. Lowering the drinking age would destroy this concept.
There are a lot of misconceptions about alcohol and the legal drinking age should be changed to 18. Doing so will help us avoid the regulations that inspired organized crime during Prohibition and in the long run, keep young adults safer by not enticing them to become closet drinkers.
by Ciara Mansour
The U.S. legal drinking age should remain 21-years-old and not be lowered to 18-years-old, because it will save lives and improve society overall.
A 2007 report published by the non-profit organization Common Sense for Drug Policy stated, “Every year in the U.S. an average of 85,000 people die due to excessive alcohol consumption.” It could be inferred, if the government did lower the drinking age to 18, that the number of deaths would increase.
One way to prevent this is to keep the minimum drinking age as is. The age of 21 was decided not by just sheer guessing, but by research and studies based on the human brain and how it functions.
Teens react differently to alcohol since their bodies are not fully developed, which means they get drunk faster than the average adult. According to research published in the scholarly journal “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research” in 2000, even into our early 20s the human brain is still growing and developing so “drinking alcohol during that time can damage short and long-term brain growth and that damage can be permanent.”
Many people see alcohol as a fun and easy way to have a good time, but many people ignore the serious health risks that are involved with such a lifestyle. The age was not set at 21 just to annoy America’s youth, but to increase safety.
The comparison is often made to European countries, since they have a lower drinking age. Many people argue alcohol use there is more of a lifestyle and not about just wanting to get drunk. However, this is not the case, as studies show that Europe has more underage drunkenness, injury, sexual assault, and school problems because of alcohol.
Since we have not lowered the drinking age to 18 years old, we do not know what the consequences would be in this country, but we can look at the change New Zealand made to their drinking age in 1999 as possible example.
The American Journal of Public Health reported after New Zealand lowered the drinking age from 20 to 18, drunk driving crashes increased, youth started drinking alcohol even younger, binge drinking escalated, and in the first year following the change in age requirement, there was a 50 percent increase in intoxicated 18 and 19-year-old patients at the Auckland City Hospital emergency room.
The decision to lower the minimum age in New Zealand was a huge mistake, causing more injuries and chaos within the country. We need to learn from their mistakes and leave the drinking age as it is. This country does not need any more chaos and lowering the drinking age would only bring more fatalities, injuries, and cost more money we do not have.
We need to leave the drinking age the same so we can concentrate on more important things for this great country.