Lowering the Drinking Age
The American drinking age of 21 sets us apart from all other developed countries. Recently, many people have accused this law of being outdated and causing more harm than good.
Results from a recent National survey found that 66% of students have used alcohol by the 12th grade. These numbers show that the act of underage drinking is not uncommon and the effort to keep those under the age of 21 from drinking has had a lack of success. In the United States, a citizen over the age of 18 is considered an adult and obtains the right to vote or serve in the army, but is denied a glass of wine with their dinner.
Alexis Aguirre, a writer for The University Star at Texas State University, believes that making drinking a forbidden act only drives young people to want to drink more. Aguirre states, “Legal drinking age does not eliminate consumption among young people. Instead, it only drives underage drinking underground, creating a dangerous culture of irresponsible and extreme drinking.”
Aguirre makes it clear that by the time a person is considered an adult, they are more than capable of making their on decision on whether or not they consume alcohol.
A 21 and older drinking rule is thought to feed into the rebellious nature of teenagers.
The law passed in 1984 has shown to cause cases similar to those during the prohibition – those under the legal age set out to drink as much as they can and in the smallest amount of time possible because they do not know when they will be stopped.
Writer for Time Magazine, Camille Paglia, explains that young drinkers – college students in particular – turn to binge drinking at wild parties, giving them less control of their surroundings. Paglia states, “What this cruel 1984 law did is deprive young people of safe spaces where they could happily drink cheap beer, socialize, chat and flirt in a free but controlled public environment.”
One thing that all activists in favor of lowering the drinking age to 18 have in common is that it gives students a chance to learn to drink responsibly.
In an article posted by The New York Times, Gabrielle Glaser, the author of “Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink — and How They Can Regain Control,” says that “Teaching people to drink responsibly before they turn 21 would enormously enhance public health.” Glaser believes that allowing students between the ages of 18 and 20 to drink legally would drive them away from binge drinking at random parties and give them the opportunity of having a safe, controlled environment.
Texas State University article: https://star.txstate.edu/node/1704
Time Magazine article: http://time.com/72546/drinking-age-alcohol-repeal/
New York Times article: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/should-the-drinking-age-be-lowered/?_r=0