Should the Drinking Age in the United States be Lowered to 18?

English Comp II- Visual Aid 2by Evan Price

Having undergone the experience of dealing with law enforcers with an alcohol related offence, I have prevented myself from being put into the category of college “binge” drinkers. Seeing my bank account go from $300 on Monday to $100 by the end of Sunday was an every week type of thing. This was happening because I was abusing alcohol due to the fact that I just couldn’t wait to hit age of 21. While being assigned to go to an eight hour diversion class, walking in and seeing the people there made me feel uncomfortable and I felt horribly out of place. I thought, what have I done with my life? As the class began people were asked to go around and state their name and what their offence was. As people were stating their names and offence I was overwhelmed with a room full of druggies and alcoholics. As I sat nervously in my chair, tapping my foot, drumming on the table and biting my nails as I waited for my name to be called. As my name is called I stand up and speak loudly enough so that the entire room can hear. “My name is Evan Price and I am here for a Minor in Possession charge” but is this really what a teenage kid needs to be doing to show him that alcohol is illegal until 21?

As the years go on we have seen that in over two decades with its implementation, the legal drinking age law was enforced at age 21. This drinking age law has created an atmosphere in which drinking terms such as “binge” and “pregame” have come into teenagers life’s to describe their choices about alcohol; in which the drinking age law is typically and carelessly overlooked by teenagers and adults alike. Whereas colleges and communities across the United States are tortured and have to deal with out-of-control house parties, property damage, and loud-mouthed drunks due to immature attitudes towards the drink. When 67,500 people, in the United States, were asked about their alcohol and drug use over the past year, “more than half of all Americans aged 12 or older report that they are current drinkers” (T, Buddy par. 1). With this being said college presidents/officials back in 2008 got together from some of the top universities across the nation to propose the idea of lowering the drinking age due to the fact of an up rise of binge drinkers among teenagers across the U.S. With the lowering of the drinking age teenagers will learn how to responsibly drink alcohol.

Binge drinkers across the U.S. are aware of the negative consequences that they may entitle during their life time. Proposing that many underage alcohol drinkers should quit their habits is an ineffective to teenagers. It takes a ton of understanding to help encourage a teenager to deal with the steps of stepping away from the brown bottle syndrome. By telling an underage drinker to quit drinking is like telling a person who loves animals to, “just get rid of them,” it’s nearly impossible. Even though, grisly awareness from outsiders is remarked as an unfriendly warning to those who have dealt with the consequences and are still not rising to the occasion to say no to underage drinking. Yes, individuals are competent enough to break habits, by altering and engaging in a different lifestyle. Therefore, with that being said, the government should lower the legal drinking age in the United States to 18.

We are challenged with a law that goes out of our reach of are traditional attitudes. In which one of these reassures us about the violation to people who abuse the drink. Historically, we have seen that during the Vietnam War the 26th Amendment in 1971 allowed and provided underage citizens that were 18 years of age to legally have the right to vote, while also allowing them to be put into the draft to fight in the war. President Dr. James Wright of Dartmouth College emphasizes that “if the nation could send an 18-year-olds to Iraq and if the College could send its students to off-campus programs in places where drinking was not regulated below age 21, then it should be deemed reasonable that students be able to drink legally at the age of 18 in the United States” (Hanson Par. 2). With this constitutional acknowledgement of teenagers being given authority as adults was fundamental for promising the right for 18 year-olds to drink. With these teenagers being given that right much of the youth of the nation was much more mature and was taught on how to drink responsibly.

Within today’s society teenagers are not being taught enough and parents and teachers are not setting a good example for teens in America. According to Ruth Streeter, a producer for 60 minutes on CBS news, states that “Alcohol education is what we need and that is a very important part of our proposal. And by that I don’t mean temperance lectures and I don’t mean prohibition, nor do I mean encouragement to drink (Streeter 4).” So with a better knowledge about this beverage lowering the drinking age would show that teenagers would mature at a younger age and would offer a more positive behavior towards drinking.

Without feeling the need to hide, “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?” (Rocha). The choice is simple; lowering the drinking age to eighteen would help mature young women and young men, offer better education on how not to abuse the drink later in life and reduce “binge” drinking on campuses making college a safer place.

Works Cited

Hanson, David J. “”We Would All Be Better off If the Drinking Age Were 18″” “We Would All Be Better off If the Drinking Age were 18” N.p., 04 Dec. 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

Rocha, Zack. Rage Against the Machine. Rec. 6 July 1997. Epic Associated, 1992. CD.

Streeter, Ruth. “The Debate On Lowering The Drinking Age.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 01 Mar. 2010. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.

T, Buddy. “How Many People Drink Alcohol in the U.S.?” About.com Alcoholism. N.p., 17 Jan. 2011. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

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10 thoughts on “Should the Drinking Age in the United States be Lowered to 18?

  1. The reason to lower a law because people are already doing it is not well thought out. There have been studies done on those that start drinking at a younger age, the greater chance of alcohol dependency in later life. I don’t believe lowering it would make people mature quicker. You can already see people in there 20s-30s abusing alcohol while most young adults aren’t fully developed until mid-20s. I do feel the drinking age should be lowered, but solely on the fact that we are treated and expected to have responsibilities of an adult at age 18/19. I do like the points about voting and being sent to war, because we are expected to act like adults at that age.

  2. I think your article is great! At the age of 18 you granted two special things; the ability to vote and the ability to fight for your country in war. If you are a boy you have to be put into the draft. I believe that if you can go to war, fight for your country, and ultimately lose your life fighting for your country you should be able to drink alcohol legally.

  3. I definitely agree with what you’re saying, but there are other ways to go about it other than the thought it will “mature kids”. Drinking alcohol at an earlier age is not guaranteed to make a young adult more responsible with it. If we lower the drinking age to 18, there will still be high school kids illegal buying and binge drinking it. Also, we need to consider the fact that public transportation is not as readily available in America as it is in other countries. In Europe, there are plenty of trains and taxis and buses to take when you’re too drunk to drive, making it somewhat safer for irresponsible 18 year olds to drink. I spent 5 months studying abroad in London, England, so I know what it’s like to be legal. While it didn’t mature me any more than I already was, it definitely lowered the allure of alcohol just a bit. Since it was legal, and I could just go to the store and buy whatever I wanted, the thrill of drinking sort of disappeared. I think that is an important aspect to consider in this case. Kids love to rebel, but when you’re doing something completely legal, the rebelliousness of the act is gone, so I think lowering the drinking age could definitely help with that. Also, I am a big believer that if I am able to vote for the leader of this country, or sign up for the Army and die on the front lines for this country, I should be able to buy alcohol in this country.

  4. I was debating this issue to myself the other day! I could not agree with your stance more. The fact that the law is 21 makes teens want to do “grown up” things and have crazy nights that movies and music seem to advertise to young people. I took a trip to Italy for two weeks 3 years ago as a 15 year old. There, my school group met many young people from countries like Sweden, Austria, and of course Italy. These young individuals had countless bottles of alcohol around them and drank socially. They were completely comfortable with the alcohol being present and did not use it in excess. Moderation was the key and they knew how to handle themselves. This scene, is rare in underage drinking environments here in America. As teens binge drink, they develop terribly unhealthy relationships with alcohol only learning how to use alcohol in excess. As a result, I believe that alcoholism and drug abuse is one of the biggest issues for our society. The root of this issue, could be the age restriction of 21 and the development of bad drinking habits as a teenager that follow into adulthood. Great entry, this issue is of great importance to college students but also parents. Wonderful topic.

  5. I completely agree with this article. When some one turns 18 (or 19 in Nebraska), they are considered an adult. They can smoke, buy lottery tickets, get married, and can vote. And when these students go off to college, they want to exercise these rights and use their freedoms. But, not allowing them to drink kind of puts a damper on being an adult. And in college, these “minors” are going to school with 21 or 22 year olds and are potentially friends with these people. Now when you see a friend do something, you want to do it too, but the catch is he is legal, you are not. And like you said, an MIP could impact a student’s ability to get a job. So I agree with you that by lowering the drinking age as well as teaching moderation will not only lower crime rates, but also make the transition into adulthood much smoother.

  6. I do not agree with lowering the drinking age. It will not mature kids it will allow them to go to school drunk because they can buy it when ever they want it. It will also make them alcohol dependent late on in life. If we lower the drinking age to eighteen i believe it will make kids starting drinking at 13-15. First I drank I was 16 and I knew I was not able to drink till I was 21 but it didn’t stop me. I feel if we start drinking at 18 younger kids will see it and wanna do it.

  7. I am still on the fence with this subject. Although I agree that if we are expected to act like adults at the age of 18, we should be able to have the same rights as well. However, I also know that binge drinking can happen at any age. Yes, you see college as the time where students go to parties and have the time of their life, but, really it’s not worth throwing away your education for, is it? Most of the students I know that are drinking under-age are usually drinking until they pass out because they believe it is the norm to do so. Not surprisingly, these students also skip class because they are hungover or because they sleep right through it. I believe that the age is fine where it is.

  8. I agree to an extent with you on this matter. I agree that lowering the drinking age may help with kids who drink because they think it is “cool” to do something illegal. But at the same time lowering the drinking age isn’t going to mature people that already are not going to be mature. 18 years olds will act like 18 year olds and probably still binge drink regardless if it is legal or not.

  9. I partly agree with you. I see college students “pregame”, as you mentioned, all the time. Instead of being able to have a few drinks at an event like they want to, they take several shots all at once before going to the event in hopes that it will bring the same affect to them and last throughout the whole event. This is what causes them to get beyond drunk. It is a health risk.

  10. I agree that the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18, not because it would mature young adults, but because at 18 we do have the right to vote, get married and do most anything without your parents consent. At 18, we’re considered an adult with all the benefits and consequences. Being allowed to drink alcohol shouldn’t be any different.

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