18: Adult or Adolescent?

Topics: Drinking culture, National Minimum Drinking Age Act, Legal drinking age Pages: 3 (980 words) Published: November 19, 2006
18: Adult or Adolescent

Imagine you're a 17-year-old teenager, on the brink of finally turning 18 and gaining the glorious title of adult. Along with turning 18 and becoming an adult comes new privileges and responsibilities. One is the ability to fight for this country and also exercise ones right to vote. If turning 18 allows one to take part in such adult activities, should the legal drinking age be reduced to 18 also?

"I think we would all be better off if the drinking age were 18" states Dr. James Wright, president of Dartmouth College. With the drinking age at 21, it doesn't allow students to be treated as adults. Most underage college students will consume alcohol at some point. Some would think it's a right of passage as a college student to consume alcohol. So, if these students are going to drink anyway, why not educate college, and incoming college, students on the effects of alcohol. This way they will be able to make the decision for themselves. If the legal drinking age is reduced to 18, college campuses will be able to regulate and monitor alcohol consumption and encourage them to drink safely. In fact, the University of Michigan conducted a study and found out that since 1982, alcohol-related auto deaths has reduced 58% in 15-20 year olds. Having the legal drinking age at 21 could actually be more dangerous. Those who are 21 and older and allowed to drink in public are monitored and supervised by police and other officials. But since those younger than 21 are not allowed to drink publicly are going to do so in private where there is no supervision.

Many people don't know that it's technically not illegal for one under the age of 21 to drink. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 required all states to raise the minimum purchase and public possession of alcohol to age 21. This law only states that anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited to purchase and publicly consume alcohol. Nowhere in the law does it state that one under the...
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