Lowering the Legal Drinking Age

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4/15/11
Lowering the legal drinking age
Take a moment and imagine your 18th birthday. You’re considered an adult now; you can get married, join the army, own a house, and vote. If we are considered adults at the age of 18 and can die for our country and make all of our own decisions then why cant people drink at the age of 18? Given modern day society, the idea of lowering the national minimum drinking age to 18 in the united states is feasible because of its proven effectiveness in other foreign countries and desirable because of the benefits such as reduced crime, reduced spending and more educated adults to society.

The effectiveness of this plan can be proven through 3 different aspects: the positive effect that having a lower drinking age has/had in European countries such as Germany, Definitive research, and the profound changes it would bring upon society.

The minimum drinking age overall in Europe is significantly lower then that of the United States, Germany is one of those examples. In Germany it is legal for people to buy and drink beer at age 16 and then hard liquor at 18. I have seen this plan in action with my own eyes many times. Being someone who used to live in Germany I have the unique perspective of life as a teen in Germany as well as the U.S and there are many stark contrasts. Where I lived in Germany it was actually legal for kids to drink beer at the age of 14 years old and liquor at 18. This notion may sound ridiculous but the results are quite impressive. What I learned from my experiences in Germany related to drinking was that one of the key parts of the plans success relies on kids being young when they start drinking. Starting at a younger age and under parental supervision helps teach kids at an early age how to be responsible when drinking alcohol. This is important because as a youngster these kids are learning to respect alcohol and the dangerous problems it can cause which, when learned at a younger age is more likely to be remembered. Once you have turned 18 in Germany you are able to buy hard liquor. By this time you have been drinking for a few years and know your limits and how to be safe with it. Lets compare this to America when kids turn 18. In America most kids turn 18, graduate high school and go to college where more then likely they start drinking heavily in unsafe places such as frat houses and big house parties. However fun this may be it is a dangerous place for inexperienced drinkers to party. Teens in America are forced to keep their drinking hidden and underground which fosters unsafe drinking habits to begin with. Instead of learning at a younger age in a responsible setting teens are learning at an older age where mistakes can ruin your future not to mention they are doing it unsupervised and in large quantities. Another thing that ensures the effectiveness of this plan within Germany is the very strict punishment under the law if these rules are broken, for example drunk driving. During all my time spent in Germany I have never once heard or seen on TV of someone getting pulled over for drunk driving or for that matter killing themselves or others while driving. This goes to show how teaching kids at a younger age teaches them to be more responsible.

There have been numerous studies on the effectiveness the changing of the national drinking age to 21 has had in America. In 1984 congress passed the National minimum drinking age act, which effectively changed the legal drinking age nationally to 21. However, at the time there were still many states that had laws saying it was legal to drink at the age of 18. It took several years for all states to change their drinking ages to match the national requirement, mostly due to the withholding of federal funds for highway and road construction decreasing it by as much as 10%. The reason congress enacted this law was essentially to reduce alcohol related fatalities across the...
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