Re-consider the Drinking Age
In today’s society it is legal for an 18 year old to vote, be enlisted in the military, serve jury duty, buy tobacco products, live on their own and support themselves. Yet after all of that responsibility, these young adults are still not given the privilege to enjoy a few beers here and there. The current drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age, a controversial issue for many. The issue is exceptionally debatable and many people believe the drinking age should be lowered to the age of 18. Many college and university presidents disagree with the current legal drinking age and have come to the conclusion that outlawing alcohol to students under 21 makes the drinking problem worse! The national drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18 because it would result in a decrease of binge drinking and allow for more supervised alcohol consumption. The prohibition has proven to be counterproductive; the responsibilities that 18-year-olds assume merit the right to drink and it would lead to more responsible drinking on college campuses. The debate may come across as farfetched but there are a few aspects to consider before reaching a final decision. In the article “States weigh lowering drinking age.” By Judy Keen she explains how “A 2007 Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans oppose lowering the drinking age to 18.” At the age of 18 a person is legally considered an adult and automatically inherits a number of rights and responsibilities. It is not fair that a man or a woman can risk his or her life fighting for our country enlisting in the military, but is not considered to be mature enough to be able to purchase or drink alcohol. We hold 18 year olds to be responsible enough to vote on important government positions and to serve in a jury deciding someone’s legal fate. It is also strange that the United States claims that 18 year olds are legally responsible for themselves. These young adults are given the option to live on their own and force them to support themselves. If an 18 year old commits a crime they can potentially go to jail for the rest of their life. Most States give a 16 year old the privilege of driving a motor vehicle without a parent or legal guardian. When a kid is behind the wheel they are capable of doing unthinkable damage and have control of countless lives at their hands. This is by far a greater responsibility than drinking alcohol. Many would conclude that all of those rights are more important than the right to drink. If 18 year olds are released out into the real world and given all of that pressure then no one should be able to say that they are not mature enough to handle alcohol. People say that if the drinking age is lowered then college students will abuse the privilege. They say they will drink irresponsibly and act reckless. Another concern is that it will lead to more excess drinking because it will be so accessible for students. On the contrary, when drinking is legal people are much more likely to drink responsibly and not binge drink because when something such as drinking is legal, students don’t feel the need to force all of the drinks down at once in order to stay drunk for a longer period of time. The atmosphere in which people drink illegally is not a good situation for safe drinking. Underage drinking is usually done in frat basements, unsupervised house parties, and cars. When alcohol is consumed in these unsafe places it is unregulated and more likely for a terrible drinking incident to occur. The risk of binge drinking and ultimately death is a key reason why the drinking age should be lowered!
When drinking is legal, it is done out in the open and can be surveyed by the police. However, when the drinking age was raised it simply moved drinking underground. If the drinking age is lowered to 18, colleges could then regulate alcohol use, rather than college students drinking in an underground environment...
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