DRINKING AGE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Topics: Drinking culture, Legal drinking age, National Minimum Drinking Age Act Pages: 10 (2530 words) Published: June 24, 2015
In the United States, there is a law that prohibits youth twenty-one years of age and younger not to drink any alcoholic beverages. However, there has been an ongoing controversy on whether the drinking age should be lower than twenty-one. Underage drinking has been a major controversial issue for years, yet why is it not under control? A lot of people believe that it should be lowered, but also there are a considerable amount of people who think it should stay the same. This debate has been going on for several years and it seems like there will be no change as of now. There are numerous problems involving alcohol in the world today, including alcoholism, drunk driving, and alcohol poisoning leading to death. Many of these problems involve minors and are linked to drinking underage. The legal drinking age in many states is twenty-one years old. The purpose of this law is to keep minors out of danger: away from drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and injuring the brain before it is fully developed. The government supports the belief that people are not ready or responsible enough for alcohol until this age. However, various professors and researchers are discovering ways to disprove this belief. These people think that reducing the drinking age to eighteen would influence our country in a positive way. Not only do minors support this idea, but there are numerous people and organizations that support the idea of lowering the drinking age as well. All fifty US states have set their minimum drinking age to twenty-one although exceptions do exist on a state-by-state basis for consumption at home, under adult supervision, for medical necessity, and other reasons. Proponents of lowering the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) from twenty-one argue that it has not stopped teen drinking, and has instead pushed underage binge drinking into private and less controlled environments, leading to more health and life-endangering behavior by teens. Camille Paglia, PhD, Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts, stated the following in her article titled "The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime," published on the website for TIME magazine: "The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age-21 rule sets the U.S. apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice... Now that marijuana regulations have been liberalized in Colorado, it’s time to strike down this dictatorial national law. Government is not our nanny... 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." In addition, Froma Harrop, nationally syndicated columnist, wrote in her article "Age Discrimination for the Young" on www.realclearpolitics.com: "Age 18 traditionally separates minors from adults. But one can't legally buy a drink in America until age 21. Meanwhile, many states are now sending minors into the adult criminal justice system, even for nonviolent crimes... Our society's age-specific approaches often boil down to curbing the freedoms of the young -- and increasing their punishments... The drinking age has long been a tug-of-war. Is a 19-year-old mature enough to fight in Afghanistan but not to order beer in a bar? Almost every other country sets the drinking age at 18. The presidents of 135 colleges have called for lowering the drinking age from 21. They note that the age...

References: Paglia, Camille. "The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime". TIME Magazine. Apr., 23, 2014.
Pope, Justin. "College Presidents Want Lower Drinking Age," New York Sun, Aug. 19, 2008
Rotunda, M

Why 21? (2011)
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