Freedom. That’s what America is known for; Land of the free. When you turn 18, your legally considered an adult. You can buy cigarettes, you can vote, you can get married, buy pornography, have babies, and join, fight, and die for your country. So if your considered mature enough to have all of these responsibilities, shouldn’t you be able to consume alcohol too? The legal drinking age has been set at 21. The government set the legal drinking age to 21 to prevent drunk driving and other problems they blame on irresponsible drinking. The government shouldn’t decide when someone is responsible to drink because even many “adults” aren’t responsible enough to know their limits. Drunk driving classes and alcohol consumption classes should be taught in schools so kids have an understanding on what alcohol can lead to and how to drink responsibly. Turning 21 doesn’t make you any more responsible or knowledgeable about alcohol than at age 18. Lowering the drinking age to 18 would help because there would be less underage drinkers and less of a need to feel mature and accepted by teens. A study shows that 87% of high school seniors have consumed alcohol. This means that from the ages 17-19 people are already drinking.
Seniors in high school and other underage drinkers consume alcohol for many reasons. Rebellion, celebration, peer pressure, insomnia, anxiety and boredom are just a few reasons, however, the biggest reason is rebellion. Teenagers don’t feel like they are being treated fairly by the government because they are considered adults and they are being denied the right to drink, so they rebel. Not only do they rebel to make a point but they are rebelling because of the excitement they get when they know they are breaking the law and also because drinking is a symbol of “adulthood”. A study conducted by Dr. Ruth Engs shows that drinking is more exciting when its illegal and that we as Americans should be more focused on safe drinking instead of age restrictions. If the drinking age was to be lowered to 18, the temptation to drink would decrease because it would be accepted and people would no longer get that excitement and thrill from breaking the law.
The U.S. government is concerned about the number of drunk drivers and irresponsible drinking so they made the legal drinking age higher. If you look at Britain, they don’t have a drinking age and France has a minimum drinking age of 8; neither of which having a problem with drunk driving. On the other hand, America has a minimum drinking age of 21 and our problem with drunk driving is considered to be the worst in the industrialized world. We can see that the 21 minimum drinking age is having a negative effect on the U.S., yet we keep it the same and expect different results.
Lowering the drinking age to 18 will make it so there are less irresponsible drinking and underage drinkers. 18-year-olds will have a feeling of adulthood and they will feel accepted. I think drinking will become more casual and social more than it is now and people will have less temptation to drink heavily and irresponsibly.