Lowering the Minimum Legal Drinking
Alcohol consumption is the third leading actual cause of death in the United States, a major contributing factor to unintentional injuries, the leading cause of death for young people, and it accounts for an estimated 75,000 or more total deaths in the United States annually. There have been a lot of discussions about whether to keep the minimum legal drinking age at 21 or to lower the minimum legal drinking age to 18. The minimum legal drinking age in the United States is set at 21. Limiting the age to 21 as the legal age of maturity is preposterous. When someone is 21, it does not guarantee or mean that they are mature enough to consume alcohol responsibly. Eighteen is considered as an adult, and they are old enough to make important decisions on their own. However, at 18, they are not allowed to consume alcohol, which to them seems unfair. The minimum legal drinking age should be reduce to 18 years-old, because 18 is a reasonable age of maturity, and 18 is also the age where teenagers began to develop a sense of responsibility.
In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, requiring all states to raise the minimum legal drinking age to 21. If the states do not comply with the law, then the states will face a 10 percent cut of the federal highways funding. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed in hopes to decrease the number of drunk driving related accidents. Congress believed that with the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, many lives would be saved. Congress also believed that 21 is the right age of maturity. However, I have to disagree with that notion, because 21 does not make them any better than the other person who is under 21, and one cannot use age as an excuse for determining maturity. For example, there are many teenagers in the world that are more mature than 21 year-olds. Therefore, age should not be the focus, but rather maturity and the ability to handle responsibility. In 2008, a group of university and college presidents expressed their discontent with the minimum legal drinking age 21 by signing on to the Amethyst Initiative. This group of college presidents, and their partner organization, “Choose Responsibility,” proposes reducing the minimum legal drinking age to 18, and they encourage the public to hold a debate about lowering the minimum legal drinking age.
Here is a question: If 21 is considered so mature, then why is 18 considered as an adult? Furthermore, at the age of 18, individual can vote, serve on a jury, stay out without a curfew, leave home, drive a car, smoke, buy weapons, engage in financial contracts, fornicate, start a family, be sent to an adult prison, join the army, and die for their country. So, if 18 year-olds can be held to so many responsibilities, then it seems unfair to say that they are not old enough to drink. It make no sense. Setting the legal age at 21 to purchase and to consume alcohol is unrealistic in today's society, because there is always a way for someone to obtain alcohol without the age restrictions. It does not solve or prevent many drunk driving accidents from occurring. It does force many underage teenagers to crave for alcohol illegally. Lowering the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18 would eliminate the thrill of breaking the law to get a drink.
The arguments against changing the minimum legal drinking age have many issues. Studies show that there was a 13 percent decline in the number of fatal car crashes among 18 through 20 year-olds after the minimum legal drinking age was raised to 21. There will always be people who will drink and drive, and there is nothing anyone can do to completely stop it. The answer is not to raise the minimum legal drinking age, but rather to educate more thoroughly the dangers of drinking alcohol to young people. The United States is one of the few countries with a prohibitive drinking age. In Europe, teenagers learn how to drink gradually, but...
References: Bill proposes lower drinking age. (2012, February 6). UWIRE Text, p. 1. Retrieved from http://db08.linccweb.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.db08.linccweb.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA342056941&v=2.1&u=lincclin_fccj&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=8d50c6382d3604820e4d35e133e3f673
Lowering drinking age can help promote safer habits. (2013, September 3). UWIRE Text, p. 1. Retrieved from http://db08.linccweb.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.db08.linccweb.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA341869507&v=2.1&u=lincclin_fccj&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=162cdd302d7c39aa05fb06011e04bbe4
Minimum-age drinking laws and youth suicide, 1970-1990
Birckmayer, Johanna; Hemenway, DavidView Profile. American Journal of Public Health89.9 (Sep 1999): 1365-8.
Miron, J. A., & Tetelbaum, E. (2009). Does the minimum legal drinking age save lives? Economic Inquiry, 47(2), 317+. Retrieved from http://db08.linccweb.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.db08.linccweb.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA199599603&v=2.1&u=lincclin_fccj&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=b01b716305f610cb74b3f561d982d5e6
Post Letter: Legal drinking age should be lowered. (2011, March 28). UWIRE Text, p. 1. Retrieved from http://db08.linccweb.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.db08.linccweb.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA344365740&v=2.1&u=lincclin_fccj&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=55340dd2d58b697e9c61f25d1552cd4d
Please join StudyMode to read the full document