At What Age Should Drinking be Allowed?
by sydneyroche on April 14, 2016 - 9:27pm
All around the world, countries set a certain age limit in order to control the consumption of alcohol of younger people. In the United States, the minimum limit drinking age (MLDA) is 21 years old and has been that way since 1984 when Congress passed the National Minimum Age Drinking Act. Recent disagreements on possibly lowering the MLDA in the U.S. was brought up by numerous college presidents throughout the country seeking it to be reduced to 18 years of age. (Giggs) One of them, John McCardell, who is president of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, finds it pointless that the government enforces a law that isn’t followed by 70 percent of students even before they attend college. (Giggs) In most cases, this is actually what happens. Kids under the age of 21 tend to drink, and even excessively drink, because doing something that is forbidden, at their age, is exciting. Not to mention that drinking alcohol for adults is glorified through marketing, which sets a greater incentive for young people to drink. “More than 90% of the alcohol consumed by those under age 21 is consumed by binge drinkers (defined as 5 or more drinks per occasion for boys; 4 or more drinks per occasion for girls).” (“Age 21”.) Although imposing the MLDA at age 21, in order to eliminate underage drinking, hasn’t been effective since it simply drove it underground, without supervision and that’s when it gets dangerous. (CBS) The government set the bar high, compared to other countries, mainly to prevent underage drunk driving and possible deaths. However, it has been observed that in most cases involving the consumption of alcohol, deaths for young people decreased when the MLDA was 21, and deaths increased when it was lowered. (Giggs). “Proponents of the higher drinking age says it reduces traffic fatalities and alcohol-related accidents while keeping booze out of the hands of teens, whose brains are still developing.” (Giggs) While the majority of Americans are against lowering the minimum drinking age, many do not understand why we wouldn’t trust 18- to 20-year olds with alcohol when, at that age, they’re legally allowed to perform and act upon or for social engagements such as the right to vote, to get married, to buy guns, and join the military. The question law enforcers should be asking themselves is whether the problem is caused by the age of these young individuals or by them being uninformed of the effects of alcohol abuse? If in fact the MLDA is lowered, the problem regarding underage drinking will remain for those under the age of this newly set limit.
“Age 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 18, March, 2016. Web. 14, April, 2016. < http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/minimum-legal-drinking-age.htm >
CBS News. “The Debate on Lowering the Drinking Age.” CBS News. CBS News 60 Minutes, 19, February, 2016. Web. 14, April, 2016. < http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-debate-on-lowering-the-drinking-age/ >
Brandon Giggs. “Should the U.S. Lower Its Drinking Age?.” CNN. CNN, 4, January, 2015. Web. 14, April, 2016. < http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/16/us/legal-drinking-age/ >