Drinking Age 21: Good thing or should America go back to 18?

by swrba1 on March 16, 2014 - 2:37pm

 

           The drinking age has been 21 since the mid 1980’s and more than 20 states in 1984 already had laws making it 21 before Congress stepped in. In a recent U.S. News & World Report by Laura Dean-Mooney president of MADD(Mothers Against Drunk Driving) it states   over a 100 college campus presidents, have signed on to lowering the age from 21 to 18 to help solve the issue of underage and binge drinking. Since the drinking age was raised to 21, crashes involving individuals under the influence of alcohol has gone from more than 5,000 individuals in the early 1980’s to 2,000 annually in 2005. By the end of 2005, the law chance has saved nearly 25,000 American lives which works out to be 1,000 lives a year. Research also shows us that people under 21 years old tend to drink less than they would if it was 18 and continue to not drink as much in their early 20’s. When the drinking age has been lowered, injury and death rates significantly increased. By lowering the drinking age to 18 it would no longer be an issue of law enforcement but become more than an issue for parents to deal with. Which if a parents tells a teenager they shouldn’t binge drink they are more than likely to go out and do it. Another argument against the campus presidents is that individuals who binge drink tend to do worse academically.

            If the drinking age was lowered to 18 years old it would make it a lot easier for people even younger than to consume alcohol beverages. The United States on every place that sells alcohol has a sign that says use your id or we ID. If  people 21 years old and up are purchasing alcohol for people not legally allowed to purchase drinks imagine how many 18 years old would use their id to purchase alcohol for people under 18. An argument for many who want the drinking age to be 18 is “If you can serve for your country you can drink a beer in it”. Which is a great point but not everyone is mature enough or mentally prepared to possess the power of being able to purchase alcohol at the age of 18. Early teen drinkers are not only more likely to become alcoholics but are more likely to get the disease faster. Colleges must address the issue of underage drinking and the binge drinking atmosphere. By lowering the drinking age they would create an even larger monster and alcohol related incidents would simply just increase.  The answer is quite simple lowering the drinking age will not stop binge or underage drinking. Only person who can stop it is the people 20 years and under.

 

Here’s a link to the article: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2008/09/08/a-lower-age-would-be-u...

 

Reference: Dean-Mooney, Laura A Lower Age Would Be Unsafe [Editorial] U.S. News & World Report. 9/15/2008, Vol. 145 Issue 6, p10-10. 1p. 2 Color Photographs

Comments

I understand your point of view however I believe that as you have stated peers, family, and the schools should teach and encourage more civilized and responsible drinking. Here in Montreal our mayor has proposed to keep bars open till 6 am. Just like lowering the legal drinking age this doesn't force anybody to stay till 6 am or even to binge drink every night. Here is an article if you are interested on drinking availability and the impact it may have on a population.
http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/montreal-mayor-considers-6-a-m-closing-time...

I personally think the age should stay 21, because a lot of kids turn 18 while they’re still in high school. They will use their ID to buy alcohol for parties and their friends, which could turn into a really bad situation, not to mention it’s illegal. I understand they whole “if you can fight for your country you can drink in it” but I don’t find that to be necessarily true. I think the right to drink alcohol is something you earn for making it through 21 years.

As you said, a lot of 18 year olds are not mature enough to have that power yet. I like how you talked about college as well because a majority of college students do drink, but just a fraction of them are 21. I think if society didn’t make alcohol so appealing, then there wouldn’t be underage drinking and then changing the drinking age to 18 would not even be a question.

I agree with the previous comment that the drinking age should remain at 21. If the drinking age were to change to 18, many teenagers would abuse the law and their new found alcoholic freedom. Teens could also use their ID to buy alcohol for parties and social events. By lowering the drinking age to 18, consequences such as drunk driving accidents would increase and the safety of many teens would be in jeopardy. Alcohol consumption isn't a need, but a desire. By keeping the drinking age at 21,our government would be making a responsible decision that would not only benefit teens, but the people around them as well.

I understand your viewpoint however I do not agree about the drinking age in America. I think there should be no drinking age at all. The reason I feel this way is because many other countries have implemented this policy. It may at first have a very harsh learning curve and statistically raise alcohol related injuries and incidents but I believe it will level out with time. If children are going to drink they will find a way to get alcohol and drink it. Drugs are illegal in most states however if someone wants them they are easily acquired. Most of the fun is drinking underage anyhow as kids these days only do it because it is “illegal” and makes them feel rebellious. However after becoming the legal age most kids and adults drink less than before they were 21. I think there should be laws pertaining to those drinking under certain ages having parental supervision but I still feel we should let them drink. At 18 years old I can buy a rifle or shotgun, I can drive at 16 and die in the military at 18. All of these things have consequences and require responsibility; all of them can lead to death of oneself or others. Finally, my last point was that driving and the results from teen accidents cause more deaths than teen alcohol related deaths so should the driving age be raised to 21 also?

I have to say that I agree with the author but you've brought up some interesting arguments as well. I have to say that you are right when you say that teenagers will do whatever it takes if they really want to get their hands on alcohol and drugs, which is why those who feel forced into it will have an easier time refusing if the age limit is higher. The law is made to help those who struggle between peer pressure and their own feelings not the thrill seekers who will do it no matter what age limit there is. I also believe that mixing in the right to buy guns and the right to serve his country is irrelevant in this discussion since both are not socially forced upon you like binge drinking. The first one is a tool made to kill where alcohol is made to entertain. The second is a career choice which I consider to be a much more difficult choice than that to choose to drink or not.

Personally, I believe it is all in common sense and knowledge about the usage of alcohol, what it does to the mind and body, and how to drink alcohol in moderation. I think it also depends on the individual and whom they choose to surround themselves with in regards to negativity around their school or family. Teenagers are influenced by their peers and if the age were to be lowered to 18, it’ll be much more easier for them to get the alcohol and still do dangerous things. However, there would be difference if the age limit for drinking at 21 remained. People still do dangerous things, even if they are legal. For myself, members in my immediate family are avid drinkers, which meant that my family always discussed drinking; basically what and what not to do with alcohol and to always have responsibility with it. That doesn’t mean I’ll just turn to drinking because my family does it.

Good job examining multiple viewpoints. I think to further increase the justification for your argument against decreasing the drinking age you could add some more statistics to the blog. I personally agree with your point of view and think that individuals that are just turning eighteen are too young to have the ability to buy alcohol. At that age, an individual is still in adolescence and will be dealing with peer pressure and plenty of crucial decisions that should not be impacted by alcohol. Someone at that age is still a beginning driver and should not be near alcohol when on the road. Having DUIs as an experienced driver is bad enough, but putting someone in that situation with little driving experience could be detrimental and possibly fatal. The argument is often made that if someone can serve in the military, they should be able to buy and consume alcohol. I only agree with this if that individual is actually serving in the military. If they are actually doing the job of a soldier and risking their life for their country, give them a beer if they want one. Eighteen year olds that are sitting on the couch playing video games in my opinion are not mature enough to buy and consume alcohol on their own. My other suggestion would be perhaps to look at examples of other countries with the drinking age lowered and compare this with the United States and the amount of binge drinking. This would show that you are trying to look at the issue from all perspectives, instead of just attacking one side with a closed point of view.

I find this article interesting because I have had this debate with many people and shared my opinion numerous times. I believe that the drinking age should be 18 or 19 to match Canada. It would be a leap to for there to be no drinking age, but I think that is a good idea as well. I agree with the high school students shouldn’t be binge drinking. Many are immature and can be careless to what they consume. My sister is currently in high school and her and her friends (along with my parents and their friends) were at a house after their formal. Alcohol had been brought and the night ended with two people having to be brought to the emergency room. This is due to the lack of maturity demonstrated by these individuals.
The drinking age for the majority of countries is 18. I have made multiple trips to Canada and they seem more relaxed about their drinking atmosphere and checking people’s ID’s. They have only checked my ID less than a quarter of the time when I have drank or purchased alcohol. By having a high age restriction on drinking and making it difficult to come by, it becomes that “forbidden fruit.” People want it so badly because they have to wait so long to freely purchase it, and it leads to binge drinking. I believe the drinking age should be 19 because that allows it to be more difficult for high school students to come across alcohol, but takes the legality of it from the college students. College students will find a way to get alcohol one way or another. I would like to see you take this post in the direction to add more statistics to the post. To show a comparison between the United States with a drinking age of 18 and 21, and how it has changed. I would also like to see this compared to other countries with a lower drinking age to see how the drinking age has affected them.

Drinking age in Ghana and London, England is eighteen. I have lived in both places for quite a number of years and the effects of drinking at eighteen are the same as the effects that occur at twenty-one. Their respective effects seem not to be inevitable. In London, with an I.D at eighteen years of age one could purchase and drink alcohol . In other countries in the United Kingdom an under aged teen around 16 or 17 could purchase food along with beer or some wine. Some could even drink in the comfort of their own homes and this includes the under-aged.In Accra, Ghana it is almost about the same as Britain but the rules of drinking at 18 are not fully put into effect. Due to this, teens around 16 or 17 and even younger could go and purchase alcohol in spite of the stickers and signs that say drinking age 18 and over. Despite the advancement gap between both countries the drinking age has not had a threatening effect to both nations. Therefore i think drinking age has no effect on what happens to the individual at 18 or 21

You have written an interesting article, I like very much how even though you seem to believe that it would be safer to keep the legal age to buy alcohol to 21 you still kept arguments against, for example the funny quote that says if you can serve for your country than you can drink a beer for it. Many americans are very conservative, too conservative sometimes in many countries the drink age is 18 and they do not experience total chaos. In fact as you sad, it oppositely makes people be a lot more reasonable in their 20's. Even if for some people it might take several bad experiences with alcohol before become more of a mature person, not everyone does. Moreover in Canada the age to buy alcohol is 18 and there is only one slim boundary that separates the two countries from each other, it would make it a lot easier if all the law were the same in both countries so everyone could benefit of the same things. I went to Myrtle beach with two friends on a road trip last summer and we could not buy a beer to enjoy by the beach because we were 18 and not 21 even though we can buy a 40oz of rum back in Quebec city.
Universality of the laws would make it significantly more appropriate.

First off, I would like to say that your post drew my attention because this topic is of interest to me and because it brought me to think of a new perspective on this issue. Through your analysis of this topic, you discussed the negative sides of the drinking age being 18, which are completely valid. However, there can also be some positives of having the drinking age at 18. First off, if the drinking age was 18, then there would be much less people getting arrested and getting in trouble with the law due to alcohol, especially college students. This would help college students getting in less trouble with the law and assist in keeping their records clean, which is beneficial for future conditions when one attempts to get a job. This perspective comes from seeing past family members getting into trouble at the law while drinking under age. Even though they were drinking responsibly, they got into trouble with the law, which had a major effect on future plans they had. Second point I would like to make is in response to your assumption that if 18 year olds are able to consume and purchase alcohol, then kids under 18 would be more inclined to receive alcohol. However, that isn’t necessarily true because kids under 18 would be able to receive alcohol if they really wanted to obtain it, and an age restriction wouldn’t stop them. The final point that I would like to make is add another positive perspective of the age limit being 18, which is it would allow kids who are 18 to start building a sense of responsibility and get used to the idea of drinking if that is what they choose. For example, if an 18 year old has the right to drink, they could develop a sense of reliability within themselves and learn to drink responsibly as opposed to drink in abundance in secrecy due to the age restriction of the consumption of alcohol.

You have a great article, I liked how you have arguments for both side and you have great points that I never even thought about, about the issues of the drinking age being at age 21. In my opinion at the age of 18 teenagers are considered adults, but to be honest they are still not mature enough to handle the drinking age being at 18. The argument for that “if you can serve your country then you should be able to have a beer” is a good point but most people at 18 are not joining the army, they are attending college, just finishing high school or working. The drinking age should stay at 21, people are more mature and most of all drunken driving accidents have decreased. I understand that teenagers want to drink and they will find a way to get alcohol one way or another but there should still be a consequence for underage drinking. There would be less arrests if the drinking age was lowered, which would be helpful in their future by not having an arrest on their record. I agree that by lowering the drinking age to 18, teenagers are more likely to become alcoholics and I think that it is absolutely true. By opening the door for young teenagers to drink at an earlier age in will most likely increase the chances to become an alcoholic.

You have a great article, I liked how you have arguments for both side and you have great points that I never even thought about, about the issues of the drinking age being at age 21. In my opinion at the age of 18 teenagers are considered adults, but to be honest they are still not mature enough to handle the drinking age being at 18. The argument for that “if you can serve your country then you should be able to have a beer” is a good point but most people at 18 are not joining the army, they are attending college, just finishing high school or working. The drinking age should stay at 21, people are more mature and most of all drunken driving accidents have decreased. I understand that teenagers want to drink and they will find a way to get alcohol one way or another but there should still be a consequence for underage drinking. There would be less arrests if the drinking age was lowered, which would be helpful in their future by not having an arrest on their record. I agree that by lowering the drinking age to 18, teenagers are more likely to become alcoholics and I think that it is absolutely true. By opening the door for young teenagers to drink at an earlier age in will most likely increase the chances to become an alcoholic.

There have been some very good arguments in this post against lowering the drinking age; however, I disagree completely. In your post, you say that not all 18 year olds are mature enough to handle buying and consuming alcohol, which is true. However, who is to say that all 21 year olds are mature enough to consume alcohol responsibly? It is also stated that 18 year olds would be more prone to buying younger teens alcohol, but there are a plethora of 21 year olds who do that as well. Basically, whether the drinking age is 18 or 21, people will drink irresponsibly and people will buy alcohol for others who are under age. Brave men and women are given the choice to fight for their country, and our freedom, at the age of 18. They are sent overseas and risk their lives for us, but they cannot come home and make themselves a drink. My brother is in the United States Marine Corps, and although he is 23 now, at the time he was 18, it should have been more than accepted for him to come home and buy himself a beer. This is not the only reason I believe the age should be lowered, but it is a large factor. Another reason is that teenagers are forced to make life altering decisions when it comes to the end of high school and beginning of college, or the work force. They are forced to act like adults and are told to ‘grow up’ and ‘think for yourself’, yet they are restricted on the opportunity of having a drink. In addition, I feel as if the age were lowered, the draw to drinking would be less; therefore, leading to a lower chance of binge drinking and drinking simply 'to be cool.' I can say honestly that I know many people who drink, and drink a lot, just because it is illegal and they aren't supposed to be doing it. They say it's for the thrill. I also know many who say that when they turned 21, drinking became less fun and less enticing as it used to be. I'm not saying that lowering the drinking age will suppress problems, or make everything perfect. However, I am saying that lowering the drinking age could possibly cause more good than harm if more people were open to the idea.

This is a great topic to discuss and you raise some great points. Although I believe that if you are able to stand up and fight for our country you are certainly more than able to consume a drink, I also believe that 18 is not a mature enough age. Therefore rather than decrease the drinking age they should increase the age to where you can serve your country to 21. The major issue with the drinking age being at 21 is because the brain is not completely developed until reaching the age of 25 and alcohol can inhibit the brain from reaching full development. Decreasing the drinking age, as well as underage binge drinking can be detrimental to the development of under aged kids.
I grew up in a religious family and also with very strict parents. I also grew up in a small community where everyone knows everyone. I always had a curfew and was never allowed to stay out passed 10pm on a school night. I was also only allowed to stay out till midnight on weekends and had to ask permission from my parents for everything that I did. Whenever I stayed at a friend’s house on weekends I always had to call when I got there from the house from to prove that I was where I said that I would be. With all of these rules that I had to follow I never got involved with under aged drinking or was able to become involved in these types of activities. I have never been interested in this lifestyle and I believe that is due to my families impressions on my and the type of community I grew up in.

I definitely see where you are coming from in this article. There are many arguments to change the drinking age to 18. People believe that changing the drinking age to 18 will decrease the amount of accidents, or the amount people binge drinking. I do not think that is the case. Some people are definitely not responsible enough to have the drinking age at 18. I believe that it will increase accidents because young teenagers think they invincible and people will drive even if they are drunk. A group of friends in my town were coming from a party and they were all drunk. One got in front of the wheel and unfortunately got in a terrible accident and two out of four of them died. Even though this could happen to anyone who is above 21, I believe 18 year olds are even less responsible than someone who is much older.
I also like when you mentioned 21 year olds are buying alcohol for 18 years olds. By having the drinking age at 18, 18 year olds will now be able to buy alcohol for 16, 15, or even 12 year olds. This will definitely bring dangers from alcoholism or accidents in the younger generation. I know plenty of 21 year olds who have bought alcohol for my friends and I. For me, being a 19 year old, I know that if the drinking age were 18 some of my younger friends would ask me to buy them alcohol.

I believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. The author definitely has good points about why it should stay 21 but i still disagree. Realistically most people are already drinking by the age of 18. It would make it a lot easier for law enforcement because now they don't have to worry as much about illegal drinking. Most 18 year olds are already drinking anyway. The author states how 18 is an immature age and they can not handle the responsibility. But just like making bad decisions with anything there will be consequences.If anything it may help them mature faster because of the responsibility they are given. Just because an 18 year old drinks does not mean any harm is guaranteed. In college, fake ids and underage drinking are going to happen regardless of what the law is. It would be easier for everyone if the drinking age were lowered to 18.

This is a great article to choose because of how controversial it is. I have always argued with my family about this top and more recently because of my growing age. I think that the drinking age should be lowered back down to 18. I agree with the article and how it can significantly lower binge drinking in colleges and possibly lower deaths. I do not think the maturity level of the generations of 18 year old has changed over the years and if they were seen as mature enough to drink at one point why are they suddenly not mature enough now. I agreed with you When you said how it will make it easier for younger kids to get alcohol. In my town it is very easy for young kids to get their hands on alcohol as young as 7th grade. I do not feel that lowering the drinking age will make children in elementary school more likely to drink.

I think that this is a topic that every individual in the United States has thought of at some point in his or her life. However, drinking age can be a very debatable subject. Although statistically there may be fewer crashes from drinking and driving, that doesn’t mean there is a decrease in underage drinking as it is. In fact, it appears to me that when there is a set age for something to be legal or illegal, more people tend to rebel against the law. From personal experience I notice that in other countries where the drinking age is younger or there is no drinking age, alcohol is respected more and taken more seriously. Without the anticipation or excitement of breaking a rule many people do not care to do something. Many people still drink after they turn 21; however, drinking tends to decline after this age because the propaganda of being cool and a rebel is gone. When alcohol is raised and made aware in a culture, the people tend to respect it more and tend not to binge drink as much. For example, in Haiti there is no set drinking age or at least any person has access to alcohol. But it is extremely uncommon for a Haitian citizen to be drunk. Usually a Haitian person will consume a few drinks but will not get drunk because it is shameful to their society. It is a respectful outlook towards their people. I think that if knowledge of alcohol was spread to people as they grow up and the image of getting drunk and incompetent was not something to strive for then there would be less issues. I personally think that the drinking age should be lowered again to 18 because first of all, 18 signifies a person entering adulthood capable of making their own decisions, and second, it would eliminate the “want” to rebel against what is prohibited.

I agree the drinking age should remain at 21. Growing up I was always taught how dangerous alcohol was, drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, etc. I feel that alcohol is fine as long as one knows what he/she can handle, it is done in moderation and no one is drinking and driving. That being said I feel that you need to be mature to drink alcohol for obvious reasons, and I feel that the problems with alcohol will just sky rocket if the age is lowered because 18 one is just not mature enough. For example if it were lowered to 18 college would be a mess kids would get messed up all the time because they could and it is legal, it staying at 21 keeps a lot of kids inline. Most college students can most likely get alcohol whenever they want any way but they don’t do it as much because its somewhat a process.

I think it is a good idea to let the young ones to drink at 21, I am currently a 17 years old teenagers and I do not think the young ones at my age would be totally able to control my consummation of alcohol. Drinking is not a necessary thing in our lives to make a human being survive. Moreover drinking leads to a lot of bad consequences to our body either physically or mentally. It can cause permanent damage to a person, if drinking is not well educated to the young adults. So it is a good idea to leave the drinking age at 21.

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