Lowering The Legal Drinking Age to 18
American drinking laws have a very rich history dating all the way back to the 1700’s. “Making, distributing, and drinking alcohol have been called as American as apple pie. Actually, these activities may be more American than apple pie because they existed in America long before apples were introduced to Europe.” (“Alcohol”, Prof. David J. Hanson) The legal drinking age argument has been a hot topic for a very long time and still continues to be debated today. As of 2014 the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age. There are a few select states that have some exceptions to the law regarding consumption but you have to be 21 to purchase alcohol is all 50 states. This law encourages minors to abuse alcohol anytime them can get their hands on an alcoholic beverage. The Constitution states you are free to make your own decisions and find your pursuit of happiness. How, then, is it that an 18-year-old can be called an adult but cannot walk down to the nearest pub and have a drink after working all day? Ruth C. Engs, professor of applied health sciences at Indiana University, said in an interview "a majority of young people under the age consume alcohol, and many of them do so in an irresponsible manner. Because it is seen as the forbidden fruit and as rebellion against authority." (“Why the drinking age should be lowered: an opinion based on research”, Prof. Ruth C. Engs) Basically, young people under age consume alcohol because they are not allowed to, which makes them want it more. If the drinking age was be lowered, drinking alcohol would be less appealing because it is no longer a forbidden fruit. Again, according to the professor, research from the early 1980s to the present has shown a continuous decrease in drinking and driving-related variables, and also university students, decrease in per capita consumption. However, these declines started in 1980, before the national 1987 law which mandated states to have a 21-year-old alcohol purchase law. This did, in fact, directly result in reduced alcohol-related car crashes. The national minimum drinking age act was made in 1984. It said that all states must legislate the age of 21 has a minimum age for purchasing and drinking alcohol. The decreasing drinking and driving problems is the result of many factors and not just a rise in purchasing age or the decreased per capita consumption. These include education concerning drunk driving, designated driver programs, increased seat belt and airbag use, safer automobiles, lower speed limits, free taxi services from drinking establishments, and more. Other countries such as Norway, China, Greece and Italy, which have fewer drinking-related problems, tend to share some common characteristics. Alcohol is neither seen as a poison or a magic potion, there is little or no pressure to drink, and irresponsible behavior is never tolerated. Young people learn at home from their parents and other adults how to handle alcohol in a responsible manner. These countries have fewer alcohol related issues with their youth whereas here, we have more alcohol related deaths than ever. It is usually said that an 18 year old has less tolerance as compared to a 21 year old. Although this might be true, in most cases you don’t really know how much you can handle until you try it out. Tolerance doesn’t come with age, tolerance come with realization of responsibility and there are people that are more responsible at 15 than some are at 50.
The majority of colleges are pushing for a lower drinking age as well. “More than 130 college chancellors and presidents have signed a petition initiated in 2008 in support of the idea.” (“Is lowering the drinking age a good idea?”, Jessica Ogilvie) They believe that a lower drinking age would eliminate alcohol related deaths on campus. It is no secret that many college students under the age of 21 can get hold of drink through their seniors. They are not...
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