U.S. Drinking Age Should be Lowered

Why the drinking age in the U.S should be 18

The drinking age in the United States has become an issue especially prevalent on college campuses and with binge drinking in teens. The U.S. is one of 11 countries in the world that have the drinking age of 21, the highest drinking age of all of the countries where it is legal to drink. Out of the 190 countries around the world, 61% have a drinking age of 18 or 19. (ProCon) One place that underage drinking is mostly seen is on college campuses where students are mostly between the age of 18-22. The issue with the drinking age being so high, is that society calls you an adult and expects you to be on your own and begin to figure out independence at the age of 18, however the restriction of alcohol laws prevents you from joining your older peers in a social setting until of age, which could be as late as your senior year of college.
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Where In the World Are People Binge Drinking the Most?

"American drinking culture, particularly among teens, is defined by binge drinking or heavy, excessive alcohol consumption. In fact, the rate of binge drinking in the U.S. is the highest in the world. Despite the U.S. drinking age, binge drinking is the biggest problem for people under the age of 21" (Loewentheil).

Following the models of other countries who have lower drinking ages, would decrease the need for our underage population to binge drink. 18-20 year-olds in other countries don't feel the need to binge drink to have fun as going to bars and casually drink is available to them. In European countries, around the age of 15 start to have a little wine with dinner, and drinking is never this taboo thing of wanting it more since it's banned.

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Pros of Lowering the Drinking Age

  • 18 is the legal age of adulthood, and one should be able to make their own decisions on alcohol: If you are legally able to purchase and use tobacco products at 18 one should legally be able to purchase and use alcohol as well. According to the NIAAA, people who smoke tobacco and drink are at higher risk of cancers involving the mouth, throat and liver, and cardiovascular diseases. If tobacco sets the same risks as alcohol, why are people legally able to buy and use tobacco products earlier than alcohol? (National Institutes of Health) You are also able to go into the army, vote, and get married all at the age of 18.
  • Allowing 18 to 20-year-olds to drink in regulated environments would decrease unsafe drinking: If 18 to 20-year-old would be allowed in bars and clubs, they would not have to drink in unsupervised places like fraternity houses or house parties, which leads them to binge drinking and other unsafe behavior.
  • There are fewer drunk driving accidents in countries with a lower drinking age, and the number of drunk driving accidents doesn't correlate to the younger drinkers
  • The activity of drinking responsibility should be an enjoyable activity: the higher drinking age makes it seem like drinking as a negative social activity. However, if done safely, it can be a positive, enjoyable and social experience and people under the age of 21 should not be denied the social experience of drinking
  • Lowering the drinking age would boost the economy: since many more people would be able to drink, small business would gain profits, which would then increase the tax revenue for the government

Citations

  • Loewentheil, Hannah. "Can You Guess Where In The World People Are Binge Drinking The Most?" MIC. Mic Network, 30 July 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2015.
  • "Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) in 190 Countries." ProCon.org. N.p., 25 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Dec. 2015.
  • United States. National Institutee of Health. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. National Institutes of Health, Jan. 2007. Web. 05 Dec. 2015.