Legal Drinking Age Essay

Submitted By ShaneShelton
Words: 1422
Pages: 6

Drinking Age

Since the Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was set in place, the nation drinking age has been 21. Should the legal drinking age be changed from 21 to 18? While there are many different opinions and viewpoints on this topic, it is obvious that the majority of the nation is happy with the current drinking age. Some people argue that at the age of 18 you are considered an adult, but then why are you restricted from your rights as such? There is also the argument that, at the age of 18, 19, and 20 your brain is still developing and is more susceptible to depression and addiction. (ProCon) Then there is the ever popular argument that if you’re old enough to be drafted into the military and go die for your country, you should have to right to be able to sit down and have a beer. While there are many arguments both for the change and against it, a study shows that 77% of Americans oppose lowering the drinking age, while 22% want it lowered and 1% had no opinion. This shows it is highly unlikely we will see any change of the drinking age anytime soon.

Regardless of your opinion on this topic, many studies and just general knowledge will tell you that you that if a person under the age of 21 really wants to drink, they will find a way. So instead of making these people sneak around and try to hide it, why not let them enjoy it in a safe place where they can get home safely? Lowering the legal drinking age would allow persons from the age of 18-20 to drink alcohol in safe environments such as bars, restaurants, and clubs. Prohibiting this age group from such abilities causes them to drink in unsupervised areas such as house parties and makes them more prone to binge drinking and other unsafe behaviors. Lowering the drinking age would make drinking less of a deal to young adults entering college and the workforce and take away the thrill that many teenagers and young people get from breaking the law. This would make drinking alcohol a more normal activity in which they would do in moderation. The legal drinking age of 21 is highly ineffective because most teens who are interested in drinking, will find a way to do so. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, underage drinkers account for 17.5% of the consumer spending on alcohol which is equal to more than $22 billion dollars. In 2006, more than 72% of high school seniors had reportedly consumed alcohol during their lifetime. (ProCon) With all of these statistics being true, why would we hold these adults back from being able to make their own choices when they’re just going to find an illegal way to get the drinks. Lowering the minimum legal drinking age from 21 has not stopped teen drinking, and has instead pushed underage binge drinking into private and less controlled environments, leading to more health and life-endangering behavior by teens. When teens and young adults don’t comply with these laws, it leads them to also want to break more laws and they show little to no respect to the rules. (ProCon) All of these things considered, this doesn’t even include the drinking while intoxication numbers.

Many countries around the world with a legal drinking age of 18 have similar or better drunk driving statistics than those in the United States. (ProCon) Higher traffic accidents and death rates occur during the first few years of legal drinking regardless of the age. In 2009, 21-24 year old people had the highest percentage of people in fatal car crashes with blood alcohol levels of .08 or more at 35%. Lowering the legal drinking age to 18 would reduce the number of underage people hurt from alcohol related injuries and accidents due to the fear of the consequences of drinking. Many people will say that state government should be allowed to regulate the drinking age according to their demographics and history. Before the Uniform Drinking Act, states were happy with regulating their own drinking ages and the majority had them