Lower the Drinking Age

Grace Gearon, Fall2014J1Student

Lower the drinking age

Currently in America, the legal drinking age is 21. By law, you can be responsible enough to protect our country by serving in the armed forces, but you can’t be responsible enough to have a couple drinks.

Eighteen is also when you can be tried as an adult, therefore you should be treated like an adult.

Our current policy attempts to prevent underage drinking by criminalizing youth who consume alcohol before they are 21 years old.

This is the highest drinking age that exists among all countries in the world, and millions of dollars have been spent on the enforcement of this law.

According to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, more than 90 percent of high school seniors claim that alcohol is “fairly easy” to obtain, and nearly half have admitted to drinking in the past 30 days.

With the current drinking laws, it forces young people to experiment with alcohol in unsafe and unrestricted environments, thus leading to higher levels of binge drinking.

Most states have this law because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, which forces states to raise their drinking age to 21 or be subject to a 10 percent decrease in federal highway funding.

This blanket policy rules out any other options that state governments might have to help with the overall effect of alcohol on the teens as they get older.

Originally, the drinking age was raised by President Reagan in the PCDD, Presidential Commission Against Drunk Driving. His thoughts were that if he raised the drinking age then that would insure only responsible adults were drinking, and that they would not drink and drive.

However, this raise in the drinking age has had little to no effect on the drunk driving epidemic.

According to The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility  alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of the total vehicle traffic fatalities in 2012, with an estimated 10,322 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal blood alcohol content level of .08 or greater.

This law also limits who youths can be around. For example, if you are an 18-year-old freshman in college the drinking law age restricts who you could hang out with because most club or club-like scenes require you to be 21 to go inside.

18 is the age of adulthood in the United States, and adults should have the right to make their own decisions about alcohol consumption.