Minimum Legal Drinking Age

Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) laws specify the age of when a person can buy or publicly drink alcohol legally. In 1984, the minimum legal drinking age was raised to twenty-one. Many college students attend parties where alcohol is present. They should be allowed to consume the alcoholic beverages with their classmates without having to worry about getting in trouble. Eighteen year olds are adults and should be able to make their own decision on whether or not they want to drink. The legal age to drink alcohol should be lowered back down to eighteen, because almost every other country has a lower drinking age, people will drink more responsibly, and there will be less deaths.
The United States should lower the legal drinking age because it is not a problem in other countries that have an even lower drinking age. The United States is among the few countries that have a minimum drinking age of twenty-one, which is the highest MLDA in the world except for in India where it is twenty-five or even thirty is some parts of the country (Minimum) . Alcohol is banned in sixteen countries, which all of them are Muslim countries, but some do have exceptions for non-Muslims (Minimum). Some countries don’t even have a minimum age. Around about 61% of countries in the world have a drinking age of 18 or 19 years old (Minimum). Why does the U.S. have a higher drinking age than most countries?
Before prohibition, many states did not enforce a drinking age. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, which repealed prohibition and many states put their minimum age to twenty-one (Tietjen). During the late 1960s and 1970s, almost all the states lowered the age to eighteen. “In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, a law that required states to raise the drinking age to twenty-one or face a ten percent cut to their federal highway funding. All states agreed to the higher drinking age,” (Tietjen). Now there is much debate on whether it should be lowered again.
Alcohol is a part of culture in many countries. For some countries in Europe, children are eased into the drinking culture. It is way different there than it is in the United States. It is normal for children to sit down with their parents to have a glass of wine with their dinner. They are taught at an young age that alcohol is something to drink casually and in moderation, not to get drunk. American youth should be taught the same thing. Instead in America, young people binge drink. Their goal for drinking alcohol is to get drunk (Rethwisch). For many people, alcohol brings them out of their shell and allows them to have a good time.
Currently, teens in the United States are in a tough situation. Many will be exposed to alcohol in social situations and many will choose to drink. They drink more and engage in more dangerous and unpleasant behavior than if the activity was legal. If underage drinkers are involved in an incident that results in harm to one or more people they may be reluctant to inform someone of the accident and seek help for those who are in need of it for fear of being put in jail for underage drinking. If the legal drinking age is lowered, people won’t be afraid to get help if there is an accident. When drinking is made legal for anyone over eighteen, drinking takes place in public. It can then be supervised by police, security guards and health workers as well. A reduced drinking age would increase the likelihood of young adults calling the police or other authority figures when in need of help, such as when a friend is showing signs of alcohol poisoning or when they need a safe ride home.
Colleges and universities often argue that the age should be lowered to eighteen. Banning alcohol consumption for those that are not older than twenty-one is making the problem worse. Colleges and universities believe that if they were to allow alcohol consumption it could potentially help lower the amount of alcohol related deaths in colleges. If the legal drinking age were eighteen, colleges would better control alcohol use so students don’t get too drunk. Allowing eighteen to twenty-year-olds to drink alcohol in controlled situations with supervision would increase safe drinking activity. Not allowing this age group from drinking in bars, restaurants, and other licensed locations causes them to drink in unsupervised places such as fraternity houses or house parties where they may be more susceptible to binge drinking and other unsafe behavior.
Prohibiting people under twenty-one to buy alcohol encourages binge drinking. Most college students are unable to buy their own alcohol. They might have their friends, family, or even strangers buy it for them. These people are not always available. Not having a reliable source or supply makes young drinkers more likely to drink way too much when alcohol is present. The fact that they don’t know when they will be able to drink again is the reason most college students might get overly drunk when they get the chance. They think being drunk is what they cool kids do and they want to be cool too.
Eighteen is the age of maturity in the United States. An eighteen year old in U.S. has the ability to vote for who they want to run the country and they serve their country in the United States military. If an eighteen year old can vote and decide on who should lead the country, then they should have every right to buy and drink alcohol. An eighteen year old is considered an adult and can be tried in court if he makes false judgement and commits a crime. An eighteen year old is also allowed to legally get married. Eighteen year olds are allowed to buy firearms which can cause more damage to others. When there is talk of gun control, everyone gets there panties in a bunch but there are more restrictions on alcohol.
There will always be alcohol related problems but lowering the legal drinking age would help reduce the number. Parents can teach their children how to drink responsibly. Normalizing alcohol consumption as something done responsibly in moderation will make drinking alcohol less of a taboo for young adults entering college. By lowering the drinking age, adults could openly model responsible drinking in establishments and at parties and irresponsible behavior would be discouraged. If the risks of alcohol were advertised more, it would remind people to drink responsibly.
In the 1960s and 1970s there may have been an increased number of alcohol related car accidents. Wil Fulton from Huffington Post believes that the increased number of accident was due to states not all having the same legal drinking age. He believes that people would drive across the state borders to get drunk and then they would try to drive back home. If the minimum legal drinking age was lowered today, there is a thing called uber where people won’t have to drink and drive, they can just order a ride home. If anything, the age to drive should be raised.
If the legal age to drink alcohol was lowered to eighteen people would drink more responsibly and there would be less deaths. People should be eased into drinking rather than just thrown into it. Eighteen is the age of maturity. Eighteen year olds have the right to vote, get married, buy a gun, join the military, they are even tried as an adult and can go to prison but they aren’t allowed to have a drink. The majority of teens drink anyway even if it is illegal. Police aren’t doing anything to prevent underage drinking because it makes people hide it better. If it were legal, 18-20 year olds would be able to drink in public bars and restaurants. People would drink more responsibly and would be more willing to call the police if something bad happens. They wouldn’t be afraid of going to jail. Binge drinking would be less likely because the alcohol wouldn’t be a forbidden fruit. Lowering the drinking age would help with the drinking problem in the United States.