Should the Government Lower Drinking Age in the US?
We think, yes! Read on to know why we strongly believe that the drinking age should be lowered in the US.
Life is short. And the younger we start enjoying our life, the better. This seems to be the reason why there is a demand for the drinking age to be lowered. The lower limit for drinking in the US has been 21 years but now there is an increasing demand for lowering the age further to 18 years. And, why not? When you are considered as an adult in all other ways at 18, why not then for drinking?
The reality is that even though youngsters below 21 years cannot buy or possess alcohol in the United states, these are the group which contribute to 17.% percent of the consumer spending on alcohol. Binge drinking comprises for 90% of the alcohol consumed. Thus this law is violated such a lot that its very existence comes into question.
I believe that banning teenagers from drinking or keeping such restrictions would not prevent them from drinking or reduce their interest in drinking, rather they would be tempted to drink more, and in fact they may try out options to secretly drink and that too in environments which may not be healthy. Allowing drinking under adult supervision and under regulated environments would ensure that they too enjoy the pleasures without getting into trouble with authorities or other people. It would ensure binge drinkings and avoid other activities associated with binge drinking which would otherwise occur when they are in an inebriated state in anonymous and private parties.
This would also prevent any unwanted occurrences in an unsafe and unfamiliar environment. This was cited by Sam Tracy, Chairmen of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in a recent article in The Huff Post where he shared his experiences on trying to ensure that students stuck to the college alcohol policy and he realised that how useless the current policies where.
Students were drinking behind closed doors and then going out for events and activities where public availability of alcohol would be limited. The dangers of this approach was the tendency to binge drink and overdose and not able to get help. This is the attraction of forbidden substances. When you remove the ban, the lure or the attraction goes down.
He also mentions that Opponents to change in the minimum drinking age state claimed that driving related deaths have reduced since the introduction of this act but facts show that reduction in deaths due to driving started occurring since 1970 even before the minimum drinking age act of 1984 was introduced. Not only that there is no evidence to suggest a definitive connection between lower drinking ages and driving fatalities.
Other countries have also shown a reduction in drunk driving related fatalities after lowering the drinking age and it may be time for the US to do the same too. In addition some studies show an inverse relationship between the MLDA and alcohol consumption and alcohol related problemsNo connection has been found between the drinking age and social problems such as suicide, murder and other crimes which may be influenced by excess drinking. Studies have also shown that most of the alcohol related deaths of under 21 year olds, occur off the road. And the loss of lives due to alcohol per se is a greater issue than at what age you start drinking and hence more priority should be given to that.
This opinion is also shared by others including academics. Prof .Ruth Engs of Indiana University also opines that The MLDA is not working and is in the category of the laws which were created in the 1850’s and 1920’s to enforce prohibition. The latter laws which were initiated to wipe out alcoholism ultimately failed as it was infringing on people’s rights and it caused outrage and anger. Just like this law, the MLDA is not effective as indirectly it is instigating the love for breaking laws, being anti authority and enjoying secret pleasures and does it resemble prohibition hence it is totally failing in its efficacy. Prof. Engs also attributes the decrease in drunken driving deaths not to MLDA and related laws as such but to improved education about alcoholism and the dangers of drunk driving, as well as increased usage of car safety practices and more stringent driving rules and limits.
If we lower drinking age to 18, it would also help parents as well as educational authorities better monitor them as these youth would be more approachable as far as education programs on drinking are concerned. They can make informed choices about drinking and drink in safe conditions.
In addition, underage drinking is already allowed in 29 states under specific conditions such as being done on private premises with parental consent, 25 states on religious grounds and 11states for educational reasons. So making it broad based and in general lowering the age of drinking will not be something drastic or radical.
And also 30 states already had their minimum legal drinking age at 21, 19 or 18 between 1970 to 1976 and it was the risk of losing federal funds which forced them to increase the minimal age. So it is not that they had any other objections to underage drinking
Americans are adult already by the age of 18. If they have the right to vote and take part in military service, get married, smoke and can be prosecuted hence they certainly have the right to drink alcohol or beer. By this age, they are already physically and mentally mature and would have received adequate education about the pros and cons of drinking. Hence, it is better to let them take their own decisions on how and how much to drink. The state cant keep parenting teenagers forever.
Plus making a tempting and addictive habit like drinking an socially acceptable affair, will reduce its attractiveness to teenagers, who many times chose to take up these habits for the reason of rebellion. It has already been known that Europe has far lower incidence of alcohol related abuse as compared to the US, because the young are systematically and normally introduced to alcohol at a young age, sometimes even 16 years. In many countries with reduced legal ages for drinking, accidents are also lesser.
So, loosen up, lower drinking age and let the 18 years enjoy their legitimate pleasures of drinking under supervision!