The Case For A Lower Legal Drinking Age

Danielle Docherty, Sports Editor

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While the drinking age in the United States is 21, in over 80 other countries the drinking age is 18. 12 countries allow drinking at the age 16, and 17 countries have no drinking age at all. Fiji, Pakistan, Palau, and Sri Lanka are the only other countries in the entire world that have the age restriction for drinking at 21.

Before you turn 21, you can drive, smoke cigarettes, drop out of school, be tried as an adult, be sentenced to death, get married, start a family, go to war and die for your country – but you cannot sip an ounce of alcohol.

“I think it is so unreasonable for so many things to become legal at the age of 18 and under while you still can’t consume alcohol. There are people who have gone to war, gotten married and started a family but they cannot sit down and have a glass of wine at dinner. I am not encouraging drinking at all but I think the fact you can do so many things but not choose to pick up beer at 7/11 is ridiculous,” library assistant Danielle Sullivan said.

The age in many countries is 18 and the fact that we as a nation continue to use prohibition to curtain underage drinking is a conundrum, as it is clearly not working.

According to the Journal of American College Health, “Neither the minimum drinking age nor the myriad programs that have been implemented across university campuses, have ceased underage drinking of college campuses.

“It is true that we can do a lot at the age of 18 and even 17 but drinking alcohol at an early age damages the brain. Scientists have proven teenager’s frontal lobe isn’t fully developed before then which could lead to other problems. If young adults could drink in moderation that may be different but they don’t. Moderation is the key in all aspects,” librarian Zandra Lopez said.

There is the argument that alcohol damages young brains but there is actually no evidence that drinking in moderation damages the developing brain. If it did many other countries would be suffering from many mental defects but they are not.

“I think drinking becomes a bigger deal when you are told you cannot drink. People abuse alcohol when they are told they are not allowed because some see it as a way to rebel. European countries allow drinking at age of 18 and younger but you see fewer young people excessively drinking there. In general, when you say you can’t young adults are more likely to do it and rebel. We make a big deal about drinking in the United States yet you can go off to the military at age 18 and essentially die for your country,” physics teacher Andrew Perrone said.

The drinking age should be lowered to 18 in the United States because as a nation, we have allowed so many other privileges and given power to so many other laws that it seems insane to not allow drinking at that age. We have granted our young people the ability to make life changing decisions but haven’t granted them the choice to pick up a glass of wine with a meal or drink a can of beer while watching a game. It is time to rethink our approach on the law and grant 18-year olds the choice to drink.

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