Want to Lower the Drinking Age? Put a cork in it

Underage drinking has been a growing problem for quite some time. One of the biggest questions is whether or not the legal drinking age should be lowered. Of course the average teen is going to want the age lowered, without really thinking about potential dangers it could cause in our lives. Personally, I think the drinking age should not be lowered. It’s too big of a responsibility for us too handle.

I believe we lack the ability to drink responsibly. In an article written by John M McCardell Jr., he states, “The principal problem of 2009 is not drunken driving. The principal problem of 2009 is clandestine binge drinking.” In that same article, McCardell writes, “”Alcohol consumption among young adults is not taking place in public places or public view or in the presence of other adults who might help model responsible behavior.” Some argue that a lower drinking age will curbs teen binge drinking but in a recent survey, only 14 percent of Americans agree and 47 percent believe it’ll actually make the problem worse (Moyse and Fonder). We’re doing it secretly, we know it’s wrong, we drink excessively, we don’t know when to stop.

For those reasons, I understand that some of us are thinking that we shouldn’t want the drinking age to stay the same, we’d be able to party and get drunk legally at 18. The government gives us the right to join the military, to vote, even to smoke at the age of 18. Why shouldn’t we be able to purchase and consume alcohol legally at 18? Because of that lack of responsibility, alcohol abuse comes with irresponsible decisions that could result in fatal outcomes almost immediately. Smoking can come with fatal results but over time, the teens have time to grow up and mature and make the decision to continue smoking or not. Voting has no potential danger in the end, it’s just another right given to teens. The military is a different situation completely, in the military, we’re given complete training and I feel that if we’re given the right to drink at age 18, we’d abuse it.

In the 1970’s, states lowered their drinking ages but failed to do anything else to prepare the young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol(McCardell). Because of that, there was an increase in alcohol-related traffic fatalities(McCardell). In the same article as above , McCardell states, “We should prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol in the same way we prepare them to operate a motor vehicle: by first educating and the licensing, and permitting them to exercise the full privileges of adulthood so long as they demonstrate their ability to observe the law.” Although I believe the drinking age should not be lowered, if it actually was, licensing the younger drinkers would be a better idea than just giving us free reins without really preparing us for what could possibly happen and what we should expect.

If the legal drinking age is lowered to 18, virtually all high school students would have access to it. Most high school seniors are 18 years old, and just because they bought it doesn’t mean they’re the only ones planning on drinking it. They could buy it legally, then go to a party with underage students and distribute it there, to them, illegally. Which is a lot easier accessible to high school students then it is now. 21 year olds are a bit more removed from high school. Hopefully, by the age of 21 you’ll be out of high school and moving on with your life. You no longer have daily contact with high school students. That way it keeps alcohol out of high school students’ grasp.

The 21 drinking age should stay, young adults aren’t responsible enough to handle the age being lowered. High school students would have more, easier access to it. Us as young adults would abuse the right of being able to drink at a younger age.