The topic of the drinking age limit in the United States has always been a heated debate. Some want to lower the age limit to 18 years old while some want to keep the age limit at 21 years old. The truth is, most people under the age of 21 are often exposed to and periodically consume alcoholic beverages. Often, this type of drinking can lead to a behavior known as binge drinking- a serious and life threatening condition. I personally have witnessed how binge drinking and the current drinking laws have negatively affected people around me. However, despite the fact that underage drinkers may drink irresponsibly, the legal drinking age could be to blame for the high-risk behavior and the responsibility of drinking appropriately should be up to the individual and not the courts. I personally have witnessed how binge drinking and the current drinking laws have negatively affected people around me. This is why I believe the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 years old in the United States.
Despite having laws that prohibit persons under the age of 21 to consume alcoholic beverages,“underage drinking is allowed in 29 states if done on private premises with parental consent, 25 states if for religious purposes, and 7 states if for educational purposes.” (Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), www.madd.org). Underage drinking is very common at high schools and college dormitories. When I was in high school, drinking was a right of a passage- and the illegality of alcohol made it even more alluring than if it were legal. As a matter of fact, studies show that allowing persons between the age of 18 and 20 to consume alcohol in regulated environments would decrease unsafe drinking activities.
Risk taking is another thrill of underage drinking. Lowering the legal drinking age from 21 years old to 18 years old would reduce the thrill of breaking the law to get a drink. The normalization of alcohol consumption as an activity done responsibly and in moderation will make alcohol consumption less of a taboo for young adults entering college and the workforce. Alcohol will no longer be seen as a “forbidden fruit.” I know that when I was 18, much of the reason why my friends and I engaged in excessive drinking was because we were not supposed to, because it was against the law. Legalizing alcohol for people 18 and over would remove the temptation and urge that comes with the risk taking associated with drinking.
In the United States, citizens as young as 18 years old can legally vote and serve in armed forces. The government and the people agree to and accept the fact that at the age of 18 years old a citizen is mature enough to elect the future leader of their country- responsible enough to carry arms to fight and die for their country, but they are not old enough to decide whether or not they can have an alcoholic beverage. I thoroughly believe that if a person is old enough to make a decision to serve their country with their life, they are responsible enough to make the decision as to whether or not they can have a drink or two.
In my opinion, I think the legal drinking age of 21 years old in the United States should be lowered to 18 years old because it could decrease binge drinking in people under 21, lower the rate of drunk driving accidents, and eliminate the “risk” that lures so many underage drinkers into drinking. From my own personal experiences, lowering the drinking age would have eliminated many problems people in my life have experienced because of alcohol. Legalizing alcoholic consumption for citizens 18 years or older can potentially eradicate a large quantity of problems caused by only allowing citizens over the age of 21 to drink.