Should the drinking age be lowered?

Pro Stance

By Reese Leiker

I believe that lowering the drinking age would be a step in the right direction for the United States. Here in America, we are obviously have a problem with underage alcohol consumption, but could the problem be solved by simply dropping the legal drinking age from 21 to 18? According to drinkingage.procon.org, more than 70% of people under the age of 21 have had “more than just a few sips of alcohol.” This statistic alone proves that the law prohibiting the possession and consumption of alcohol is ineffective.

In America, the age of adulthood is 18 years old. Being 18 allows a person to vote, smoke, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults and join the military. At 18 years of age a person in the United States is allowed to put his life on the line for his country, but not legally drink a beer in the barracks.

Lowering the age would eliminate the user from drinking in unsupervised environments because they would be allowed to drink in licensed locations, such as bars and restaurants, where the drinker is being monitored, instead of behind closed doors.

Fatalities due to auto accidents would decrease. In European countries with a lower drinking age, the auto fatality rate is far lower than that of the United States, according to drinkingage.procon.org.

The economy would benefit heavily from the lowering of the drinking age because there would be far more legal drinkers in the United States who would purchase from licensed distributors such as bars and restaurants.

Although the idea may seem intimidating and dangerous to undertake, the people need to face the facts and stop denying adults the right to consume alcohol.

With the drinking age at 18, high schoolers would have legal access to alcohol

With the drinking age at 18, high school students would have legal access to alcohol.

Con Stance

By Thomas Wall

Lowering the legal drinking age in the United States could cause more alcohol related accidents and promote more underage individuals to drink.

Having the legal drinking age at 18 would allow some high school senior to legally acquire alcohol, and this would give younger high school students easier access to it.  Having direct access to alcohol within a high school age group creates easy distribution channels to minors.

The easier access minors have to alcohol would magnify the problems already associated with underage drinking, including car accidents, alcohol poisoning, binge drinking and negative effects on education.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, over 190,000 people under the age of 21 visited a hospital for alcohol-related injuries in 2008.  Alcohol causes teens to make less logical decisions, and according to the NIAAA, over 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year in alcohol-related incidents.

According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, binge drinkers are more likely to miss a class and fall behind in school.  A study at Bucknell University found that frequent consumption of alcohol has a negative effect on GPA.  In the same study, frequent drunkenness produces the most significant negative effects.

The results of using alcohol as found in these studies could be translated to high-school-aged kids.  High schoolers who drink more decrease their chances of getting into college.

Introducing alcohol to a younger age group greatly impacts the rest of their lives.  The negative effects become magnified when it starts to impact more than just one area of a person’s future.

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