Why The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered?

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Why do people drink? This interesting question also has interesting answer. People imbibe alcohol for various reasons: anxiety, boredom, celebration, emotional problems, insomnia, peer pressure, rebellion, sadness and lots more. Any reason is a reason for drinking. Teens are people also drink but it is only when they reach the legal age of twenty-one. It is illegal to drink before they reach this age. Consequently, many under-age drinkers are in trouble.

Historical view:

In 1850’s, there was a state prohibition against liquor and in 1920, National Prohibition mandated laws to prohibit drinking. But these laws were finally repealed because they were hard to enforce and caused other social problems. Prohibitions in the past were hardly feasible and the same is true today for it is illegal for young people to drink under 21.

Why youth drink?

1. Young people enjoy facing challenges. – The legal drinking age for youth is 21 years; but it appears that majority of college students under this age consume alcohol. From the psychological point of view, youth is always enticed by the “forbidden fruit,” of not being allowed to drink. Furthermore, it is a “badge of rebellion against authority” and a symbol of their “adulthood.”

2. The motivation for youth drinking is the same as adults.- They want to enjoy, relax & have fun, build up confidence, and celebrate special events. Alcohol can be a panacea for boredom or live-up to the demands of one’s peers. Teenagers with low self-esteem or those who feel distant or are unsociable are more inclined to drink alcohol as a form of comfort

3. The drinking habits of parents, parental attitude and home influence a teenager’s reaction to liquor. – Research conducted for The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) revealed that teenagers who have seen one or both of their parents get drunk are more likely to get follow their footsteps than those who haven’t seen their parents drunk. Parents need to talk to their teenagers about alcohol. Teenagers turn to alcohol when home environment is stressful as divorce, financial difficulties or other family problems.

4. The impact of media influence on youth’s drinking. – Increasing ads on alcoholic beverages makes drinking appealing to all ages. Commercials present a macho-image of drinking men. In fact on the silver screen, there are many scenes showing idolized protagonists drinking inside of bar or at home. This conditions the mind of the young that drinking a part of living your life.

Seven arguments to lower drinking age:

1. In the U.S., an 18-year-old person has the right to vote, and to enlist in the military. If at this age, he/she is ready to choose the leader or choose to die for his country, why not give him/her the right to drink?

2. Curiosity is the reason why those under 21 consider alcohol as a “forbidden fruit.” If drinking is legalized for the 18 and older youth, then alcohol will lose its appeal as an object of curiosity as it is no longer considered a forbidden fruit.

3. Countries where the legal drinking age is lower like China, Greece or Italy, seem to have fewer alcohol related problems. In fact, the present law affecting legal drinking age has resulted to more alcohol-related deaths than before.

4. Legalized drinking for youth after they are over 18 must be allowed in public areas but under the eyes of health workers, police or security guards.

5. When young people are allowed to drink legally after 18, probably there will less alcohol-related problems. In fact, this issue is one of the reasons why there are so many alcohol-related deaths among young people. For once they get their hands on alcohol; they get overly intoxicated as they are never sure if they will have access to this forbidden fruit ever again until they are 21.

6. When it is legal for couples to get married at the age of 18, it is hypocrisy when it is illegal for them to drink in their own wedding? That doesn’t sound right

7. Two prohibition legislations in the past for controlling irresponsible drinking were failures. These laws were repealed for they were inept to be enforced and on the downside, they caused other societal problems. If the law did not work then, it is time for a change.

Concluding statement:

If these arguments would not hold water, then what other reasons can persuade lawmakers to lower drinking age?

Author: Lourdes Cedeno

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