Lower legal drinking age, could encourage responsible consumption of alcohol

by: SKYLER McCLESKY/Staff Writer 

When I was younger, I sat at the kitchen table and watched my mom cook every night.

Being maybe 4 years old at the time, I always wanted to help. One night she was going to let me stir the dish she was making. Once everything was done and all was in the pan, we put the meal in the oven. She set the timer, and we were headed to the living room for the next 30 minutes.

As I leaned in to look at the meal in the oven, mom says, “Don’t touch it, it is hot.”  That is all it took. Her saying those six words, and all I wanted to do was touch it. Knowing I was not supposed to, I waited until she was out of eye sight and put my hand right on the hottest part of the oven. Why? I knew it was hot, and my mother had just told me. When you tell almost anyone that he or she cannot do something, it is human nature to not only do what is asked of you not to do, but to do it in secret.

Now fast-forward 14 years, and it’s the same situation with alcohol. Only now it’s not mom telling you no, it’s the law. The other difference is the law does not make sense.

In all 50 states, the legal drinking age is set at 21. However, I believe it is hypocritical that those who are 18 are able to choose who will be president, or defend our great nation,  but cannot choose whether to have beer or wine with dinner.

The age of adulthood across the nation is 18, and as adults, people should have the right to make their own decisions about alcohol consumption. When an individual turns 18, he or she has the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. These include voting, smoking cigarettes, serving on juries, getting married, signing contracts, and joining the military. Most of these include risking a life. If an 18 year old can decide who is to be the potential leader of the country and take a bullet for his or her county, he or she should have every right to buy and drink alcohol.

By lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, it would take away the thrill of breaking the law. Normalizing alcohol consumption as something done responsibly in moderation will make drinking less exciting for young adults. Allowing people 18 and older to drink in an environment with supervision would decrease unsafe drinking activity. Not allowing 18-to-20 year olds to drink in bars, restaurants, and other licensed locations causes them to drink in unsupervised places. This makes them more prone to binge drinking and putting themselves in other unsafe situations. When drinking is done in a public place, there can be supervision by police, security guards, and even professors at college mixers.

With everyone worrying about the economy and how bad it is doing, you think lowering the drinking age would be on the table as on option to help it. By lowering the age, more people would be legally able to buy alcohol and drink in bars and restaurants. Revenue would increase for business owners, and greater amounts of tax revenue would be collected by the government.

I will say this, whether the legal drinking age is 21 or 18, there are going to be problems related to alcohol. Making 21 the legal age does not solve those problems. This is why we see many alcohol-related deaths among teens. They get their hands on it and get excessively intoxicated because they are unsure if and when they will ever be able to get their hands on it again until they are 21.

Some colleges and universities argue that the legal drinking age should be 18, because outlawing consumption in college for those under 21 is making the problem worse. Allowing consumption legally for those 18 and older might help cut down the alcohol-related deaths involving college students.

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