US Drinking Age (Change?)

As some of you may know there is a quite large petition going around to try and change the legal drinking age from 21 to 18, I’m curious to hear what everyone thinks about this matter, I myself think it would be bad, allowing 18yr old’s to buy alcohol would make it much easier for anyone in high school to come by it, 21yr old’s are out of school and the worry is gone about it plaguing school grounds.

Just curious on everyone’s opinion on the matter.

To: College Students and all who wish to lower the legal drinking age

The current United States legal drinking age is 21. Many United States citizens disagree with this age. Many believe that the age to legally be able to purchase, consume or possess alcohol should be 18. A United States Citizen is allowed to vote when they are 18 years of age. 18 year old males are forced to join the Selective Service, for possible drafting. This means that 18-year old males can go to war. At age 18, a citizen is also inclined to jury duty. So, an 18-year old is given the responsibilities of voting, being selected for jury duty, and possibly being drafted for war. If an 18-year old citizen is to be given these responsibilities, why is the legal drinking age 21? Does the U.S. Government not trust those of us under 21? They trust us with their votes, yet they cannot treat us like full adults for another 3 years!

There have been many Colleges and Universities that disagree with the legal drinking age. These schools believe that by outlawing alcohol consumption from those students under 21 is only making the problem worse. If the drinking age were changed to 18, Colleges would be able to regulate alcohol use, so students would not become overly intoxicated. This would probably cut down on the number of College campus alcohol-related deaths, since Campus officials would be able to better monitor alcohol use.

Here is an excerpt from an article on Teenage drinking from Time Magazine at Time (.) com, written by JEFFREY KLUGER: Often it is college administrators who have to deal directly with the most reckless imbibing. In studies through the 1990s by the Harvard School of Public Health, the percentage of college students who reported binge drinking within the previous two weeks remained steady at 44\%. (Binging was defined as five drinks in a row for boys and four for girls.) In an age in which campus officials are increasingly seen as proxy parents, this is worrying to them. Legal liability is of particular concern, especially after M.I.T. last year chose to avoid a lawsuit by paying out $6 million to the parents of a freshman who in 1997 drank himself to death at a fraternity initiation.

One approach to reckless imbibing gaining currency among college administrators is unconventional and even counterintuitive. It argues for accepting that college-age kids are going to drink and for encouraging them to do so safely. Some campus officials recommend bowing to reality and lowering the drinking age, as 29 states did in the early ‘70s. By 1988, in response to the national mood against drunk driving and a threat by the Federal Government to cut off highway funding, every state had a minimum drinking age of 21.

Researchers at the University of Michigan who studied the effects of the increase in the drinking age found that states on average reduced drinking among high school seniors 13.3\%. The change also contributed to a 58\% drop in alcohol-related auto deaths among 15- to 20-year-olds since 1982. A small chorus of university leaders believe, however, that the higher drinking age has in some ways made drinking more dangerous.

When drinking is legal, they argue, it takes place in the open, where it can be supervised by police, security guards and even health-care workers. When the drinking age went up, the spigot wasn’t turned off, it was simply moved underground–to homes or cars or frat-house basements–where no adult could keep an eye on things. When kids who are drinking on the sly do venture out, they often “pre-load” first, fueling up on as much alcohol as they can hold before the evening begins so that the buzz lasts as long as possible. As for the reduction in traffic fatalities? Skeptics believe it may have less to do with changing the drinking age than with the new mores about drunk driving and the more aggressive enforcement of DUI laws.

Doubtful about the value of the 21-year-old limit, administrators at Middlebury College in Vermont recently calculated how much federal highway money the state would lose were it to reduce the legal age to 18. Middlebury officials wanted to see if the school could afford to make up the difference. It couldn’t (the figure was about $12.5 million last year), and the proposal died. But the idea didn’t.

“The 21-year drinking age has not reduced drinking on campuses, it has probably increased it,” says Middlebury president John McCardell. “Society expects us to graduate students who have been educated to drink responsibly. But society has severely circumscribed our ability to do that.”

Other college administrators share McCardell’s frustration. “If there were an 18- or 19-year-old drinking age, we could address the issues more favorably,” says Dartmouth College President James Wright. As it is, “we can’t go around sniffing students’ breath or smelling their cups.” Despite their complaints, college heads have been disinclined to make a public case for lowering the drinking age, knowing how controversial that would be. “

There you go, proof that even colleges want to lower the legal drinking age to 18! Reference: PetitionOnline (dot) com

Answer #1

I personally dont think it matters.

teenagers drink anyways.

and nothing can stop them if they want it bad enough. :P

Answer #2

“(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alcoholic beverage was consumed in the visible presence of the minor’s adult parent, guardian, or spouse.”

Spouse? That is pretty funny? So if two minors get married, they can drink all they want when they are together?

Answer #3

Kinda mixed opinions, thanks for the input guys.

Answer #4

I grew up in Colorado when the legal age for 3.2% beer was 18 and hard liquor was 21. I went to S.E. Asia when I was 18 but wasn’t allowed to vote or drink legally until I was 21. Kids who are going to drink irresponsibly are going to do so, with or without a law.

Answer #5

I agree with you on that one. I don’t think that 18 year olds should be joining the army of should be drafted it that ever takes effect.

Answer #6

I think that the drinking age should remain the same. The number of deaths from alcohol related wrecks, poisoning, and stupidty due to alochol is through the roof. Lowering is will only cause more problems.

Answer #7

ethmer: I haven’t looked up the laws in every state but I live in Texas and according to the Alcoholic Beverage code here:

Sec.106.04. CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL BY A MINOR (a) A minor commits an offense if he consumes an alcoholic beverage. (b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alcoholic beverage was consumed in the visible presence of the minor’s adult parent, guardian, or spouse.

So it is legal for a minor to consume alcoholic beverages in the presence of the minor’s adult parent, guaridan, or spouse. I believe this is true pretty much everywhere in the US but if you have information to the contrary I’ll look at (not ambitious enough to read the code from every state).

Answer #8


I’d like to see where you get your info from. I’m pretty sure that in most, if not all, states it is still against the law to give alcohol to a minor whether or not they are related to you.

The only exception to normal liquor laws is that while normally a minor cannot enter an alcohol serving establishment, that law is waved if the minor is with parent or spouse – but the minor still cannot be served liquor, beer or wine.

    I hope you do not take offense,
    To that that's gone before;
    'Tis only that it's my two-cents,
    And not one penny more. §;o)
Answer #9

I kinda agree with mandyloo. over here it is 18 and I have actually lost one or 2 school friends when I was still in school cause of drunk driving etc. also 18 year olds buy them for the younger kids and so everyone just drink cause it seems so cool. Just because you are an adult doesn’t mean that all your decisions are good ones and I believe that increasing the drinking limits some people from making bad decisions.

Answer #10

Agreed with utopia. It’s a cultural issue. I saw cases of alcohol abuse in Europe, but generally speaking teens do not binge drink to the extent their American counterparts do. When I was in Europe, I saw a lot of teens go to clubs and bars to hang out, have a few drinks, and socialize. But for the most part, they were gasp too busy with their studies to flirt and get hammered all the time.

And while I agree that in theory it doesn’t make sense that 18 is the age of selective service, while 21 is the drinking age, let’s face reality. It’s very unlikely that this country will actually start drafting people into the military on a scale like Vietnam War. We’re facing two major wars with dozens of minor conflicts now, and no draft. Ain’t going to happen…so it’s irrelevant to the drinking age debate.

Answer #11

dude it already plagues school grounds…I went to a bash just this past weekend…and the one before that and about 5 weeks all the time we drink and talk about sex…its all anyone in my school knows how to do…lol except drive…I never drink and drive so thats good…and when I drink I alwasy have a safe buddy…

Answer #12

No, One has to be 21.

Answer #13

When I was young the drinking age was 18, then it was raised to 21. My son was, for the most part, raised in Europe and he was able to drink at a younger age. I must point out that I never saw or read about the level of intoxication in minors when in Europe. There was a different attitude there towards drinking in excess. In the States many feel that doing anything in excess is cool. Drinking, eating, unprotected sex, etc. We are a nation with the attitude of more is better and MUCH more is the best. Until the attitude changes regarding drinking, I say keep it at 21. I would even be okay with raising the age to 25. Many teens in this country do not understand cause and effect or responsibility for one’s actions. And most have the maturity of a teen until they are in their mid to late twenties. I do agree that being drafted for military service creates a problem. To die fighting for your country and not to be legally able to drink a beer is wrong. But as we have a voluntary military, I see no conflict.

Answer #14

I think it should stay the same if not raise for CIVILANS…the drinking age on a military base for military persons should have no age. if I can die fighting for my country I think I can have a fvckin drink in my country…when I was younger like 13 and up weed was easier to get than liquor or beer…that is a little crazy. So I smoked weed instead of drinking unless I was at a party. But then again the drunk drivers and all the deaths from alcohol o.d.s to drunkin stabbings and things of that nature…I guess its all how you look at it. Some would say the law is becoming more strict and taking our freedom…but I think we all need a swift kick in the a$$ some times…but America was founded on our alcohol and tabacco…so I dont know…I say raise it and double DUI fines…my dad would b in prison but it would save lives.

Answer #15

So it appears that many states may allow parents, etc. to allow their minor children to consume alcohol. But, I believe, it has to be in their presence and is not allowed in a licensed liquor establishment.

Alaska’s law:

“(b) This section does not prohibit the furnishing or delivery of an alcoholic beverage

(1) by a parent to the parent’s child, by a guardian to the guardian’s ward, or by a person to the legal spouse of that person if the furnishing or delivery occurs off licensed premises;”

    I hope you do not take offense,
    To that that's gone before;
    'Tis only that it's my two-cents,
    And not one penny more. §;o)
Answer #16

Okay, I’m going to put it out there like this for you. Every year I watch several kids die from drinking and driving. Every year our county tries to come down on it harder…so they start drinking further and further away from the city (I live in a city of 70 thousand) where they know the roads less…and then they drive and get in an accident. Maybe if we lowered the drinking age, cracked down harder on drinking and driving and started telling our children that we understand they’re going to drink but to just PLEASE call for a ride if they’re drunk…we wouldn’t bury so many young children. No matter what the drinking is they’re going to drink anyways…so instead of completly condemning it, we can find a way to not necassarily approve but to try and keep our youth alive…my mom asked me when I was a teenager to call her if I was drunk and didnt have a sober driver…and I did…and I was ashamed and I’ve never drove drunk and I don’t take rides from drunk people…so you tell me which way we’re better off

Answer #17

As mentioned well before, the new generation does not understand the concept of responsibility, or true freedom. What many want is anarchy.

Freedom is being able to make decisions for yourself, yes. But it’s also taking responsibility for those actions. And the increasing levels of reckless drinking, drug and tobacco usage, and unprotected sex would indicate they understand this not. The prolonged arguments in court, or the abortions, or the increasing trips to the doctor for cancer treatment further solidifies my opinion.(Just for clarification, I’m not saying getting treated for lung cancer is a bad thing.)

So no, I don’t think teenagers are responsible enough. 21 is even a bit low in many cases.

Answer #18

Over here in the uk its 18 already but I think it should be lowered to 16 seen as though you can amke the biggest commitment f your life when your 16 and have a baby but then you cant drink alcohol!! Its pathetic. Like evrybody else says you can go to war and die but you cant drink its ridiculous.

I think the French treat alcohol the best they gradually bring it in to there childrens life so they dont go on sum wild bender when theyre off age. This is what my mums done to me and I’ve never had anyhting bad happen to me x

Answer #19

There are some who suggest that if we lowered the drinking age to 18 it would elliminate the taboo-ness of the activitiy, and would reduce a lot of the binge drinking going on. I get the concept, but not sure it is a good idea. The drinking age was 18 when I was young, and I did some pretty stupid things back then. Not sure if making it illegal would have stopped me.

Answer #20

Yes, lower the legal drinking age! I think 18-year-olds (who can vote, and can drive) should be treated as adults

The emphasis should be shifted to limiting alcohol intake, and spreading alcohol education, rather than banning it totally (which hardly ever works when it comes to petty things like drinking alcohol)

Answer #21

Just some information: -Alcohol related crashes are the leading cause of death for young Americans, between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. -In 2007, drivers between the ages of 16-20 were involved in 1,719 drunk driving accidents. -The age groups that accounted for the largest percent of alcohol-related traffic deaths were ages 25-34 -Underage drinkers accounted for 14% of drunk driving deaths

I still think it should remain the same or be raised though. Lowering it to me, would just cause more younger people to think they should be able to drink, because they would be closer to the drinking age now.

Answer #22

I think it should be no higher than 19 or 20

Answer #23

it should be changed. when im 18, I can go serve my country, smoke, and be allowed in a strip club. so why cant I drink?

Answer #24

I agree with mandyloo, the death rate is high enough, but I also agree with others too, if 18 is considered an adult, then they should have all the same rights. if they ar enot going to do that, then they should change the age from 18 to 21. regardless what they do iit sstill going to be high death rates and wrecks, b/c regardless what the law is, if they want to drink their going to drink anyways, and they’ll drink as much as they want. their just doing it illegally, but it isn going to change their minds bout it, and the only thing bout changing it is, they can say they are legal to do it. I dont hink its going to change rates b/c like I said, their going to do it regardless what the law says.

Answer #25

honestly theres no point, its no big secret that people drink in high school so why give them reason to do it more?

Answer #26

It is my belief that lowering the drinking age to 18 would eliminate the “forbidden fruit” of drinking. Other countries have a much lower age requirement on drinking and the country with the highest or near the highest legal drinking age has the most problems with drving drunk, and accidents. Their are other argueents for the cause and if you want professional information look up Dr. Ruth Engs.

Sorry for bad grammar and spelling; I’m in a hurry.

Answer #27

One point that is often missed is that if you are 21 or over it is legal for you to provide alcohol to your underage children or spouse.

I think a big part of the problem is that parents do not teach their kids how to drink responsibly. When I visited Scandinavia I was suprised to see that bars were not seedy adult only places. Kids were welcome. If a 12 year old asked for a beer the bartender would draw one but limit it to one. A 16 year old would get two before they were cut off and an 18 year old could have as much as they wanted. I thought this gradual system was far superior to our system of not a drop until you are 21 than all you want.

I can’t justify the 21 year old drinking age even if it does save a few lives. Taking away someone’s liberty to make them a little safer seems to go against everything our nation stands for. Some people would abuse the 18 year old drinking age but does that mean that all 18 year olds should be penalized?

Short of that I think it would be good if kid’s first experiences with alcohol were under the guidance of their parents rather than sneaking around with other reckless kids. America’s puritanical view of alcohol seems to prevent this though.

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