Bella Mezzaroba's 2fer Revision

Even though an 18 year old is considered an adult,the national legal drinking age in the United States is 21,  Even with this age restriction in place, so many get caught under the influence at younger ages. Keeping in mind that the United States is the only developed country with a legal drinking age of 21, the rest being around 18, the U.S. is behind in the times. The United States should lower their drinking age to 18 and the U.S. needs to catch up with the rest of the world’s developed countries.

The United States is inarguably conservative with their Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA). Only 4% of the world’s countries set their legal age at 21 and, out of this 4%, the U.S. is the only fully developed country. 71% of countries have a legal drinking age of between 16-19, averaged at about 18. They’re MLDA, which was established in 1984, is outdated even though it was established long after countries like the U.K. established their drinking age. The United Kingdom passed the Intoxicating Liquor act in 1923, which restricted liquor sales to individuals over 18. This MLDA has worked well for them for 91 years so what’s to say it wouldn’t work for the United States.

The CDC states that 126,438 accidental deaths occurred in the U.S. during 2010 and of that about 88,000 were attributed to alcohol, coming out to about 69%. In the United Kingdom, 17,201 accidental deaths were recorded in 2010 with 8,367 of these deaths being from alcohol, a total of 48%. A country with a lower MLDA also has a lower alcohol related death rate. A lower drinking age does have an impact on the statistical, alcohol related deaths but it’s a positive one. People tend to want to do what they can’t so when an American 18 year old is offered beer at a party, they’ll drink as much as they can since this isn’t an opportunity that arises daily. If a British 18 year old was offered a beer, they’d most likely accept, but it wouldn’t be such a huge deal since they can go to the store and pick up a six pack whenever they please. If teens were educated properly and given the responsibility of drinking, then the U.S.’s alcohol related deaths would decrease.

Drinking is a matter of responsibility. One needs to be considered mature enough to handle the intoxication with class and not harm anyone in the process. However, it’s questionable about what age that maturity begins. The age to join the military has been set at 18 since 1942. There are soldiers who are considered mature enough for an AK-47 but not a beer. The logic in that is incredibly skewed. The United States trust these men and women with the lives of their comrades and civilians but can’t trust them with their own lives. If a citizen is old enough to enlist than they should be old enough to consume alcohol. Not only can a 21 year old enlist, they can apply for a credit card, serve on a jury, sign a binding contract, marry without parental consent, vote, and be charged as an adult in a court of law. A 18 year old is no longer a minor and is considered a full fledged adult in all aspects except one. Clearly, 18 year olds are considered mature enough for mostly everything so drawing the line at alcohol consumption is arbitrary.

Alcohol can be dangerous if not used responsibly, that much is clear. About 88,000 deaths are caused annually by alcohol. Only 5,000 of these were caused by underage drinking. According to Choose Responsibility, an organization in favor of lowering the MLDA,  the number of underage deaths has been going down since 1970, 14 years before the MLDA act was passed. Therefore, no correlation can be drawn between the two and the act is not responsible for decline in alcohol fatalities amongst underage people. Choose Responsibility says,"... twice as many 21-year-olds died in alcohol-related auto accidents as 18 year-olds. Such a staggering statistic speaks volumes: a policy that claims to be saving thousands each year may simply be re-distributing deaths over the life cycle to the point at which it becomes legal to drink alcohol..." If the MLDA in it’s current state is simply postponing drunk driving accidents until drinking becomes legal, then it seems the problem isn’t young people drinking, it’s how the youth is being educated on the dangers of alcohol. If educated properly, an 18 year old would be much more responsible than an uninformed 21 year old.

Although the legal drinking age may only seem important  to those between the ages of 18 and 21, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about cultivating a community of young people who act responsibly. When those who previously were not trusted with the privilege of drinking are entrusted with alcohol consumption, accidental deaths will decrease. Drunk driving accidents and things of that sort affect us all, as should the legal drinking age.Not only is a lower MLDA in direct correlation with lessening alcohol related deaths, it’s logical to trust those we deem adults with something like alcohol. The United States should lower their legal drinking age to 18 as it is medically,politically, and most importantly, rationally sound.

Comments (6)

Jesse Shuter (Student 2016)
Jesse Shuter

The paper expanded my thinking because I did not know all of the things that you could do when you are eighteen. I thought that there were more rights that you had to wait for after you turn eighteen than there actually are, so it makes more sense than I thought to lower the legal drinking age. One counter-arguments to this that could made is that when you said that the amount of deaths is larger in the United States than the United Kingdom because you do not account for the different sizes of the countries. The United States has a population of over five times more people than that of the United Kingdom, so obviously the number of deaths would be higher.

Ameer Forte (Student 2016)
Ameer Forte

Your thesis is very debatable and that is a good thing, I think in my own opinion that you are right about the fact that it makes no sense an 18 year old can be trusted with weapons of that nature and not with beer, but I disagree that there would be less accidents because most teenagers are the very ones who drink irresponsibly when they do drink, illegally. And for that reason I think it should not be changed.

Amelia Stuart (Student 2016)
Amelia Stuart

You make some really good points, the one that stood out the most to me was "the age to join the military has been set at 18 since 1942. There are soldiers who are considered mature enough for an AK-47 but not a beer." I definitely think that some people see eighteen year olds as immature, and therefore untrustworthy. However your counter arguments make perfect sense, at eighteen you are considered an adult, you can do almost anything with only your consent except drink. You have good statistics that support your thesis, I think that you could have had more points on the dangers of lowering the legal drinking age, and responding to those.

Malwina Dymek (Student 2016)
Malwina Dymek

I like how your thesis can have a lot of opinions based on the people. Also when you are saying that it would be better for teens to be given that responsibility of drinking I think it is right because they would know they are responsible of the consequences if they do something. I also agree that there would be less accidents. Something you could expand on or talk about is maybe how also teens are caught by police because they are underage and maybe if they could drink when they are 18 could improve it? On the other side I feel like if they could drink at 18 I think they would not be as responsible as we might think, but that also depends on the person. Just a little thought. :)

Wilson Biggs (Student 2016)
Wilson Biggs

I like how you compared the US to the world. It puts things in perspective. In addition, you used hard facts and statistics, rather than just plain opinion. It makes your case very persuasive.

Myrna Yousuf (Student 2016)
Myrna Yousuf

I understand that you are trying to say that if the legal drinking age is lowered there would be less of an issue people drinking underage and there would be less deaths. You made an argument that someone who is 18 can be trusted with a AK-47 but not with a beer. A counter idea to that could be that they are trained and prepared to use an AK-47 for combat and they are watched over. However, teens are only told that drinking is bad but they aren't watched over and most of the time don't drink responsibly.