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Should the Drinking Age be Repealed in the United States?: Some Thoughts

Updated on April 24, 2014
Underage Consumption Map (2007)
Underage Consumption Map (2007) | Source

Blacksheep feminist Camille Paglia ignited a firestorm when her article, “The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime,” appeared on Time.com on April 23, 2014.

In her missive, she argues that, set against legal adulthood that typically begins at age 18, the legal drinking age at 21 “is a gross violation of civil liberties,” and asserts that the current drinking laws (in regards to the legal age) were a result of congress being heavily lobbied by a well-intentioned but misguided MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) seeking to stem the overwhelming tide of teen drunk driving deaths.

In this regard, Ms. Paglia has a point: it doesn’t quite make sense that one can legally be considered an adult in the United States at age 18, with the exception of this one thing.

Prohibition crusader, Carrie Nation, Ann Arbor, MI, May 1902
Prohibition crusader, Carrie Nation, Ann Arbor, MI, May 1902 | Source

Prohibition In Any Form Has Unintended Effects

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Prohibition (1920-1933) and the War on Drugs (ongoing) it’s that prohibiting anything usually results in unintended consequences. For its part, prohibition resulted in a number of unsavory ramifications: a mob-related black market for alcohol, smuggling operations to bring alcohol into the United States from other countries, and a rising popularity for medicines containing alcohol. (1)

The War on Drugs (WoD) appears not to have had its intended effect, either. According to a May 2010 AP article (2) the WoD has “failed to meet any of its goals.” In fact, former U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske is quoted as saying, “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful. Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.” The article also indicates that reported, illegal drug use by high schoolers has, in fact, gradually increased “since the early 1970s.”

Even looking at anecdotal evidence, it’s fair to say that prohibition in any form doesn’t work, but does that mean the United States doesn’t need to set rules regarding the consumption of alcohol? Of course not, but setting something, in this case alcohol, out of reach, giving it a taboo status, will only increase the desire for it. When asked, most parents will relate that telling a child they can’t have something will generally result in a greater intent to have it, regardless of what it is. Remove the taboo status, the mystery, if you will, and the need to surpass the established boundaries will typically lessen.

Source

European Countries vs. The United States Regarding Drinking

Another argument Ms. Paglia makes involves the comparison between how alcohol is viewed in European countries like “wine-drinking” France and Germany, “with its family-oriented beer gardens and festivals,” and the United States, commenting that, “Learning how to drink responsibly is a basic lesson is growing up.”

Of course, children need to be taught responsibility, regardless of whether it involves drinking alcohol. That’s not in question, although one could argue about whether parents, in general, do a good job doing so. What is in question are the statistics regarding alcohol consumption in the United States and European countries.

Based on a May 2001 study conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning the alcohol habits between youths in European countries and the United States, (3) the DOJ made three very important determinations:

1. The percentage of adolescents who consumed alcohol over a 30-day period was greater in European countries than in the United States.

2. The number of drinks imbibed by European youths at one sitting was higher than their American counterparts.

3. Rates of intoxication were greater in nearly half of the European countries with reported data than they were in the United States.

Flawed Conclusions

At first glance, this information appears to discredit the argument made by Ms. Paglia; that even teaching children to drink responsibly has no effect. But if the intended purpose for raising the legal drinking age in the United States to 21 in 1984 (4) was to, in part, curtail the rising number of youth, alcohol-related traffic fatalities, the conclusions are flawed.

The rate of alcohol consumption might be higher in European countries, but to use solely that as a basis for an argument about a higher legal drinking age in order to lower the number of DUI/DWI-related accidents among youths is misleading and short-sighted. One might compare the number of adolescent-related, drunk-driving accidents across countries, but even that is akin to comparing apples and oranges, based on one simple factor that gets always seems to get overlooked: the availability of public transportation and a higher legal driving age.

Furthermore, instead of comparing the United States to European countries where they have a very different lifestyle in many ways (the aforementioned public transportation and higher legal driving age but two of many), it might make more sense to look only at the statistical data from within the United States, and compare the pre-1984 numbers with the numbers spanning the 30 years since, to help determine if raising the drinking age has had a good or ill effect, or any kind of effect at all.

So, What Can We Do?

The ultimate point is that the debate about the legal drinking age in the United States is multi-faceted and complicated. Pros and cons can be argued for either side of the divide, and given the contentious nature of the argument in general, it’s doubtful a consensus will ever be reached as to the optimal drinking age or the most effective way to limit underage drinking.

So, what can we do on a personal level to help our children make wise choices when it comes to alcohol (or drugs, for that matter)? Here are some things to consider:


1. Talk to your kids. A healthy relationship between parent and child will give them a safe space to ask questions and discuss sensitive topics.

2. Take the mystique out of alcohol and drug use. This doesn’t mean giving them access to them, just removing the perceived obstacles that might make them more appealing.

3. Be honest and frank when discussing these issues with children, but forget the “instill fear” approach. A 2013 study released by the International Journal of Public Health (5) indicates that scare tactics aren’t as affective as once thought.

4. Be available when children screw up. It’s inevitable – children will make mistakes as they grow and work to expand their boundaries. Hold them accountable for their actions, but recognize mistakes are part of the learning process.

What Do You Think?

Is the drinking age set too high in the United States? Is it too low? Do you have suggestions to help curb underage drinking? Leave a comment, and let’s toss around ideas.

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    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 3 years ago from Corona, California.

      The drinking age should should be set to the allowable driving age. When you are to old to drive then you should be allowed to drink. Greg

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Hi, gregas! Thanks for chiming in. I'm not sure if I understand what you're saying. The drinking age should be 16? Would you clarify?

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 3 years ago from Corona, California.

      No, nobody should be allowed to drink until they are to OLD to drive. I would say age 85 or 90. Actually, it doesn't matter what the drinking age is, the kids that are going to drink are just as stupid when they are in college as when they are in high school. If they are going to drink they will do it no matter what age limit is set. I was just giving a sarcastic answer the first time. It would be better if no one would drink because almost everyone that drinks will drive after drinking at some point, Just my opinion, Greg

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I think in some ways we sell kids short - in that they're not treated as if they're capable of making wise decisions - they won't always, of course, that's part of growing up, but setting the drinking age higher, in my opinion, would continue to perpetuate the problem of taboo, and re-create the problems seen during Prohibition. I think the biggest problem with alcohol usage is how it's approached. If we treated it in a rational manner, in that re-enforcing that drinking comes with responsibility, I think it would help. And I don't mean the government or companies (although both should play a part) but rather parents. I grew up overseas and it took me once of getting drunk at 14 (underage, admittedly) to realize it wasn't something I wanted to do for any number of reasons. Removing the glamor of it would probably help, as well. It's a multifaceted problem, absolutely, but I don't think the current approach has done much to curb the problem for kids or adults.

      I appreciate your opinion - I love hearing what others think. k

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 3 years ago from Corona, California.

      You are right about selling kids short. There are plenty of adults that make the same stupid mistakes about drinking. The thing is, it doesn't seem to affect people as much when something happens to an adult because if drinking as it does when a child is hurt or killed because of drinking. Greg

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Agreed that there are plenty of adults who make the same stupid mistakes. I think it's easier to write an adult off as being responsible for their actions rather than kids, which might explain why the emotional effect is so different. KJ

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 3 years ago from Corona, California.

      That could be the same reason adults feel they are responsible for having an age limit, even though that really doesn't work. Greg

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Maybe classes in how to use common sense might be in order?

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 3 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Being 18 doesn't make you an adult. Drinking responsibly doesn't equate to being a certain age. They don't have classes in common sense. That is learned through experience. I'm thinking you have a lot to learn.

      The Frog Prince

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you for your comments, The Frog Prince. As far as being 18 goes, it most certain does make you an adult... legally. You are legally able to participate in society as an adult and are fully legally responsible for your actions, regardless of what those actions have to do with. Is there still much to learn at 18? Of course there is, and you won't find me saying otherwise. Hopefully, we continue to learn and grow wiser as we grow older. As for having a lot to learn, of course I do... just like everyone else. However, just for the record, I passed 18 very many years ago. It's probably wiser not to make assumptions.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Drinking is bad enough in the US we don't need to lower the age and certainly not because other counties have a lower age for drinking. Kids will drink anyway but at least it will be harder for them to get the drinks. We have seen drinking almost destroy members of our family.

      Early Saturday morning we were heading out of town and my husband noticed a car in front of us all over the road. We got closer to her so we could get her license and just as we did her car went up on the median and hit the stop light she was trying to back the car up and get away but the cops were right behind her, someone else must have called them. Her drinking could have killed someone. In my opinion laws are not tough enough on drinking.

      We have those parents that think they know best for everyone and let children drink at their home. This happened to us when our child was young and when I found out what was going on in this home I called the police. No one had the right to give my child alcohol. Sad but true, later their child died from a drinking accident at one of their parties.

      My opinion the drinking age is not set to high.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 3 years ago from Uruguay

      I find it totally absurd that a person would be old enough to kill or be killed in a war,make the most important decision a person can do,to take another human being's life or be killed, and yet not be able to decide if he may want to have a glass of wine with dinner,or enjoy a cold beer on a hot summer day.

    • Justinnas profile image

      Justinas 3 years ago from Earth

      I live in europe the drinking age is 18 but i feel that this age is to low. Because the people who reached that age are still not mature enough to handle the alcohol. Most of the time when alcohol is involved teenagers ends up blacking out. I haven't been at the party with alcohol where teens didn't get to too toxicated. How do i know that? because im 18 myself.

    • Learn Things Web profile image

      Learn Things Web 3 years ago from California

      Justinnas,

      A higher drinking age doesn't stop teen drinking. It just stops them from doing it legally. Teens are already drinking heavily. But yes, the drinking age should be lowered to 18 and drunk driving laws should be properly enforced. That's the only way to significantly reduce drunk driving deaths and injuries.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Moonlake - thank you for chiming in. I agree that simply because other countries have a lower drinking age doesn't mean the US needs to lower the drinking age. I think it's a crap comparison, in general, because there are many other things that should be taken into consideration and don't seem to be. But I'm not sure it's right that one is legally an adult in all other aspects except this one.

      I'm not convinced, though, that keeping the drinking age at 21 makes it any harder for underage kids to get hold of alcohol. And even if it does, there are other, more lethal drugs they can turn to, some illegal, some not.

      I, too, have seen the effects abuse of alcohol on a number of people I care about, and it's not pretty. A big part of the problem, in my opinion, is how we approach alcohol use/abuse in general, and instead of emphasizing it being part of life that should be done responsibly and removing the stigma attached to it, we tend to resort to scare tactics, which don't work. (They also don't work for things like smoking, but that's another hub entirely.)

      It is scary to encounter drunk drivers, and I don't minimize how deadly that can be - I'm thankful your family members weren't hurt by some else's stupidity.

      I am in full agreement about parents making decisions for other people's children in this regard. It's one thing to make it for their own children, but they certainly don't have the right to make it for anyone else's. As such, they should be held accountable for it.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      mio cid - I am in full agreement with you. It just doesn't make sense for an 18 year old to be considered a legal adult in all aspects except this one.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      The age of adolescence has risen over the years. In the old days we didn't have teenagers; we had children and adults. People didn't live as long and you had to grow up faster. Now days people are considered kids until they are 30.

      Having said all of that, I think the drinking age and enlistment age should coincide. If you are old enough to fight and die for your country you should be old enough to have an alcoholic beverage.

      Writers never give a short answer.

      Instead of allowing younger people to drink I think we should raise the age for driving as well as military enlistment. As your statistics show above, European youth drink more than Americans do and I think that is greatly in relation to the younger drinking age.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Justinnas - certainly there is some maturity lacking in an 18 year old - Hell, I know plenty of adults who lack it, too. I think when it comes to underage drinkers, there are many things involved in choosing to drink to excess--peer pressure, the rebellion that invariably accompanies growing into adulthood, the sense of invincibility, the idea that it's the cool thing to do, etc. I think refining society's approach to alcohol use needs to be revisited. It's not a black and white issue, nor is it one easily solved.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Learn Things Web - the enforcement of laws - all laws, not just those related to alcohol - is spot on. I always laugh when the US Government makes more laws when they don't bother to enforce the ones already on the books. It's absurd.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Pamela N Red - great point about adolescence - had I known I could be considered a kid until I turned 30, I would have taken full advantage of it. :-)

      In all seriousness, you're absolutely right (in my opinion) that the drinking age and the enlistment age should coincide. But if we're going to raise both of those, we should also raise the age of legal adulthood. It just doesn't make sense for someone to be a legal adult in some ways but not in others. On the flip side, I'm not sure raising them is the answer.

      I'm torn on raising the legal driving age - on the one hand, it makes sense, but on the other, it doesn't - with the exception of the bigger cities in the US, there is no reasonable accommodation for public transportation, which makes life problematic - and again plays into the "either someone is an adult or not" issue. How would someone get to work, for instance? Maybe catch a ride with a family member or something, but what about those who have no family or others who can assist them? Are we to have special dispensations for them? I think that would make things far more complicated than they already are and certainly more than they are now.

      I also maintain that comparing the US to Europe when it comes to drinking doesn't make sense for any number of reasons because the same parameters of data aren't consistent - the legal drinking age but one.

      It's a complicated issue.

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 3 years ago from Corona, California.

      I agree with Pamela, raise the age for other requirements instead of lowering the drinking age. Greg

    • Shawn McIntyre profile image

      Shawn McIntyre 3 years ago from Orlando, FL.

      "In a free society you don't need a reason to make something legal, you need a damn good reason to make it illegal". ~ Aaron Sorkin

      The drinking age does little more than allow society to feel, in some way, morally superior to countries with no, or a much younger, drinking age. Speaking as a former teenage boy myself, if a kid is inclined to drink, they're going to drink, laws be damned.

      Parenting should take the place of laws, as good parenting is usually a much more effective antidote for irresponsibility than the State Law.

      Voted up, and congrats on Hub of the Day!

    • profile image

      LisaKeating 3 years ago

      Congrats on HOTD. As a retired high school teacher, I feel like I understand teenagers as much as it is possible to understand teenagers. I agree that lower the legal drinking age to 18 makes sense on a lot of levels. Like anything else, they need guidance from parents and teachers to help them make wise decisions. It's funny that this debate is even taking place now since the new issue is the legalization of marijuana.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Hi gregas! Good to see you back and chiming in!

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Shawn McIntyre - I hadn't thought about it in that way, but now that you mention it, the morally superior aspect is probably a lingering holdover from the Puritan days. As more and more of our freedoms get eroded, the less parenting seems to go on. Or it's curtailed in a lot of ways. That's an entirely different debate, though, and since I don't have kids... I'm now the grumpy woman yelling about not walking on my lawn. :-) I am, however, a proponent of good parenting, and I think we're reaping the effects of what's been sown since, probably, the sixties.

      Thanks for the congrats and the vote up!

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
      Author

      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Hi Lisa Keating! Thanks for the congrats! And I'm in awe of anyone who's stayed in teaching long enough to retire from it. No joke, I lasted 3 months teaching high school English. More than enough for me. So, kudos to you on that one!

      I agree that teaching teenagers to make wise decisions is probably the best course to follow. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced some parents have the ability to make wise decisions themselves, much less pass that knowledge onto their kids. As with anything else, that's another debate.

      Oddly enough, I'm not against the legalization of marijuana, at least in theory, and certainly not for medicinal purposes. But the debate over alcohol age limits does seem antiquated in comparison, doesn't it?

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Well written hub and very interesting points. In my experience, prohibition is more likely to lend to unregulated use and rebellion with anything-- including alcohol. I grew up in a family where my grandfather grew up in rural Italy in the 1800s- he made wine. Kids sipped wine at the dinner table. None of us were alcoholics, there was no taboo so no need for rebellion. Plus all adults drank responsibly on that side of the family, so we learned from them. Big congrats on HOTD, you've totally earned it with this great hub.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      First of all, congratulations on HOTD! This is indeed a well-done and thought-provoking hub!

      I would say that I agree with Ms. Paglia, in that the balance is off, and prohibition has well-documented and undesirable side effects. Also I agree that the DoJ is comparing apples and oranges, and failing to take into account many other relevant factors. That, in fact, is their specialty, and one of the tools they use to keep the fear and paranoia working, so their pet buddies and campaign contributors will be happy. (Don't kid yourself...that's how this whole country works, and will continue to work until the citizens decide they have had enough, and rise up to call a halt.)

      In the first place, this country and its businesses has created a horrible mish-mash of definitions of "adulthood," resulting in mass confusion for our youngsters and frustration for their parents.

      In my opinion, the bottom line is this: If, at age 18, you are old enough to enlist in the military, then possibly get sent to a war zone and maybe DIE "for your country," then you surely ought to be old enough to have a damned drink!

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      WiccanSage - Thank you! I'm with you all the way on prohibition - it didn't work in the 20's and it certainly won't work now. A bit of perspective has been lost, I think, about how to approach what are now taboo, how they used to be integrated as a daily part of life, alcohol being but one. I didn't grow up with alcohol on the table every night, but I was always taught to use it responsibly - it took me one time at a rather tender age to learn that going against that wasn't a good idea. Kudos to your grandfather and family - I'll bet you have some fascinating family stories to tell.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      DzyMsLizzy - all these kudos make me feel like the belle of the ball on an otherwise frustrating day, so thank you, too! Oddly enough, Ms. Paglia is one of the few feminists I end up agreeing with more often than not. I'll not go off on a tear about the current state of our government and their ill-advised policies because I'd never shut up, but fear has certainly been an effective tool, which is probably why they continue to use it. The mish-mash you refer to pretty well sums up things as a whole, and this "government knows best" attitude would best be thrown out the window. I'm with you that if one is legally an adult, then one should have access to *everything* that comes with it. My only question is how to accomplish it without creating even more havoc.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I read that article in Time magazine, too. I'm a mother of an 18 yr. old son, and as far as I know he doesn't drink alcohol yet. I would like for him to stay away from it because I've seen the damage firsthand what drinking does to people. But I am realistic at the same time. The day may come when he wants to drink right along with his buddies.

      I have mixed feelings about this subject.

      Congrats on HOTD. Voted up etc.etc.

    • profile image

      DB 3 years ago

      It makes no sense to compare drinking habits in other countries which both sides of this argument try to do because these comparisons can be so apples and oranges. The US doesn't have a culture that revolves heavily around drinking. 50% of Americans drink little or no alcohol and teens will be heavily influenced for or against drinking based on the behavior of adults around them. In other countries, alcohol is central to people's social lives or things like climate, or lack of other entertainment options can lead to higher drinking levels. Ultimately though telling an adult they can't go out and have a drink is wrong and I say this as a non drinker. I agree with strictly enforcing drunk driving laws instead.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      i think anyone any age should be allowed a serving of alcohol with dinner. there should be strong penalties for drunkenness, driving or not.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Gave some further thought to my comment, and decided to expand it into a hub on the subject of age confusion... lol

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 3 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I wonder how much effect the age limit has anyway. I think the heaviest drinking I have witnessed was among people who were no old enough to drink legally.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      mary615 - I, too, have seen the detrimental effects of too much alcohol, but that's fantastic if your son's not drinking. I think the key is moderation, but Americans (and I am American) generally don't have a good handle on the moderation thing. For anything. Alcohol abuse is a complicated issue for sure, so mixed feelings, especially when it comes to one's own children, aren't surprising.

      Thank you for the congrats and vote up!

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      DB - I'm with you wholeheartedly on comparing the US to other countries in this regard - it just doesn't make sense to do so and yet it's done time and time again. The US does have a culture that revolves around drink, but it's a subculture rather than all across the board. Where did you get your 50% figure about Americans drinking? I'd be interested in seeing that. I agree that enforcing DUI/DWI laws is paramount, but as with anything else, they appear to be selectively enforced.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      cathylynn99 - Thanks for chiming in. I'm not sure how I feel about an all across the board allowance for alcohol, regardless of age. For some reason, this brings to mind sizing (and we Americans sure love our sizes) - ex. sippy cup for toddlers, kids size, teen size. That's probably not quite what you meant, but even still, it would be problematic in its implementation. Would it require someone considered underage to be with their parents or would any other adult suffice? Who would decide how much is appropriate to serve? While I don't necessarily disagree with you in theory, I think in practice it might come with far too many unintended consequences.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      DzyMsLizzy - Ha! What a fantastic idea. I'll keep an eye out for that one... :-)

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Sherry Hewins - there is probably data about that, but I'm not sure I'd consider it valid depending on the parameters used. I've seen both underage / overage drinking to excess, so I'm not sure which way I'd go. Generally, though, I'd say an age limit wouldn't do much to deter someone who really wanted to do anything, drinking or otherwise.

    • Matt Jordan III profile image

      Matt Jordan 3 years ago from Gulf Coast

      Kudos on this article. It is well-organized, thoughtful and informative.

      Here's the rub. The constitutional question of equal treatment is always visited in articles like this one. But in this country it is the only VALID consideration. All the frightening stats and all the sad stories are simply the price of living in a big scary world full of choices. The only valid consideration is as happily ignored as many others are by our politicians. In this case, 18-year-olds don't pool their money and hire lobbyists to fight for their rights to be recognized as adults.

      The honest choice to put before the citizens is this: You will be 18 to drink, sign contracts and serve in the military or you will be some other arbitrary age. There will always be difficult outcomes regardless of what number is assigned. Instead of taking the simple choice of defining adulthood firmly, we let politicians parse and dabble and pretend they are solving problems.

    • profile image

      Dustin 3 years ago

      Let's be honest here, kids are going to get their hands on alcohol. Mid to older teens always will have that 21 year old friend that they have to get their drinks/bottles. At 18 especially. It doesn't matter what age you allow it-- if an 18 year old likes drinking, they are going to drink. I know from experience. I am 18, and am out on my own. My girlfriend and I have no issues getting alcohol, we have a huge bottle collection-- the point is, kids will drink. 18 year olds definitely will drink. The difference is I was taught well. I never go over my limit (to the point of being sloppy drunk), never drunk drive, usually stay in the house & don't cause public trouble, etc. Teaching responsible drinking effectively is key.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Matt Jordan III - I agree that the constitution should be the only valid consideration when it comes equal treatment. By the same token, though, we don't live in a world that exists in black and white - there are always gray areas, which this particular topic exists. I say it's a multifaceted issue - in part because of the way our government handles things - laws aren't equally enforced and until that begins to happen, it will remain a multifaceted issue. Certainly our politicians and government, not to mention out citizens, have made it far more complicated an issue than it needs to be. My only comment on that is that we get the government we vote for. Where we are right now, even with this one issue, is the sum result of our willingness to stick our collective heads in the sand.

      Part of the problem of your solution, as much as I agree with it, is that there are far too many people who don't accept responsibility for their actions--it doesn't matter if it's with alcohol or something else. As a general whole, we're too quick to place blame everywhere else except on ourselves.

      (sorry if this doesn't make sense. I'm beat at the moment...)

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
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      K.J. Pierce 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Dustin - absolutely - if someone really wants something, they'll find a way to get it, whether they're underage or not. I agree that teaching responsibility is key to solving the problem. Kudos to you for being responsible about it. (Even though I shouldn't be encouraging underage drinking...)

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 2 years ago from New Jersey

      You brought up a lot of good points. The legal age was 18 when I was younger, and I found that the same people who abused alcohol at 18, abused it at all ages. Plus the old argument still flies with me, "If you are old enough to die for your country, you should be able to have a drink in a bar". People who want to drink will do it no matter what the rules are. The most dangerous people are the ones who have one drink a year, and then go out to a party, have two, and cause the accident because they have no tolerance for alcohol.

      Years ago my Mom clerked P/T at a liquor store to help out a friend. She said the biggest drinkers, or purchasers of alcohol, were retired people, probably drinking out of boredom.

    • kjpiercetrc profile image
      Author

      K.J. Pierce 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks, Jean Bakula. I agree... if someone is going to abuse alcohol, or any substance, for that matter, they're going to and no law is going to change that.

      I hadn't heard that about retired people, but it makes sense. Boredom makes people do all sorts of crazy things.

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