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Should America Lower the Legal Drinking Age?

Updated on July 28, 2012

Should the U.S. drop the legal drinking age from 21 to 18?

In a recent poll, 54% of Americans believe the legal drinking age should remain 21, while 31% agree with a group of college presidents who recently issued a call for the drinking age to be lowered to 18. What do you think? Please tell us what you think at the bottom of this lens.

First the pros for lowering the drinking age.

Written by Ruth Engs, Professor at Indiana University

The legal drinking age should be lowered to about 18 or 19 and young adults allowed to drink in controlled environments such as restaurants, taverns, pubs and official school and university functions. In these situations responsible drinking could be taught through role modeling and educational programs. Mature and sensible drinking behavior would be expected. This opinion is based upon reaserch that I have been involved in for over twenty years concerning college age youth and the history of drinking in the United States and other cultures.

Although the legal purchase age is 21 years of age, a majority of college students under this age consume alcohol but in an irresponsible manner. This is because drinking by these youth is seen as an enticing "forbidden fruit," a "badge of rebellion against authority" and a symbol of "adulthood." As a nation we have tried prohibition legislation twice in the past for controlling irresponsible drinking problems. This was during National Prohibition in the 1920s and state prohibition during the 1850s. These laws were finally repealed because they were unenforceable and because the backlash towards them caused other social problems. Today we are repeating history and making the same mistakes that occurred in the past. Prohibition did not work then and prohibition for young people under the age of 21 is not working now.

The flaunting of the current laws is readily seen among university students. Those under the age of 21 are more likely to be heavy -- sometimes called "binge" -- drinkers (consuming over 5 drinks at least once a week). For example, 22% of all students under 21 compared to 18% over 21 years of age are heavy drinkers. Among drinkers only, 32% of under age compared to 24% of legal age are heavy drinkers.

Research from the early 1980s until the present has shown a continuous decrease in drinking and driving related variables which has parallel the nation's, and also university students, decrease in per capita consumption. However, these declines started in 1980 before the national 1987 law which mandated states to have 21 year old alcohol purchase laws.

The decrease in drinking and driving problems are the result of many factors and not just the rise in purchase age or the decreased per capita consumption. These include: education concerning drunk driving, designated driver programs, increased seat belt and airbag usage, safer automobiles, lower speed limits, free taxi services from drinking establishments, etc.

While there has been a decrease in per capita consumption and motor vehicle crashes, unfortunately, during this same time period there has been an INCREASE in other problems related to heavy and irresponsible drinking among college age youth. Most of these reported behaviors showed little change until AFTER the 21 year old law in 1987. For example from 1982 until 1987 about 46% of students reported "vomiting after drinking." This jumped to over 50% after the law change. Significant increase were also found for other variables: "cutting class after drinking" jumped from 9% to almost 12%; "missing class because of hangover" went from 26% to 28%; "getting lower grade because of drinking" rose from 5% to 7%; and "been in a fight after drinking" increased from 12% to 17%. All of these behaviors are indices of irresponsible drinking. This increase in abusive drinking behavior is due to "underground drinking" outside of adult supervision in student rooms and apartments were same age individuals congregate and because of lack of knowledge of responsible drinking behaviors.

Based upon the fact that our current prohibition laws are not working, the need for alternative approaches from the experience of other, and more ancient cultures, who do not have these problems need to be tried. Groups such as Italians, Greeks, Chinese and Jews, who have few drinking related problems, tend to share some common characteristics. Alcohol is neither seen as a poison or a magic potent, there is little or no social pressure to drink, irresponsible behavior is never tolerated, young people learn at home from their parents and from other adults how to handle alcohol in a responsible manner, there is societal consensus on what constitutes responsible drinking. Because the the 21 year old drinking age law is not working, and is counterproductive, it behooves us as a nation to change our current prohibition law and to teach responsible drinking techniques for those who chose to consume alcoholic beverages.

(c)copyright, Ruth C. Engs, Bloomington, IN 1998

This opinion downloaded from http://www.indiana.edu/~engs/articles/cqoped.html

Now, the case for 21

A recently launched initiative by many university presidents calling for open discussion on lowering the drinking age is a threat to public health and safety, Mothers Against Drunk Driving leaders said Saturday in Dallas.

At its national conference at the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas, MADD hosted a panel discussion called "Why 21?" to discuss the movement to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18.

Discussion centered on the Amethyst Initiative, a statement launched in July and signed by 130 university presidents asking elected officials to reconsider the drinking age and seek ways to educate young adults on the uses of alcohol, according to its Web site.

Chuck Hurley, chief executive officer of MADD, said he believes that the initiative is little more than a cry for help by university presidents frustrated by their inability to get a handle on the problem of underage drinking on campuses.

"I think the initiative has become an embarrassment to the presidents who signed it." Mr. Hurley said.

MADD president Laura Dean-Mooney said the list of universities whose presidents have signed on to the initiative is useful for another reason - those are schools she won't allow her daughter to attend.

But Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., president of the University of the Incarnate Word and among those who signed the initiative, said the issue partly boils down to fairness. It's not fair that youths who are old enough to die for their country do not have the right to drink alcohol until age 21, he said in a prepared statement.

"An 18-year-old is allowed to vote, get married, enlist in the military and enroll in college because society accepts her or his ability to make decisions as an adult," he said. "We should be consistent and also respect their intellectual capacity to understand the responsibility that comes with drinking, just like we already do with voting, working, getting married, joining the military or attending college."

Ms. Dean-Mooney disagreed.

"This is not about rights and responsibilities," she said. "It's about public health and safety."

Mr. Hurley said that one of MADD's biggest challenges is presenting science to the public, because whatever data it offers is considered biased, Mr. Hurley said. He asked attendees to encourage medical professionals and scientists to present their findings to the public.

Francisco Portilla, MADD volunteer from Puerto Rico has three sons and says it is an uphill battle educating them about alcohol. Mr. Portilla said he and his wife constantly tell their sons not to drink and drive.

"If it were me, I would raise it to 25," he said.

Some Points

  • Since the early 1980s, the number of young people killed annually in crashes involving drunken drivers under 21 has been cut in half, from more than 5,000 in the early 1980s to nearly 2,000 in 2005, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • In a July 2007 Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans say they would oppose a federal law that would lower the drinking age in all states to 18.
  • Traffic crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens, and 28 percent of fatal traffic crashes involving teen drivers are alcohol-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • In 2006, about 10.8 million people ages 12 to 20 (28.3 percent) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. About 7.2 million (19 percent) were binge drinkers, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

SOURCE: Mothers Against Drunk Driving

One more reason for keeping it at 21: More scholarship opportunities because your Facebook page doesn't show pictures of you falling down all over the place with a beer in your hands!

Driving Under The Influence--What Is It; What's It Going To Cost You

Drinking ages around the world

The table below records the minimum legal purchase ages both on- and off-premise and by beverage type (beer, wine and sprits). The World Health Organization defines on- and off-premise as follows:

On-premise retail sale refers to the selling of alcoholic beverages for consumption at the site of the sale, generally in pubs, bars, cafes or restaurants.

Off-premise retail sale refers to the selling of alcoholic beverages for consumption elsewhere and not on the site of sale. Off-premise sale takes place, for example, in state monopoly stores, wine shops, supermarkets, and petrol stations or kiosks, depending on the regulations of the country. (World Health Organization, 2004, p. 15)

The first number is for on-premise; the second for off-premise:

Albania

None

None

Algeria

18

18

Argentina

18

18

Australia

18

18

Austria

16/18 (see notes)

16/18 (see notes)

For distilled spirits, the age limit is 16 in three Federal States and 18 in six Federal States (there are nine Federal States in Austria). However, some Federal States differentiate by alcohol content, rather than by beverage type. Thus, drinks with an alcohol content of 12% ABV or more can only be consumed by individuals aged 18 and over, which therefore includes some wines and all mixtures containing spirits (e.g., alcopops, cocktails).

Azerbaijan

18

18

Bahamas

18

18

Belarus

18

18

Belgium

16 beer and wine.

18 for spirits.

None for beer and wine. 18 for spirits.

Belize

18

18

Bolivia

18

18

Botswana

18

18

Brazil

18

18

Brunei

Illegal

Illegal

Bulgaria

18

18

Burundi

16

16

Cambodia

None

None

Cameroon

18

21

Canada

18/19 (see notes)

18/19 (see notes)

18 in Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec. 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.

Cape Verde

18

18

Central African Republic

18

18

Chile

18

18

China, People's Republic of

18

18

China, Republic of (Taiwan)

18

18

Colombia

18

18

Comoros

None

None

Congo, Republic of

18

18

Costa Rica

18

18

Croatia

18

18

Cyprus

17

17

Czech Republic

18

18

Denmark

18

16

Dominican Republic

18

18

Ecuador

18

18

Egypt

18 for beer.

21 for wine and spirits.

18 for beer.

21 for wine and spirits.

El Salvador

18

18

Equatorial Guinea

None

None

Eritrea

18

18

Estonia

18

18

Ethiopia

18

18

Fiji

21

21

Finland

18

18

France

16, but 18 for spirits.

16, but 18 for spirits.

Gabon

None

None

Gambia

Illegal (18 for 5% non-Muslim population)

Illegal (18 for 5% non-Muslim population)

Georgia

16

16

Germany

16 for beer and wine. 18 spirits.

16 for beer and wine. 18 spirits.

Ghana

None

None

Greece

17

None

Guatemala

18

18

Guinea-Bissau

None

None

Guyana

18

18

Hungary

18

18

Iceland

20

20

India

18 to 25, depending on state.

18 to 25, depending on state.

Indonesia

21

21

Ireland

18

18

Israel

18

18

Italy

16

16

Jamaica

None

16

Japan

20

20

Kazakhstan

None

18

Kenya

18

18

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

19

19

Kyrgyzstan

None

None

Latvia

18

18

Lesotho

18

18

Libya

Illegal

Illegal

Lithuania

18

18

Luxembourg

16

None

Malawi

18

18

Malta

16

16

Mauritius

18

18

Mexico

18

18

Micronesia

21

21

Morocco

None

16

Mozambique

18

18

Namibia

18

18

Netherlands

16, but 18 for spirits that have an ABV of over 15%.

16, but 18 for spirits that have an ABV of over 15%.

New Zealand

18

18

Nicaragua

19

19

Niger

18

18

Nigeria

18

18

Norway

18, but 20 for spirits defined as 22% ABV.

18, but 20 for spirits defined as 22% ABV.

Pakistan

Illegal (21 for non-Muslim population)

Illegal (21 for non-Muslim population)

Palau

21

21

Panama

18

18

Papua New Guinea

18

18

Paraguay

20

20

Peru

18

18

Philippines

18

18

Portugal

16

16

Russia

18

18

Samoa

18

18

Seychelles

18

18

Singapore

18

18

Slovenia

18

18

Solomon Islands

21

None

South Africa

18

18

Spain

18 (16 in Asturias)

18 (16 in Asturias)

Sri Lanka

18

18

Swaziland

18

Sweden

18

20, but 18 for beer with ABV of 3.5% or less

Switzerland

16/18, depending on the canton, for beer and wine.

18 in all cantons for spirits.

Thailand

18

18

Togo

None

None

Tonga

18

None

Trinidad and Tobago

18

18

Turkey

18

18

Turkmenistan

18

18

Uganda

18

18

Ukraine

18

18

United Kingdom

18 (see notes)

18

Beer and wine can be purchased on premise at 16 years of age if with a table meal and when accompanied by an adult aged 18 years or over.

United States

21

21

Uruguay

18

18

Vanuatu

18

18

Venezuela

18

18

Zambia

18

18

Zimbabwe

18

18

What Do You Think? - Please include your age in your response. I will not approve responses with foul language or those that disrespect the views of other poste

Should America lower the drinking age to 18?

Yes!.

Yes!.

Submit a Comment

  • anonymous 4 years ago

    Drinking and getting drunk before you're 21 is mostly done because young people see it as something illegal & fun, having seen adults enjoy it but not being allowed to act similarly till the last year of college.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I think no matter how illegal you make alcohol there will always be teens to experience with alcohol. I don't see anything wrong with drinking a few beers when you're only eighteen.

  • Viola Horne 5 years ago

    @anonymous: According to a report published by a British news site, alcohol-related deaths of males between age 15 and 29 are highest in European nations that allow their citizens to drink under age 21. Maybe that's why the US's age limit is higher--to keep their men alive longer. Just a thought...

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I am from the UK and the legal drinking age is 18. There is no chaos and the stats are the same as the USA. At 18 is the age when we become adults and we choose for ourselves. In most countries its 18 so why not in the USA. If it is controlled like in the UK then I don't see why not.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    i don't see y not if we lower it, it can be a good thing if we doint abuse it

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    When talking about drinking alcohol many think that there would be high school students drinking;although alcohol is already in high school.The age should be lower'd. An 18 year old is an adult.people can die for they're country in america at age 18 but they can't drink until they are 21 that is pointless

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    lower it because at 18 you are an adult and should be able to drink responsibly

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I say yes because it is unconstitutional to take away alcohol from a legal adult.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I don't drink myself, honestly its an unhealthy obsession by MANY adults, and underage drinkers. But if the age was lowered to 18, It would remove the entire mentality of the forbidden fruit effect teenagers so often have, I serve in the military, I think you should be able to have a drink with your fellow soldiers, after all next month you could be landing in the middle of a warzone and get killed. I think it should be a limit of No larger than a 12 pack of beer for 18 year olds, and anything with Alc content over 5% should remain 21. Just my opinion

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    yes!!yes!!yes!!yes!!!

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    HELL YES

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    drinking should be an adults age 18 is perfect u can do everything at 18 why not drink?

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    lower it man! I don't want to get drunk I just want to be able to have a drink occasionally.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    i'm from England and went to live in Florida for 12 months. I found the drinking laws very strict. I was 28 at the time and witnessed Americans binging and being sick in the corner of pubs and slumped in corners passed out on drink. This was shocking as this was what it was like when i was 16 back in England yet these were full grown adults.

    I notice people mentioning the drink driving accidents being high for young people in the States. This doesn't surprise me at all as we found it extremely difficult to get a taxi and never saw any taxi's waiting outside bars. In England, there are many taxi's lined up outside bars to take us home.

    I say bring the age down and make taxis more available.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I think the age should be lowered to 19. Not 18 because the point made where it is more available to high school kinds is valid and i think that is too young to be drinking. As a college studebt i know that alcohal is ridiculously easy to get and no age limit is going to change that. However, if the age is lowered i think education would be easier, because i know if i had a night where i made bad decisions i would feel a hell of a lot mpre comfortable seeking help from parents or mentors if it were legal for me to drink in the first place. Keeping the age at 21 or raising it to 25 just results in people not ckming forward and fixing their problems, not having the problems not occur.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I believe the the drinking age should be lowered to 18. As said at the age of 18 you are in every way an "adult" imagine how many mature 18 year olds outweigh the lifes.For example before I went off to college id say a good 75% had jobs. My point sure there's no perfect conclusion but lowering the drinking age I feel would be best hell maybe pass amaximum BAC for 18. year ods or something. but gees they have no problem sending our high school graduated over to get killed for other countries oil and want not haha. But I agree the drinking age should be lowered

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    im 15 and i see many binge drinkers at young ages, but i have spoken with friends that have visited europe and they say scinse its not a rebelion thing there drinking habits were more mature and there weren't as many heavy drinkers

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    At 18 a person is considered an adult. These adults can vote, get married, go to war and are automatically charged as adults for any crimes they may commit. I do not understand why they would not be able to have an alcoholic beverage should they so choose. It's simply ridiculous.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    it should be lowered but to 19. Like in Canada. The system seems to work pretty well over there and because only the government is allowed to sell alcohol they can more easily keep it away form children.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I think the occupy wall street movement should stop wasting their time trying to make this a socialist country and put their efforts into trying to get Adults over the age of 18 their rights back! It is unconstitutional to have the age moved up to 21-an 18 year old is not a minor anymore and should have all the rights as a citizen of the US-Not all the rights except for legal drinking.

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    its hella dumb that its not

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    19 would also be acceptable because I do understand that'd it be easier for high schoolers to drink that way. If you could be a stripper at 18, why shouldn't you be able to have a drink? The same goes for the fight for your country, get married, and vote arguments brought up in the article. My mother says 18 as well. My father also says 18/19

  • EdwardMalus 5 years ago

    The cons outweigh the pros

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I lived in the Netherlands almost all my life where drinking age is 16 and most teens that drank were very responsible, so if Dutch 16 year olds can drink responsibly, American 18 year olds can too! Parents need to stop babysitting their children so much and show their kids that they trust them. That way, teenagers wouldn't want to break that trust by drinking irresponsibly.

  • gregoryolney lm 5 years ago

    It should be 16 - kids are going to drink anyway, so make it legal and trust them - they may then act more like adults. Sure there will always be some idiots, but in general it will avoid a lot of trouble.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    The Drinking Age Should Be 18 World-Wide And 5 At Home.

    Those Who Oppose Lowering The Drinking Age Should Just Give Up And Go Jump Into A Volcano or A Moving Bus Or Train.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Drinking at the age of 18 should be legal ,

    otherwise high school students would want

    to drink it to seem bad infront on femenine

    eventually if it's legal when drinking is legal

    when your 18 they would find it unintresting

    so i say yes

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    If you're old enough to serve and fight in a war when you're 18; you're old enough to drink!

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Age 22 This is Government Babysitting. The Drinking Age Should be 18 in public and as low as 5 at home. This law is a failure.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    "Kristy says:

    I have seen the difference between European and American teenagers who drink. American teenagers binge drink, which leads to may more problems. I think most of the reasons teens drink is because it is the "forbidden fruit." I have experienced European teens drinking much more responsibly than American teens, and would choose the European drinking ages over the American ones any day."

    I totally agree with this. I, myself is 16, so I don't know much about drinking casue I never have. I only had a sip of beer and it was to bitter. But my dad told me a story about when he went to Germany and went to a pud. The teens that were there didn't binge drink, they only had a few beers to get buzzed probably. I think that's amazing. All you hear about in America is that teenagers are binge drinking to get drunk or to look mature. I do think the drinking age should be lowered as well.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    yes

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    It's all about maturity. I'm only 17, and know that I am more responsible than some 25 year-olds (who even have kids...) when it comes to drinking. I admit that I have binge drank before (about 4 times, each night = no sleep and being sick) at the time however I did it because, well there is nothing else really to do where I live that doesnt cost a lot of money, and I saw it as a way to look more mature and older...now I look back at it and think I was doing the exact opposite. I travel to Germany every other year, and last year when I went and I had a few drinks here and there with my family, not enough to get drunk, just a little buzz, and I had a lot of fun. I felt more mature then. The problem isn't drinking, it's choosing to binge drink, or drinking just to get drunk. I believe it is the parents responsibility to talk to their child(ren) about drinking in moderation and knowing their limit (also many people are different types of drunks, I don't recommend going out somewhere to get drunk your first time drinking...it probably wont end well) Most kids don't even know what drinking in moderation is, because all they hear about and see is binge drinking. In class they are taught about the harmful effects of binge drinking, and when they watch TV (Hate to say it but Jersey Shore is a perfect example) all they see is people binge drinking, and they want to be just like them. I don't agree with just dropping the drinking age, but I do think that they should start with better education about alcohol, and setting it to where 18 year-olds can drink/purchase beer and purchase hard liquor at 21, as a starter. I would say we should raise the driving age, but other trasportation options are pretty much non-existant, unless you live in the city.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    I live in Pennsylvanian I am right now 18 my first drink ever was when I was 13 years old, I am not an alcoholic and I can control my drinking now because i started so early. My friends at school some have never had a drink and are 17 and 18 years old and going to college this fall, I tell them when they get to college they are going to be inexperience and wont be able to control them selves and have a high chances of getting an underage or public drunkenness what ever that one law is called. Also starting in High School helped me no what I like and what I don't like for example I hate smoking weed but I do support it

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    it should be 18

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Of course we should lower it. We are an embarrassment. "Land of the free"!? Land of the law is more like it. Having lived abroad and seen the almost non problem that alcohol is for young people, I have am now convinced that it is our goofy law as well as taboo liquor culture that is causing the problem that we do have.

  • SimonVics1 6 years ago

    Okay, first of all I'm from the UK and had French parents, so that's where my viewpoint is coming from.

    The more you make something taboo, the more it seems that as a teenager it becomes more attractive - a generalisation I agree. BUT, a common attitude among teenagers.

    I was brought up from a young age with wine or beer on the table at meal times. When I was young I'd have a glass of water of lemonade with a tiny splash of wine in it at weekends or special meals. As I got older, the wine alcohol quantity gently increased.

    By the time I was in my early to mid teens, I was allowed a glass of wine or a shandy (beer and lemonade 50-50).

    This was combined with the people around me knowing their limits. People were never outrageous if they'd "overdone it", generally finding a comfy chair and falling asleep.

    As a College student, yes I got drunk a at parties occasionally, but generally I learned what my limit was, went on to soft drinks, then resumed with the alcohol when I felt like it.

    So ... introducing alcohol at a suitable age, showing the child that it is normal when "used" properly, excess occasionally, and then there is the response from society,

    If we can cultivate the attitude that alcohol is fine when used responsibly with the allowed occasional (non violent) excess, make it "uncool" to get excessively drunk - that would be the only way forward.

    How? Well, I don't know about the US but in Europe there are strict advertising laws about how you can portray alcohol. It cannot be glamourised in any way, and we are moving to adding labels with warnings.

    In the US as I understand it, you have a self-regulated advertising code ... about says it all.

    Oh ... Yes, you should along with legislation strictly controlling advertising in all its forms, with a tax on the alcohol producers the proceeds of which used to re-educate people in the long term -

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    if someone can die for there country than they shoud be able to drink at 18

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    19 is a suitable age to be consuming alcohol most people would have finished jig schooling by this time .. There no harm in trying it and seeing how it works out , it's not like they couldn't change it back if it was making things worse

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    yes, yes and yes!!!

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    I would much rather have my 18 and 20 year old sons drink openly than trying to sneak around. Itwould teach them to drink responsibly while living at home than hiding in college dorms and behind closed doors where no "adults" are present

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    it should be lowerdyou can sign leage contracts and die but you can have a beer?

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    i think it should be lowered becuase if you can join the military at 18 and move out of your parents house at 18 then you should be responcible enough to drink.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    ITs not fair for those who serve in the military not to be aloud all privliges that "mature" Americans have. I think that those who have volunteered for at least 2 years in the military, they should be aloud to drink.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    MLDA isn't working. If 28% of all fatal crashes involving teens are alcohol related then the laws don't work. We need comprehensive alcohol education and the implementation of license to purchase and consume alcohol.Ever heard of "21 for 21"? Yeah, if the drinking age was lowered, people wouldn't go overboard like that. As for the drinking age being 18, you may think people would do "18 for 18" but for one thing, 18 shots are better than 21, and for another, 18 is a pretty quick age to get to so as said before, the thrill is gone before you know it. A lot of these people have made good points. Making alcohol a forbidden fruit will only hurt the cause. As a Norwegian living in America, I've seen the difference, and European drinkers, being 18 and over, are far more responsible BECAUSE of that age limit. So I say yes.Age itself has little to do with the abuse of Alcohol - America has known it's fair share of adults that abused Alcohol well passed 21. It would be not serious to try and pretend that 18 year-olds don't drink. We all know they do - more then that, younger kids are drinking too. So if we all acknowledge that, it does not matter whether the legal age for drinking drops to 18 - If kids will be educated well, America's condition will be better, even with the drinking.

    Don't blame the drinking for what is your own fault...

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    yes

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    MLDA isn't working. If 28% of all fatal crashes involving teens are alcohol related then the laws don't work. We need comprehensive alcohol education and the implementation of license to purchase and consume alcohol.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    If men and women can fight for our country in the military and can go an die in war than they should also have the privilege of drinking alcohol.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    age 16... lower the age to 18 it will help and the urge to drink will fade away!

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Ever heard of "21 for 21"? Yeah, if the drinking age was lowered, people wouldn't go overboard like that. As for the drinking age being 18, you may think people would do "18 for 18" but for one thing, 18 shots are better than 21, and for another, 18 is a pretty quick age to get to so as said before, the thrill is gone before you know it. A lot of these people have made good points. Making alcohol a forbidden fruit will only hurt the cause. As a Norwegian living in America, I've seen the difference, and European drinkers, being 18 and over, are far more responsible BECAUSE of that age limit. So I say yes.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    They should lower the drinking age!

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Indeed it should. Most of the major countries around the world have managed to control the issues to a proper extent than why should America suddenly have to increase the age to "fix" them. Plus underage drinking in house parties is much worse as there is no policing what so ever as compared to bouncers at clubs and pubs.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Imagine the added revenue from taxes if it were legal to drink at 18. Maybe raise the tax % and lower the drinking age.

  • nimrodavid 6 years ago

    Age itself has little to do with the abuse of Alcohol - America has known it's fair share of adults that abused Alcohol well passed 21. It would be not serious to try and pretend that 18 year-olds don't drink. We all know they do - more then that, younger kids are drinking too. So if we all acknowledge that, it does not matter whether the legal age for drinking drops to 18 - If kids will be educated well, America's condition will be better, even with the drinking.

    Don't blame the drinking for what is your own fault...

  • nstech01 6 years ago

    At the age of 18 you are considered an adult and able to make your own decisions so why are you not able to decide to drink?

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    I say they should lower it. its not like the age is really gonna make a difference on anything that happens. When we turn 18 we are classified as adults and able to make the decisions that make and brake who we are and prove to everyone who we really are. Plus there are more legal things that are dangerous that they have us doing at a younger age. like tobacco use and owning and possessing a weapon. i mean come on... really?! isn't life all about living it to its fullest?! and learning from our own mistakes?! and as we grow up we learn whats wrong and whats right and that all of our decisions affect us... good or bad. so i say yes.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    i think it should be lowered down to 15!!!! 15 year olds are very mature and should be able to drink but have a DD

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    i think it should be lower, and not all military personal drink . I am retired from the military in 2008 and 25 yr in service i never drink, and when the drinking age was 18 back before 1987 the kids was resposable but now since the age is 21 people are not resposable the government has to much power over our lives.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    I have seen the difference between European and American teenagers who drink. American teenagers binge drink, which leads to may more problems. I think most of the reasons teens drink is because it is the "forbidden fruit." I have experienced European teens drinking much more responsibly than American teens, and would choose the European drinking ages over the American ones any day.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    yesss!

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Yes the drinking age should be lowered. The main reason people get drunk and party is because it is taboo and there is a thrill in doing it. If you take away the thrill what would be the point?

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Look at weed, everywhere it has been legalized the use and abuse rates have dropped since the legalization. Same will happen with alcohol! I'm 17 and I say yes.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    yes!! Im from South Africa wher the legal age is 18 and we have no problems with alcohol. People in America get the urge and cravings to drink because America makes such a big deel about it. America.. good luck with all the accidents bound to happen when all the "kids" turn 21 and completely go overboard

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    How can anyone justify, that someone is 18 can join the military, (Usually) paying there own money to go to college, move out, and Vote? I understand the whole point of when your 18 in your in High School, but on the same note why 21, why not 19? You give the teenagers all that freedom, but they can't drink...?

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    Because almost every other country in the world has it set at 18 and they have less problems then we do with drinking!

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I am a teenager and believe that it should be lowered to 18 because i know how my classmates binge drink. They get to a party and pass out before everybody gets there!! I think if we lowered the drinking age that for 5-10 years there would be an alcohol abuse, but after a while people will have no urge to go out and get "wasted". there would be no point. you wouldnt be breaking the law? I honestly think this topic needs to be seriously considered by our "amazing" government because they are "noble" people ;) just think about what would change....

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    If you are old enough to serve your country and die you should be able to have a beer for christs sakes!!!!

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    It all depends on if your responsible enough. I have drank before and have gotten pretty drunk. I would never attempt to drive if i was under the influence of alcohol. I know better, if anything I would pass out in my car.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    Am 19 and I live in Australia, our legal drinking age is 18 and I didnât start drinking till I was 17...they are people in our government who want to change the legal drinking age to 21, I think thatâs stupid⦠our gov doesnât understand that no matter the age limit if teenagers want a drink they can get one, usually way more than oneâ¦.you Americans have a 21 legal drinking age limit it hasnât stop your underageâs from drinkingâ¦do I think that lowering your legal limit will stop the problem of underage drinking well No, but it will help majorly decrease binge drinking in younger peopleâ¦simply coz drinking isnât nearly as cool or fun when its legalâ¦I drank way more when I was underage then I do now and if the drinking age was 18 then by the time people are 21 theyâll probably be over itâ¦.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    the drinking age should be lowered to 18 since in most of the world its usually 18 or lower age

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    we should lower the drinking age to 16 because i believe that we should be able to make our own decisions, regardless of what other parents or adults say.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I think that proper education will always top a "No because I say so" approach that can easily be rebelled against. I am 18 now and I've been to many European countries whose drinking age is 18 or below and I've found the environment to be quiet friendly and in no way did I ever feel like I had to binge drink to fit in. Alcohol is simply a less culturally taboo thing in those societies, therefor it becomes less of a problem. All of the reasons I have seen for why it should not be brought down to 18 are things that could be combatted with proper education on not driving drunk or binge drinking, which police and schools tend to turn a blind eye to because the practice is illegal in the first place.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I think that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 because if your old enough to serve your country your old enough to have a beer!!!!

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    Of course!!!

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    Both sides have credible arguments. I don't think this debate will ever reach a conclusion until the real problem - being car safety - is resolved. Its estimated that there is a car accident every 6 seconds in the United States. Alcohol aside, its quite evident that manually piloting a moving vehicle is a dangerous endeavor. Fortunately were moving closer and closer to the days when cars will be auto piloted by computers. In recent years we've already seen improvements in electronic stability control, blind spot detection, and adaptive cruise control. As generations of people live longer and healthier, we'll need to come up with ways for them to stay active. Automating cars is an inevitable process. Some experts think as early as 20 years cars could be safely controlled on our roads and highways by computer. The legal drinking age is so heavily based on drinking and driving that the question will need to seriously be looked at when car occupants all assume the 'passenger' role.

    Scott Palmer

    Poolside Pong

    www.poolsidepong.com

    Inflatable Beer Pong Tables!

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    Yes it should be! If you can fight for your country you should be able to drink!!

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I find it ironic that you can't drink until age 21 and yet you allow driving a car and having sex from as young as 14, plus of course you also allow them to join the military and be killed for your country. If they have the right to die for you, then surely they have the right to control the other aspects of their lives.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    yes because ur givviinn the choice

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    When a child reaches the age of 16, they should be given a test (if they choose to take it). They should be placed in a controlled environment and given a few drinks to see how they react. If they remain responsible enough to make smart decisions, they would receive a "drinking permit". If they become obnoxious, irresponsible, and/or forceful, they will "fail" the test, and not be given another chance until they reach the age of 18. If a 16 year old "passes" the test, they must surrender ANY driving priviledges until they turn 18. If an 18 year old passes the test, they must surrender any driving priviledges for one year from the date of the test, with one exception. An 18 year old would be able to drive IF a parent is in the vehicle with them. A teen would get three chances to take the test. If failed three times, they must wait until they turn 21 to gain any drinking priviledges.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    kids find ways to get it anyway why not just let them buy it

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    i say they should lower the drinking age back to 18. because if u can be 18 and go to war and fight for our country and risk your life then we should be able to buy beer and drink.

  • jtomomi 7 years ago

    Sure, why not?

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    yes, if you are old enough to carry all these other responsibilities then you should be able to drink. As far as mothers against drunk driving well they mainly consist of women which aren't required to enroll on their 18th birthday in the military so their opinion in my opinion is void and their argument of maintaining scholarships because they isn't a beer in their hand falling over is also meaningless. If they use that argument then they obviously have no idea what society is like because most of those people with those pictures are underage and doing it as a statement or a status symbol.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    yes, if your old enough to go fight for your country then your old enough to drink a freaking beer

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    the problem with saying it would simply drop the fruit factor is that alcohol is the fruit of wonders for EVERYONE WHOM IS NOT ALLOWED TO DRINK LEGALLY...we have the same problem with cigarettes...whens the last time an 18 year old just started smoking....it doesnt happen....kids start smoking because its against the law and breaking the law is cool....same with alcohol...if we abolish the drinking laws, we abolish the power of forbidence it has

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I say yes of course because like many of you said VOTING AGE is 18 And to get married is 18? And smoking age is 18? So what's up with drinking? And how can drinking affect Your grades at school, They affect cause you don't put effort to it period! And those who said NO? You once where kids.. And wanted to have a cup bottle of beer. And by the way some kids in the untied states start to Drink at 14 15 16 And start to smoke Pot at 12....

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I'm an 18 year old from Australia and I believe the legal drinking age should be lowered in America. You can join the military, vote and get married at the age of 18 so how are you not mature enough to consume alcohol!

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    America should lower the drinking age to 16 in fact because, it would lower the number of accidents. You lower the age then kids so would not sneak alcoholic and become irresponsible and probably kill themselves. Prohibition does not work at ALL.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    Yes the legal drinking age should be lowered or raise the legal age to enter the armed forces; marry; serve on a jury; and vote. If we trust 18 year olds to serve on jury where we are trusting them to come to sound conclusions, then we should trust them to educate themselves on responsible alchol comsumption. I do feel there should be a stipulation that says 18 AND graduated from high school. When one is a "legal" adult then they should be treated as a "legal" adult in all areas. I am an adult with a 25 year old child and we (his parents) thought him that if he should decide to consume alchol then he should understand the risk associated with that decision. It's our job as parents to raise our children.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    America should lower there drinking age to 18, for various reasons. Firstly the high drinking age is causing more bindge drinking, i witness it on a weekly baisis during the summer when americans come up to mtl and get compleatly trahed and pass out on creasent street. (legal age in qc is 18 and hardly enforced.) Secondly the drinking age has nothing to do with dui's, europe is a perfect example of this, in some places in europe the drinking age is 16 yet the dui rate is still much lower than that of the united states. Perhaps instead of the rediculous drinking laws, harsher dui laws can be put in place which will be certainly more effective.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    The drinking age matters less than the drinking habits we instill in our children. Teach them to drink RESPONSIBLY and they will, whether or not it is legal. What about 18 year old legal drinking age and a 0.0 blood alcohol policy on the roads, most of Europe has done this and death rates have lowered.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    Young Adults should have rights too. At 18 we can do so much for this country, in fact we can lay our lives on the battle field for it but we can not have a drink at a restaurant. I just don't understand the logic behind this! If its for brain development we should probably realize that the brain continues to develop throughout your life. And if it's due to responsibility and maturity, well then I know plenty of adults (many over the age of 30) that shouldn't be allowed to drink either! I think it's time we give 18-21 year olds the FULL rights they deserve and stop assuming every teen is immature and incapable of handling themselves.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    Perhaps they should have raised the driving age instead...

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    YES

  • bconnor11 8 years ago

    You can smoke and fight for your country at 18, you should be able to drink.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    What about 19? It would keep alcohol out of high schools and would be better than what it is now.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    It doesn't matter what the legal age is, kids are going to drink! Some parents let their kids drink, some tell them HELL NO...but teenagers are going to do it anyway, trust me I'm 18. I do however believe the age should be lowered. The drunk driving deaths in Europe are lower than ours, much lower, why? Because most cultures in Europe are taught to drink responsibly from an early age, here we have to sneak around. Yet most teenagers get a thrill out of that! Lowering the age will give teenagers less of a reason to go all out & do stupid stuff while drunk, because it won't be as big of a deal! If I can die in Iraq why can't I have a beer @ my family bbq? Seriously think about it!

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    I do believe that 18 years old is old enough to take on the responbility of drinking!

  • religions7 8 years ago

    Kids are going to drink anyhow. Over 16 or so it doesn't harm their brain as much anymore - and making it illegal just causes them to binge more.

No!

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  • anonymous 3 years ago

    I don't think it should be lowered. The brain is not fully developed at even age 21. Executive decision making incorporates many areas of the brain to be able to make the right choices, if we allow EToH to be a part of a students daily life we would be allowing self-destruction of that person's ability to function in a society that requires us to make mature decisions. The argument about being able to serve this country or vote or marry does not fly; no responsible citizen would want to okay an 18 yr old to alter his brain chemistry with a substance that has the power of damaging the body and mind.

    Somebody up above mentioned 25, I think that would be great! By that time may be a person would not be infatuated with the idea of altering the way he or she feels.

  • anonymous 4 years ago

    No some 18 year olds are not mature enough. they wouldn't be able to handle it.

  • anonymous 4 years ago

    The drinking age should not be lowered because this cause more deaths with teens and middle teens to have access to alcohol. I say no!

  • Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

    I don't think this is necessary. With drinking comes responsibility and people at 18 years are less responsible than people at 21 Maybe we should think about too low drinking age in non American countries?

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    no they should not, not only is it wrong but it may lead to binge drinking in children unders the age of 13 and not only that teenagers do not have the mental capacity to make the right decision... it doesn't matter if they're old enough to vote or go to the military that's just a hoax to get more people into the battlefield and make stupid decisions regarding new laws and presidency

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    no its inopropriant and bad and can give them alcohol poisoning and possibly die!!!!!

  • anonymous 5 years ago

    I think the age group of 21 years is quite productive as there is much evidence that reducing the drinking age to 19 would reduce the abuse of alcohol among young people.

  • BlenderHead LM 6 years ago

    Take it from an Australian where the drinking age is 18, nooo... Very bad idea! Road deaths, binge drinking, violence... I wish they would raise the drinking age here!

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    The drinking age should remain 21 throughout all 50 states! Although someone at 18 is considered an adult and can get married, go to war, start college they should not be able to buy alcohol. Most 18 year olds are still in high school and hanging around with younger people than "18". lowering the drinking age would get alcohol into public schools and even lower aged teens/kids. Most everyone in high school whether freshmen or seniors know of someone who is 18 that could buy alcohol for them if persuaded by a few bucks! This could be dangerous and potentially get into the 12-13 year old groups. People who are 21 are already done and out of high school and rarely hang out with people who are under the age of 18. This would make the most amount of alcohol consumption in people who are 18 and up. Although it is illegal for under 21 to consume alcohol in most states there are different regulations such as the capability to drink in ones own home, in the presence of an elder or a spouse at least 21. This is good enough. Its easy enough for kids to retrieve alcohol without them handing it to them. I'm 19 years old and have been able to get alcohol since I was 15. There are a lot of teens out there that are drinking but it makes it more difficult for us to retrieve. Although teens are drinking underground they have for the most part been doing it a little bit safer than when it was 18 back in the 1980s. It also helps prevent teen's from being stupid and going out in public driving a car to go home drunk to there parents. Since it is illegal for them to drink they take extra precautions to not get caught! Drinking ages in other countries are lower but they also educate them more about the affects and such of drinking before hand and the age to drive and rules differ significantly!

  • momsfunny 6 years ago

    It should stay at the age of 21, it should be all over the world.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    I say that the age limit should stay where it is, because if you were to lower the age there would be kids who would take advantage of it. Like the 18 year olds would be buying for the younger group.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    It should be 25. Not because lowering it will make younger teens and kids start drinking more but because 25 is the age that the entire body is fully developed and after this age MODERATE drinking is actually more beneficial then harmful. Kids as young as 14 and probably younger are already drinking and drinking a lot lowering the age wont change this and raising it wont either; we need better alcohol education that starts at a younger age.

  • pumpnut lm 6 years ago

    Didn't really want to jump on this one. Maturity issues with some people are a huge factor here.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    No, because half the people that do drink aren't mature enough to consume.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    no

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    No.

  • anonymous 6 years ago

    Lowering the drinking age will only lower the age of abuse, id rather have 18 year olds abusing alcohol rather than 15 year olds..

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I believe that the legal drinking age should NOT be lowered. coming from a military family i used to think if you could die for our country you should be able to sip a beer, however now Ive realized theirs an age for everything. And many people i have talked to in the military claim that if alcohol was legal when they were 18 they would most likely turn into alcoholics. if many of our service men and women became alcoholics that would not be good for us,

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    i wish australia would raise ours to 21 good on u america ;)

  • treehugger2012 7 years ago

    ur all crazy drinkin is just as bad 4 u as smokin

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I think the drinking age should stay as it is...especially since the talk of raising the driving age to 18 has kicked up. Why have them the same age? To me, that spells disaster

    (US)

  • dmf32835 7 years ago

    No, we shouldn't lower the drinking age to 18, but we also shouldn't be pushing for harsher penalties for minor's who have been caught taking a swig.

  • Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

    Interesting arguments. I live in New Zealand, where the legal age is 18 to purchase (I can buy alcohol for my own children at any age, even in restaurants.) The ages by country is interesting, but missing the side effect. By having a legal age of 18, it is in the high schools, so alcohol is now a 14 year old problem. We hear talk of raising the drinking age.

  • anonymous 7 years ago

    I think that it should stay the same because so many teens around the age of eighteen die of alcohol poisoning or just being under the influence and doing something stupid.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    Instead of alcohol being the forbidden fruit to 18 year olds, it will be the forbidden fruit to 16 year olds and we will have all the same problems with lower grades, binge drinking increasing, etc. except with those whose brain's are not fully developed and will have lasting damage. Do we really think high school seniors are not going to be buying for their younger classmates? New Zealand lowered their drinking age in 2006 and now is considering raising it because of the increased deaths. Sorry, but I don't want to see an increase in deaths of young people greater than the Iraq war caused just because we should be 'fair.' The drunk driving deaths in Europe are because they have much better public transportation - they have a greater amount of deaths than the US due to alcohol-related health problems.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    I believe that America should raise the drinking age to 25 because most of America that drinks is in college and it could effect their grades and ability to play sports if they play on a college team. When they are 25 they are out of college have their own life and their parents dont pay the bills anymore they pay their own and have a different life than they had when they were in college.

  • kab 8 years ago from Upstate, NY

    I understand the argument on a college campus, but the problem is that there are 18 year old high schoolers. For some (not all) kids, the fact that it is illegal is reason enough to avoid it.

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    no because kids will still find a way to get some alchol

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    Hell no you would have to be an idiot to oer the age!!!!!!!!!

  • anonymous 8 years ago

    we have rights

  • dc64 lm 8 years ago

    The arguement for lowering the age is based on a person being unable to control themselves at their teen-age years, so we should just allow them to drink legally? We already have to deal with many in America who do not take responsibilty for their actions, why condone this behavior and just cave in?