The legal drinking age should be lowered to educate youth


Kernel Opinion SIG

Kelsie Kennedy

Lowering the legal drinking age would encourage young people to honestly discuss their drinking habits and encourage a healthier mindset.

The United States has one of the oldest legal drinking ages in the world, set at age 21. This age is typically beat only by predominantly Muslim countries, which outlaw alcohol due to religious purposes.

Sixty-one percent of countries have a drinking age of 18 or 19.  Many countries, such as Bolivia and Indonesia, do not even have a drinking age. Rather, their citizens can purchase and consume it at any time during their life. Statistics such as these lead many to ask if America should lower its drinking age.

In several ways, having a high drinking age can actually be more dangerous. We all see that the law does not keep many people from partaking before they are of age. It does not even make it much harder to purchase because many young people have friends who are of age.

What it does do is influence teenagers to consume high proof alcohol for their first several drinking experiences. Liquor is cheaper, lessens the time it takes to get drunk, is easier to sneak into a dorm room and is easy to dilute with juice or soda.

For these reasons, many do not substitute liquor with beer until they are of legal drinking age.  The issue is that by inherently encouraging young people to consume alcohol with a higher proof, many Americans develop the mindset that alcohol is for getting intoxicated.  This excess can lead to alcoholism, drunk driving and alcohol poisoning.               

America has a tremendous swept-under-the-rug idea of its alcohol problems.  Many admit that they drank underage or have purchased alcohol for a minor. If the drinking age is not keeping young people from consuming alcohol, then would it not make sense to lower the drinking age so more people can be educated on drinking in general?