A New Age

May 17, 2013
By Kaya Nies BRONZE, Columbia, Missouri
Kaya Nies BRONZE, Columbia, Missouri
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In America, the legal drinking age is 21. This age is too high. Many people want it to be lowered. This is right thing to do, although some agree that 21 is reasonable. There needs to be a solution to this problem that will satisfy both parties. The drinking age needs to be lowered to 18. Many other rights are obtained at age 18, the brain is very far along in development, and it works for other countries that have lower crime rates.

The majority of your rights come at age 18. The NY Times points out, “although our laws acknowledge that at age 18 young adults possess sufficient maturity and judgment to operate a motor vehicle, serve in the military, perform jury duty or sign a contract, those same laws deny 18-year-olds the right to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol.”a This is just one example of how hypocritical our laws are. Most teens are drinking at that age anyways. As James Torr writes in Alcoholism, “61% of teenagers in the nation have had a drink in the last month.” That would no longer be a problem with a lower age. When you turn 18, you are trusted with a variety of new responsibilities. Holding off 3 more years for alcohol alone is unreasonable.

However, many people approve the legal age of 21. It is widely thought that alcohol leads to other drugs. James Torrr states in Alcoholism that “Alcohol is the most commonly used gateway drug by adolescents.” Many people believe that alcohol will lead a teenager into a whole new world filled with hard drugs. Granted, if the brain is developed enough to do other things such as tobacco, alcohol should be no different. Studies show that the brain is mostly developed by age 18. According to the Oxford Journals, “Cerebral volume never changes significantly across this age range.” This clearly admits that the brain is almost full grown. These facts make it apparent that teens are prepared mentally to drink well before age 21.

Plenty of other countries have a lower age, and it works wonders for them. John McCardell in the NY Times points out that “The US is only one out of four countries with an age as high as 21. All others have no minimum age, or have a lower age, generally 18.” Why are the United States so different from the rest? All teens accused of underage drinking would no longer be considered criminals if it was legal for them to drink. Countries with a lower age also have a much lower crime rate. Statistics gathered from nationmaster.com compare US to France, where the drinking age is 18. Drug offences in France are 176.1 per 100,000 people while in US they are 560.1 per 100,000 people. Total crimes a year in France are 3,771,850 while in US they are up to 11,877,218. There is a noticeable difference between the two. Based on examples from other nations, a lower drinking age is safer.

In America, the drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18. Because it fits in the category of other rights at 18, the brain growth is far along, and other countries that have it produce a lower crime rate each year. The United States should make a law lowering the legal drinking age to 18 because it is sensible, reasonable, and will help make our nation a safer place and its teen citizens more responsible.

The author's comments:
Learning that our country is one of the only countries that has a drinking age so high, I thought it didn't make sense for us to be so different from everyone else.

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