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Old Enough for War, Old Enough For Alchohol

Once 18, men and women can vote, buy land, serve on a jury, and even sacrifice their lives for their country in war, yet they are not allowed to consume beer for another 3 years. Thanks to these overbearing and harsh laws America’s youth is forced to drink illegally at the former drinking age of 18. In fact the U.S. is one of the only countries that has the drinking age set this high, almost all of Europe is 16 or 18 when they are allowed to legally drink. Studies have even shown that youths who are exposed to alcohol positively at an early age tend to not engage in alcohol abuse and only drink in moderation. Another major argument for lowering the drinking age is the fact that kids are educated about alcohol while in high school, however they can not drink until they are well into college( for most this is at least a 4 year gap between when they learn of the dangers of alcohol and when it is legally consumed). Politicians of America must open their eyes to the facts, and realize that America needs a lower drinking age to save our youth from the dangers of alcohol.
In spite of strict drinking laws many minors continue to consume alcohol throughout most of their teenage years. While the number of overall minors drinking has gone down, binge drinking has greatly increased within the last 25 years. In a national survey taken between 1993-2001 reported cases of excessive and dangerous drinking has increased from 15% to 19% of all teenagers. It is believed that this may be because of the inaccessibility of alcohol to teenagers, so that when it is obtainable they drink as much as possible. Others argue that still overall drinking has gone down which outweighs binging going up; even though this is most likely not due to the high drinking age. What most surveys don’t take into account is the fact that alcohol education has also gone up since the new drinking age was set. Kids are being taught of the dangers of alcohol at a young age, and learn to wait until they are old enough. But how old is old enough? While most wait until later years they still begin drinking within the first few years of college, when it is still illegal at 20. If the legal age was lowered to 18 students would have more experience with beer before going off to college and not be as influenced by peer pressure to binge drink.
Many Americans feel that Europeans should take shame in allowing their youth to drink at such a young age, while in actuality younger Europeans tend to be more mature then their American equivalents when it comes drinking. It is not only Europe in fact most of the world allows their children to consume alcohol between 16 and 19, the United States is one of the only countries with the drinking age set at 21 (the only other countries being India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan). Yet, we still have the one of the highest intoxication rates for teenagers in the entire world. Does this not prove that the current age is ineffective? There is no evidence that the raising of the drinking age has directly stopped any alcohol related problems, people say that drunk driving has gone down since the establishment of the new law. But, since the legal drinking age has gone up the number of teenagers using designated drivers in order to get home has also increased. Teens have become smart and clearly know the dangers of alcohol, and wish to practice responsible drinking. Tempting teenagers with the “forbidden fruit” of alcohol for years has only succeeded in forcing minors to participate in illegal activity, in order to help America’s youth we must first follow the example set by the rest of the world.

Turning 18 means you become an adult in eyes of the U.S. government. Once an adult there is no more crying to Mommy and Daddy; you become responsible for your actions. According to the law, the mistakes made are nobody’s fault but your own, so if you can make your own choices, why can you not make the choice to drink? Why should the age of maturity not coincide with the age for the consumption of alcohol? The United States Constitution states in the 26th Amendment that “The rights of citizens of the US, who are 18 years of age, or older to vote shall not be denied… on account of age.” This proves the government’s definition of adulthood is 18 and that the law is not allowed to deny citizens their rights once reaching 18. We must come together as a nation in order to fix this injustice, and save our constitutional rights.
Is old enough for war, old enough for alcohol? With America being a loner in having their drinking age set at 21, why not follow the working example followed by the rest of the world? Alcohol Education has greatly increased within the states and is at record highs, more kids know how to safely drink now. Those who drink know use designated drivers and chose to drink in later years. People are now more aware of the effects of alcohol and it is illogical to keep the current drinking age at 21. Maturity is reached when one turns 18, and they become endowed with all the responsibilities of adulthood, a person who can die for their country is entitled to a few drinks.





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