In most countries of the world, the legal drinking age is 18 years. Although young people are thought to be adults at such an age, they are prohibited to legally consume alcohol. In the United States, the legal drinking age is 21 years. Even though at this age a person is considered adult, some of the activities are prohibited to him/her. Some people claim that it violates their right to drink at any age they want. Surely, there are certain positive and negative sides of decreasing the legal drinking age to less than 21 years similarly to what is happening in most countries worldwide. The pros and cons of decreasing legal drinking age will be discussed as follows.
As for the advantages of changing the legal drinking age, it should be mentioned that a number of states do not prohibit underage individuals to drink alcohol. It is claimed by the supporters of the theory that the drinking age should be lowered that in almost 30 states in the United States drinking is already allowed to those individuals who reached the age of 18. This usually takes place on private lands and is carried out under the parental supervision. Furthermore, around half of the states do not prohibit the consumption of alcohol in case it is done for certain religious purposes. What is more, around 10 states do not prohibit underage persons to drink alcohol in case it is done for experimental purposes. Such a situation leads to an assumption that most states do not prohibit to drink alcohol even if a person has not reached 21 years of age.
Furthermore, it is claimed that accidents on the road and associated fatal consequences happen to drinkers of any age. According to the statistics, a great number of accidents happen to people aged between 21-25 years. This means that it does not really matter whether a person has come of age or not. Accidents tend to happen any way. Furthermore, one can give no evidence that the increase of the drinking age to 21 years will lead to the decrease of traffic accidents. In fact, the rates of fatal cases on the road in the United States are much higher than in other countries where the legal drinking age is 18 years.
On the other hand, there are some counterarguments to decreasing the drinking age to 18 years. First, such a measure might negatively influence the growth and development of a person. The person’s body keeps on developing up until the age of 21. It especially concerns the mental health of an individual. Drinking alcohol greatly affects the functioning of the brain, so that the decrease of drinking age to 18 years might pose a threat of chronic diseases and various mental health deviations.
Furthermore, drinking of alcohol is not the only right that is given to an individual at the age of 21 in the United States and other countries. There are a number of activities that are prohibited at the age of 18, although those who have reached the age of 21 are allowed to do many things that are generally prohibited to underage persons. This involves gambling, child adoption, buying a weapon and many other activities. There are individuals who are not allowed to rent a vehicle up until 25 years of age. Furthermore, it is not allowed to participate in presidential elections until the age of 35 years. Finally, the decrease of the legal drinking age might lead to the increased rates of intoxication among young people.
So is it appropriate to lower the legal drinking age to 18 years? Some states find it a necessary measure, while others do not find it appropriate. In such a way, the debates over the legal drinking age have all chances to continue.