Should we lower the drinking age to 18?

Should we lower the drinking age to 18?

Tom Chema
on Oct 27, 2014

 

Earlier this year, I wrote an email about the drinking age that got national attention. In essence, from eleven years of serving as president of Hiram College, and looking at data on everything from sexual assaults to drunk driving, I believe this is the right time to lower the legal drinking age to 18.

 

I know that it's a controversial subject, but it's one that needs to be addressed. I’m here to discuss it with you.  You can add your thoughts below.

Conversation Starter

 

So what do you think?  Should you be able to legally drink at 18, or should the drinking age be kept at 21?  

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What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2017-06-23T22:28:15+00:00
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Max Reed
on Jun 21, 2017
"Yes. Although I'm handiest 16, I lived in Spain for three years, wherein legally I ought to drink..."
Javi navarro
on May 26, 2017
"I think kids would not drink before 21, but all we know that kids now drink at 13th."
Andy Pallotta
on Dec 12, 2016
"Given how American culture often treats alcohol as some sort of god-king and tends to ignore its..."
"In my openion it will be keep  at the age of 21. it is illegal to drink at the age of 18. Better..."
Mark Zetzer
on Oct 24, 2016
"Absolutely. If you can fight and die for you country in the military, then you can drink alcohol...."
Juan Pueblo
on Jul 07, 2016
"I think for beer is fine 16, but for drinks with more alcohol is better at 21"
Essentials Jewelry
on Oct 15, 2015
"Yes 21 is Perfect . In India it was 25 earlier but very recently it reduced to 21."
SEO Services India
on Oct 14, 2015
"I beileve 21 is fine. 18 year is too young . I beilve person get more matured at 21."
MynetPharma
on Aug 25, 2015
"the drinking age should be kept at 21?"
Patricia Saiger Limbacher
on Feb 02, 2015
"I think it might be worth exploring eliminating a drinking age entirely, and instead be..."
Patricia Saiger Limbacher
on Feb 02, 2015
"I am for lowering the drinking age to 18. "
David J.  Hanson
on Oct 28, 2014
"Actually, alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving drivers under the age of 21 had been going..."
Doc Oc
on Oct 28, 2014
"I find it interesting that people assume that making something legal is equal to promoting it...."
Dr. Jeff  Fisher
on Oct 28, 2014
"Since this will probably not happen because of the reasons already cited, let's pull an end run..."
Sandra Holmes
on Oct 28, 2014
"I wouldn't have any problems with lowering the drinking age as long as there was a way to..."
Scott Swan
on Oct 28, 2014
"The reason all states changed from 18 & 19 to 21 was because they were all going to lose..."
Scott Swan
on Oct 28, 2014
"I think the legal age should be 19.  At 18, you will have highschool students who want to do as..."
James Fell
on Oct 28, 2014
"Congress enacted the National Uniform Drinking Age 21 Act to protect the health and safety of the..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"David, when John McCardell was out soliciting signatures for the Amethyst Initiative, he ran into..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"I believe that by relying on an age limit to curb bad behavior--initially that of drunk driving,..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"Kurt, what you describe is already happening. Children, defined as those under 18, the Majority..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"Bringing back 3.2 beer is not a bad idea...if it opens the door to a saner policy than the..."
mark pichler
on Oct 28, 2014
"Not to get off track! But! We all need to stanf up for ourselves in what we believe in. There..."
mark pichler
on Oct 28, 2014
"The same things can be said about marijuana! There was a time when States allowed 5 joints for..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"See my earlier post, David. Ever been in a restaurant in Europe and noticed that families,..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"Actually, the age limit went down to 18in the early seventies, long before Reagan took office. It..."
David J.  Hanson
on Oct 28, 2014
"Criminalizing the consumption of alcohol among young adults actually promotes binge drinking..."
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014
"Young people already have access to alcohol, which is how they get to binge drink. But they do so..."
David J.  Hanson
on Oct 28, 2014
"A college president told me that he strongly favoed lowering the legal drinking age but that he..."
Tom Chema
on Oct 28, 2014
"Terrific comments, David. You have really identified the problem: how do we change our culture to..."
Javi navarro
on May 26, 2017 - 4:46 am

I think kids would not drink before 21, but all we know that kids now drink at 13th.

 
Andy Pallotta
on Dec 12, 2016 - 12:43 pm

Given how American culture often treats alcohol as some sort of god-king and tends to ignore its dangers, I think it would be irresponsible to lower the drinking age. Alcohol would have to be respected rather than deified before it could be legally accessed by more people.

 
Custom Essay writing service
on Nov 23, 2016 - 4:22 am

In my openion it will be keep  at the age of 21. it is illegal to drink at the age of 18. Better thing is to stop drinking at all. So  the life became better .

custom essay writing service

 
Mark Zetzer
on Oct 24, 2016 - 8:53 pm

Absolutely. If you can fight and die for you country in the military, then you can drink alcohol. 18 used to be the drinking age across America. And before that, there was no drinking age anywhere, nor were there drug prohibitions. When everything was legal, America didn't succomb to addiction, we were too busy being free and prosperous. Now the government regulates and taxes every aspect of our lives, and our economy and society are in decline as a result. It's time to maximize freedom again if we are to reclaim the blessings of liberty.

 
Juan Pueblo
on Jul 07, 2016 - 6:17 am

I think for beer is fine 16, but for drinks with more alcohol is better at 21

 
Essentials Jewelry
on Oct 15, 2015 - 6:15 am

Yes 21 is Perfect . In India it was 25 earlier but very recently it reduced to 21.

 
MynetPharma
on Aug 25, 2015 - 7:30 am

the drinking age should be kept at 21?

 

Responses(1)

SEO Services India
on Oct 14, 2015

I beileve 21 is fine. 18 year is too young . I beilve person get more matured at 21.

 
Expand This Thread
Patricia Saiger Limbacher
on Feb 02, 2015 - 7:01 pm

I think it might be worth exploring eliminating a drinking age entirely, and instead be interested in educating about moderation, responsibilities and accountability.

 

 
Patricia Saiger Limbacher
on Feb 02, 2015 - 6:40 pm

I am for lowering the drinking age to 18. 

 
Doc Oc
on Oct 28, 2014 - 6:59 pm

I find it interesting that people assume that making something legal is equal to promoting it.  Legalization is not promotion, it is decriminalization.  If you are that naive to think that having the legal drinking age at 21 keeps any under 21 year old from drinking, then you are far removed from reality.  The drinking age does not stop people from drinking and it doesn't stop drunk driving either.  It's an arbitray line.  There are bigger social/cultural issues at play here that cause college students and HS students to binge drink and do stupid things.  Criminalizing drinking does no good except ruin peoples lives.  Same goes for marijuana. 

 
Dr. Jeff  Fisher
on Oct 28, 2014 - 5:51 pm

Since this will probably not happen because of the reasons already cited, let's pull an end run stop the forced registration of men beginning at 18 with the Selective Service.  The colleges and universities are already accomplices in this and could show some backbone by mounting a campaign to stop it.  And, along with that how about the colleges and universities in our area establishing men's centers like, say, the one at Lakeland Community College and elsewhere (Gustavus Adolpus and Wagner College are other examples).  The reason is simple: it's the 21st Century. 

 
Sandra Holmes
on Oct 28, 2014 - 5:40 pm

I wouldn't have any problems with lowering the drinking age as long as there was a way to guarantee that 18 - 21 year olds would have no access to cars.  Every statistic points to the fact that raising the drinking age has cut traffic deaths in young people since the age was raised.  

"For example, before the 21 minimum legal drinking age was implemented by all states, underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal traffic crashes as today.3 - See more at: http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/why21/#sthash.suIvs316.dpuf"

 

Responses(1)

David J.  Hanson
on Oct 28, 2014

Actually, alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving drivers under the age of 21 had been going down before the legal drinking age was raised and has continued to fall. But, the same is also true of drivers of drivers of all other ages, for whom it was legal to drink both before and after the change in law.

 
Expand This Thread
Scott Swan
on Oct 28, 2014 - 4:12 pm

I think the legal age should be 19.  At 18, you will have highschool students who want to do as the seniors do...by lowering to 19, you remove the "legal" glamorization of alcohol use in a highschool setting.

 

Responses(1)

Scott Swan
on Oct 28, 2014

The reason all states changed from 18 & 19 to 21 was because they were all going to lose their state funding for road repairs & highway dollars.

 
Expand This Thread
James Fell
on Oct 28, 2014 - 3:11 pm

Congress enacted the National Uniform Drinking Age 21 Act to protect the health and safety of the public. The experience of other countries that have tried lowering the drinking age show that the federal government’s decision was a wise one. In 1999, New Zealand lowered its drinking age from 20 to 18. The result, according to a recent study, was a dramatic increase in automobile crashes. The rate of traffic crashes and injuries to 18- and 19-year-old males increased 12 percent and increased 14 percent for males aged 15 to 17. For females, the effect was even greater—rates increased 51 percent for 18- to 19-year-olds and 24 percent for 15- to 17-year-olds.

             If the minimum drinking age is lowered to 18 in the United States (U.S.), the result will be greater availability of alcohol not only to 18-20 year olds but also to those younger than 18. Studies in the U.S. have shown that lowering the drinking age to 18 also increases alcohol-related crashes for 15- to 17-year-olds.       

            Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA 21) laws save approximately 800-900 lives each year in reductions in traffic fatalities involving young drivers. Medical research shows that excessive drinking by youth aged 20 and younger may cause brain damage as well as reduce brain function. Early onset of drinking before age 21 increases the risk for future alcohol abuse, automobile crashes, and assaults, among other alcohol-related problems.

When the lives and wellbeing of so many young people are at stake it is appropriate for the federal government to step in and protect the public.  The National Uniform Drinking Age 21 Act has been a balanced, effective, and popular tool in helping to combat the many problems associated with youth drinking. Repealing it would be a grave mistake.

 
David J.  Hanson
on Oct 28, 2014 - 12:56 pm

Imagine that we prepared young people for driving the way we "prepare" them for drinking if they choose to do so when they become of age.

 

We would tell them that safe driving requires physical maturity and coordination, knowledge of rules of the road, driving experience that we wouldn't give them because they're not ready, and emotional maturity that they don't have.

 

Then, when they became of age, we issued them licenses and told them that it's much safer to take public transportation, that we hope they wouldn't drive, but if they do that they should be careful and try to stay out of accidents.

 

We should consider issuing drinking licenses to adults age 18, 19 and 20 who have completed a specified alcohol education course and who have not been found guilty of a state's alcohol laws.

 

Such licenses might be graduated, like learner's permits, so that restrictions could be lifted incrementally with successful compliance with all their many conditions.

 

What about the argument that alcohol damages young brains? Actually, there's no evidence that drinking in moderation damages developing brains. If it did most Italians, Jews, French, Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese and many others would be suffering mental defects. And the frequently-cited research on the subject uses rats and people who are alcohol abusers - not young people who consume in moderation.

 

What about the fact that those who begin drinking at an early age are more likely to experience drinking problems later in life. This correlation appears to result from pre-existing personality factors that have been identified. In addition, psychologists have been able to observe pre-schoolers and predict accurately which will begin drinking earlier and later have problems.

 

It's time to re-think our approach to alcohol education and public policy. Part of the solution might be the issuance of drinking learner permits to qualified adults age 18, 19 and 20.

 

 

Responses(1)

Tom Chema
on Oct 28, 2014

Terrific comments, David. You have really identified the problem: how do we change our culture to avoid excess? Not an easy task, but the current systen has not worked. We need to take the risk inherent in trying to improve the status quo.

 
Expand This Thread
Naomi Crepcia
on Oct 28, 2014 - 12:39 pm

Though 18 year olds are legally adults, we must consider the affects on public health if legal drinking age was lowered. Binge drinking is a major problem with young people, and underage drinking in general is associated with many health and social problems. Making alcohol available to a larger range of adolescents can lead to many more problems for 18-year-olds and those younger as well.

 

 

Responses(3)

Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014

Young people already have access to alcohol, which is how they get to binge drink. But they do so because they are drinking in an educational vacuum: there are no other, presumably older and wiser, adults present to monitor their drinking behavior, to tell them that that third beer is enough and to demonstrate that drinking can and should be done in a civilized manner. BY lowering the age, we allow those adults back into the space where young people are already drinking--or better we invite them into the civilized space where responsible drinkers don't do shots, don't get so intoxicated that they forget where they are and engage in a range of risky behaviors they wouldn't if they were in civil company.

 
David J.  Hanson
on Oct 28, 2014

Criminalizing the consumption of alcohol among young adults actually promotes binge drinking among them today just as it did among the general population during National Prohibition. People didn't have a leisurely beer at a speakeasy. They guzzled alcohol while they had the chance and to reduce the risk of arrest.

 
mark pichler
on Oct 28, 2014

The same things can be said about marijuana!

There was a time when States allowed 5 joints for a person to carry on them.

As to drinking age.

It puts us all in the middle as which 1 is really harmfull?

As I said in my other posts.

Plus! If someone wanted some thing bad enough!

They will find a way to get it.

We live in a time where if you think teaching them about morals!

Good luck!

I know with my daughter when she was underage.

I knew that in time she would find  a way to get it.

But at least when she did drink.

It ws in front of me so this way I know where she is nand not trying to fund a way to get it behind my back.

If there were the lesser of the 2 evils?

I would choose lower the drinking age because the young people are so advanced than we were in iur day!

Back then!

Drinking was not as much a big thing as it is today!

But! We knew how and where to get it!

 

 
Expand This Thread
mark pichler
on Oct 28, 2014 - 12:35 pm

During the Reagan Admin..

It was lowered to 18 but briefly.

This might have been because of Reagan himself wanted ot that way.

Reagan had such power in his time.

In the late 60's early 70's.

There was a slogan that read: "Draft beer!" "Not students!"

That was at a time when the Vietnam war was still going strong.

Perhaps it is time to rethink it!

 

Responses(2)

Tom Chema
on Oct 28, 2014

Actually, Mark, it was during the Reagan Administration thatCongress enacted the uniform age of 21. This was done by denying Federal dollars for state highway projects if the state did not raise the drinking age to 21. This law was passed in 1984. It took 3 years, but by 1987 all of the states fell in line and thus the uniform 21 drinking age.  There is very little data to support the theory that the law  has  contributed to the decline in drunken driving - its original goal. And lots of  evidence that the unintended consequence of the law has contributed to a culture of drinking in excess.

 
Barrett Seaman
on Oct 28, 2014

Actually, the age limit went down to 18in the early seventies, long before Reagan took office. It was under Reagan in 1984 that it was raised back up to 21 for all 50 states.

 
Expand This Thread
mark pichler
on Oct 28, 2014 - 12:14 pm

From my years when I was a teen. A lot of retailers went by looks and with me.

It was very easy to buy high powered beverages because of it.

And none of them ased me for ID.

Today! I see the very samething happen!

Retailers know that high powered beverages make up for what they do not make a profit on as in food, snacks so on.

Young people will find a way or a place they know they can buy them w/o ID'ing. 

Then the word spreads.

If young people are going to drink.

Then bring back the 1