Opinion: Legal Drinking Age Should Be Lowered

The question as to whether states should lower drinking age from 21 to 18 has stirred a controversial debate across the country. Drinking at an earlier age may promote many problems such as drinking and driving, partying and other erratic behaviors among teenagers.

However, teenagers will drink no matter what the law states, and restricting it will only cause more defiance and push the problem behind shadows.

Many states such as Kentucky, Missouri, Minnesota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Vermont are considering lowering the legal drinking age. The presidents of more than 100 colleges and university are supporting this idea as well. However, the Congress has voted to reduce highway funds to states that lower the drinking age below 21, so states cannot lower the drinking age without losing federal money.

Former Middlebury College President John McCardell wants this law changed so that states can decide for themselves what the best drinking age is. McCardell criticizes the law which encourages a culture of binge drinking. The problem should be approached with a different method. Presidents of 20 more colleges and universities have added their names to the Amethyst Initiative, and they will begin their approach to the public.

Their efforts are met with great opposition, however, as 77 percent of Americans resist the idea of lowering the drinking age. Supporters of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are also against it and claim it will promote more car crashes and jeopardize the lives of teenagers. They believe that instead of lowering the drinking age, states should restrict it even more vigorously.

It all comes down to the matter of responsibility in the end. Are people old enough to go to war and vote for their next president, not responsible enough to drink?

The truth is, the law cannot prevent teenagers from drinking. Therefore, it is better for teenagers to drink in a controlled environment than under shadows. Sometimes, teenagers drink just to break the law and show defiance against the society, and tightening the law will only cause them to deviate from the right path.

Shari Roan, “Should States Lower the Drinking Age?” LA Times, August 26, 2008 <http://www.latimes.com&gt;

Justin Pope, “Drinking Age Debate Spreading,” TIME, August 26, 2008 <http://www.time.com&gt;

Veronique de Turenne, “Whittier college president wants to lower legal drinking age,” LA Times, August 26, 2008 <http://www.latimes.com&gt;


This opinion was written by Charlene Choo. The views of this author are solely those of the author and does not reflect the opinion of the staff or the Temple City Voice. This was published in the August 27, 2008 issue of the Temple City Voice.


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