You are here

lower drinking age in USA?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26320912/?GT1=43001

Opinions?

I think it should be lowered.  As far as I know, 21 is the highest legal drinking age in the world.  You're legally an adult at 18, can vote, can be drafted, etc., but can't drink?

I agree with the part of the article that says people might be less likely to binge drink when they get to college if they start drinking when they still live with their parents.  It's really not that hard to drink underage anyway.  Making it legal means people might be less sneaky about it and more likely to do it responsibly.

I know some European countries allow beer and wine around 16, and spirits around 18.  I think that's a good system.

i wonder if brain development has anything to do with it, I know that sometimes boys can be maturing until they are 21, and i wonder what affect alcohol can have on their brain development.  now girls, we develop faster... so maybe the drinking age can just be lower for us : )  just kidding. 

if it didnt have an affect on brain development, i would be all for lowering the age.  i think it would lessen binge drinking problems for people before and while 21.  i think after that year, the excitement dies down a bit.

0 likes

The thing that worries me about lowering the drinking age is, a lot of high schoolers are 18, where as virtually no high schoolers are 21.  As soon as seniors turn 18, it becomes very easy for their younger friends in high school to get booze from them.  Not to say that high schoolers don't get their hands on booze anyway if they really want to, but having high schoolers of legal age makes it so much more accessible and "OK."  Alcohol does not belong in a high schooler's hands, in my opinion.

On the flip side, in countries with a lower drinking ages, drinking is more casual and social.  Not this illusive thing that teenagers feel so driven to get and go crazy with just because it's off limits.  So there's that.  But is it healthier that way, in the long run?  Not really. 

As far as binge drinking centered around 21, that would just shift toward 18, in my opinion.

I don't know, I'm torn about this one.  But I am not a ig fan of drinking in general, so I tend to sway toward the "leave it at 21" end of the spectrum.

0 likes

Technically, the brain doesn't stop "growing" 'till age 25 or so, though most of it is done by age 21, which is why the US drinking age is 21. I think it also has to do with detering drunk driving. But it wasn't until sometime in the late 70's that the drinking age across all states went up to 21. In some states it was 16, in most it was 18. Then the National Gov't kinda blackmailed the states to raise it to 21 by with holding $$$ for road infrastructure if they didn't! History lesson done. Personally, I don't see any states really making the move to lose national $$ and lower the legal drinking age any time soon.

0 likes

I don't know, my parents could drink at 18, my ex-husband could get lower alcohol content beer when he was 18. I don't think they had anymore problems or concerns back then than we do now..in fact, I think they probably had less as it wasn't the "Forbidden fruit" alcohol is now. I have always thought it was ridiculous that you can fight and die for your country..but you can't have a beer. Makes no sense to me.

0 likes

But I am not a big fan of drinking in general, so I tend to sway toward the "leave it at 21" end of the spectrum.

Yep. I don't think I'm swaying though. haha, no pun intended!

0 likes

In Australia, the drinking age is 18.  I came here for the first time as an exchange student when I was 20, so I was still around plenty of 18-year-olds (albeit all college students).  While I think most people here still go through the "OMG, getting drunk is SO COOL!" phase, I think the fact that it's less of a social taboo makes people a little more responsible.  Even in high school (from what I've heard), they mostly limited themselves to weekends instead of whenever their parents weren't watching.  And I also think that the lower drinking age means you get over it sooner, so by the time they're about 22 it's not that exciting anymore.

Also here, they don't get a full driver's license until they're 21.  They get a learner's permit at 16, then 2 phases of provisional licenses which have lower blood alcohol limits than a full license.  And the blood alcohol limit is 0.05 even for a fully licensed driver (in AZ it's 0.08, and used to be 0.1 when I was in my teens).  So drunk driving is less common here also.  It seems like drunk driving is one of the main arguments for not lowering the age in the US (at least from that article).

Just my personal observations.  :)

For some reason, 21 is still a huge birthday here.  I don't think I'll ever understand that.

0 likes

That's interesting, permanentgrin!  That's one thing I noticed when I studied in the UK.  They were very un-excited about drinking even though they were young.  They got over it.  It's good that they get over it without having a full license as well.

0 likes

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26320912/?GT1=43001
I know some European countries allow beer and wine around 16, and spirits around 18.  I think that's a good system.

I went to Ireland with a group of kids under age 21 for a study abroad 2 years ago and they went crazy at the young drinking age.  I can't tell you how many times one of them puked on the bus because they'd been heavily drinking at the pubs the night before.  Personally I don't get the appeal.  I think I had a total of two beers before age 21 and even after reaching the legal age rarely drank.  I think it's been almost 10 years since I've had any alcohol.  I just don't like the taste.  Although I guess I should confess to buying alcohol when I went to Spain at 18.  I brought home a bottle of peach schnapp's that my mom enjoyed without giving me any.  :)  I bought it because I could. 

As far as the lowering the drinking age...I think they should.  I think it's a bit ridiculous that you can't buy beer but you're responsible enough and old enough to be in the military at age 18.

0 likes

I first got drunk at 14 and used to make my own beer with a friend when we were 16. Pretty horrible stuff, we'd start to brew it on a Monday and drink it on Saturday. It used to be easier for us to get liquor than 3.2 beer (the legal standard for 18-yr. olds at the time) because all we'd have to do was drive around town until we found someone willing to buy it for us. When we turned 18 we'd buy our own beer, but it was too much trouble to try to buy liquor. I think 21 is a ridiculous age limit, all it does is encourage teenagers to break the law.

0 likes

Technically, the brain doesn't stop "growing" 'till age 25 or so, though most of it is done by age 21, which is why the US drinking age is 21. I think it also has to do with detering drunk driving. But it wasn't until sometime in the late 70's that the drinking age across all states went up to 21. In some states it was 16, in most it was 18. Then the National Gov't kinda blackmailed the states to raise it to 21 by with holding $$$ for road infrastructure if they didn't! History lesson done. Personally, I don't see any states really making the move to lose national $$ and lower the legal drinking age any time soon.

Actually, for that very same reason, adolescent brains are actually supposed to be BETTER at handling intoxication than adult brains. Besides, the idea that the government is making these laws because it cares about people's health is. quite frankly, a joke.  I'm referring to that thread the other day about that legislation passed in the 80s that declared beef an "essential" part of the all-American diet ( in addition to our prohibition of pot as "dangerous" while declaring whiskey an acceptable social relaxant). Either way, the law is unenforceable the way it is. The government can't even stop the quality and availability marijuana from increasing year after year, how does anyone expect them to stop the illegal sale of an otherwise legal substance?

0 likes

now girls, we develop faster... so maybe the drinking age can just be lower for us : )  just kidding. 

used to be that way in Oklahoma, and a couple of other states I think. Girls 18, boys 21. Didn't stop many boys!

0 likes

now girls, we develop faster... so maybe the drinking age can just be lower for us : )  just kidding. 

used to be that way in Oklahoma, and a couple of other states I think. Girls 18, boys 21. Didn't stop many boys!

realy??? oh wow.  haha.  yeah i cant imagine that actually working.

0 likes

now girls, we develop faster... so maybe the drinking age can just be lower for us : )  just kidding. 

used to be that way in Oklahoma, and a couple of other states I think. Girls 18, boys 21. Didn't stop many boys!

realy??? oh wow.  haha.  yeah i cant imagine that actually working.

yeah I thought it was pretty idiotic too. Oklahoma only had 3.2 beer at the time, so everyone would drink a six-pack apiece. You really have to drink a LOT of 3.2 beer to feel an effect, it's not much stronger than lemonade.

0 likes

Here in the UK it's 18 and to be honest I've always favoured your system of a higher drinking age. I'm only 22 but I've never been "into" alcohol, and have seen so many of my friends trying to fit in by getting drunk, it just makes me sad. When I was at uni I got a call from my flatmates friend - she'd gone out drinking and almost drunk herself unconscious and "could I pick her up"...

So many young teenagers are binge drinking: some as young as 12 or 13 in the poorer areas. Mainly kids start at about 15-16. We are fairly strict on who we sell alcohol to (eg in shops/ bars etc), but it's still easy for them to get hold of in smaller off-licenses or obtain fake ID. We now have a policy whereby shops are only allowed to sell you alcohol without ID if you look over 21. We've also had our age for purchasing cigarettes raised to 18 which is about time!!

The binge drinking culture over here makes me sick. I lived in Manchester city centre whilest at uni and the state of the people I saw on nights out shocked me. We have no control over here and people have lost all sense on reality - it's just a drink!!

0 likes

Lowering the drinking age always seems like a good idea, or at least fair.  You can do pretty much anything you want by the time you're 18 that you should be able to drink a beer legally.  Then I look at the under 21 crowd and I don't see much responsibility there to be able to properly gauge the effects alcohol has on the body and be able to consume moderate amounts of alcohol...

0 likes

Lowering the drinking age always seems like a good idea, or at least fair.  You can do pretty much anything you want by the time you're 18 that you should be able to drink a beer legally.  Then I look at the under 21 crowd and I don't see much responsibility there to be able to properly gauge the effects alcohol has on the body and be able to consume moderate amounts of alcohol...

This is pretty much where I stand, too....I mean, 18 seems to be this magic number that determines responsibility and a "coming of age," yet handling alcohol is almost arbitrarily deemed a "greater" responsibility that only three extra years can bring. It's kind of silly....You can buy a dangerous weapon at 18, but you still can't buy a potentially dangerous substance for another three years.

But then, yes, I see plenty of people who really can't handle alcohol responsibly in their late teens. But further, I see plenty of early twenty-somethings being just as irresponsible....it's tough, really.....how do you determine when people CAN be trusted with such a responsibility? Some 16-year-olds could be a helluvalot more responsible than some 30-year-olds, but how do we determine this magic number for EVERYONE? It's damn near impossible to say.

0 likes

I know I'm late getting in on this thread, but I just have to say that although I agree that some 18 year olds can be immature, so can most 21 year olds! And, having been in the military for 10 years, I don't agree that your old enough to die for your country at 18 (17 with consent), yet not old enough to have a beer, it takes alot more responsibilty to handle an M-16 and life and death in your hands than a drink.  I went to Iraq a couple of years ago, and we had a couple of 18 year olds who couldn't even have a toast with the rest of our unit at an Army bar before shipping off to war...pretty sad. Maybe they could lower it on military posts?

0 likes

We now have a policy whereby shops are only allowed to sell you alcohol without ID if you look over 21.

The policy at the store I worked at was to ask for ID if the person looked under 30.  Personally I asked everyone for their ID even if they had gray hair and false teeth.  I pissed off some people but there was no way that I was going to get busted for selling to underage buyers  Most of the time though people, especially women, got excited that they had to show ID.

0 likes
Log in or register to post comments