Huge Debate Worldwide: Minimum Legal Drinking Age

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In all 50 states, the minimum legal drinking age is 21 years old. However, some exceptions do exist on a state-by-state basis for consumption at home, under adult supervision, for medical necessities, and other reasons. After all, if 18 years olds can serve our country, buy tobacco products and legally be considered an adult, then why can’t they buy and consume alcohol? The drinking age of 21 years old has not stopped teen drinking, but instead, has progressively increased it.

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Internationally, the average age at which drinking alcohol first occurs is 12 years old. About 80% of young people begin drinking alcoholic beverages regularly at age 15 or younger. That’s according to the World Health Organization (WHO) (Hanson).

In today’s society, lowering the drinking age to 18 years old would help young adults to have more accountability for their actions and make better decisions.

Let’s begin with why the legal drinking age should be lowered. As stated before, if 18 year olds can serve our country, vote, buy tobacco products, and legally become an adult, then why can’t they purchase and consume alcohol? 18 is the age of adulthood in the United States, and adults should have the right to make their own decisions about alcohol consumption. You are always hearing about underage drinking; especially college and high school parties. Over 60 percent of high school seniors already drink once a week according to the University of Iowa Health Care. Congress should lower the drinking age because it will allow for teens to become educated through experience on how to drink responsibly (Gilchrist). In 2008 a group of university and college presidents expressed their discontent with the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years by signing on to the Amethyst Initiative, a much publicized advocacy effort to encourage public debate about lowering the drinking age.

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