What is the significance of the number twenty-one? Is twenty-one the magical age when you are officially declared ?mature?? Why is it then, that when you turn eighteen, you are able to fight for your country? The drinking age should be lowered from twenty-one to eighteen, because if you are old enough to die for your country and help make decisions for your country, than you are old enough, among many other things, to have a drink in your country. The drinking age should be eighteen, because eighteen is the age when most things are considered legal. At eighteen, you can fight for your country, vote in elections, legally get married, and smoke cigarettes.
When a soldier is forced to go to war, there is a chance that he might not come back. If you fight for your country, sometimes not even knowing why, you should be able to have a beer. If you can vote for a candidate in an election, than why can?t you drink? Most people who vote are mature and smart enough to know whom he/she wants to vote for. If somebody is mature enough to vote, than they should be old enough to drink. Some people aren?t mature enough to get married, but they do. But, is it fair that a couple be married and have children, yet not be able to drink and have a good time together? Smoking is considered a sin to some people, as is drinking. They should go hand in hand with each other. If you can smoke, you can drink. If you can drink, you can smoke. Although, there are many differences between the two, like cigarettes don?t make you stumble all around the place and puke on things, you still can get addicted to both alcohol and nicotine, so why not make an official age where both are considered legal? With the drinking age being at twenty-one, underage drinkers have to sneak around the law and their parents just to drink. This devious activity does not promote safe and responsible drinking practices. It gives the idea that you will have to sneak around the rest of your life and do things behind people?s backs.
Critics will argue that at eighteen, you are not ?mature? enough to act on your own. It is impossible to judge maturity. Everybody matures at a different rate, both physically and mentally. Yet, in general, the United States gives us the idea that we are mature enough at eighteen to live on our own. This is the age where most teens come into adulthood. Whether people leave for college or for the military, they are most likely leaving the house for the first time. In response to those critics, teens must learn how to act responsible. They must take the responsibility and make the decision on how they are going to spend the rest of their lives. The only way they will learn is by experimentation. In school, you have to experiment to find out how you can be the best student you can be. This is the same as far as drinking goes. You have to find how different you act when drinking, and what and how much you can handle when drinking, and learn from that so you will know next time.
Other critics state that the lowering of the drinking age would produce nothing but trouble. They say that it would create a dramatic increase in the alcohol-related deaths across America. This may be true, but if today?s teens were given the opportunity to drink with respect and responsibility, and our society focused on teaching teens safe drinking habits, these problems could be avoided. European countries are a perfect example of this idea. In Europe, teens have been greatly educated on the subject of safe drinking and drinking in moderation. In countries like Spain and France, the overall consumption of alcohol is greater than that of the United States, but they experience a much smaller rate of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. This could be a correlation to the education they received at a young age.
In schools, we learn about alcohol abuse, but not to the full effect that we should be learning about it. The government should spend more time and money on educating teens about the problems and effects of alcohol. In turn, this might create a responsible drinking society in the future. Everybody knows that if somebody is told not to do something, they will go out and do it anyway, just to prove a point. It is like Adam and Eve and the tree of the forbidden fruit. The sheer temptation and curiosity can cause anybody to break the rules and ignore all warnings.
Another idea would be to issue a drinking license to teens between the ages of eighteen and twenty. The absolute drinking age could still be twenty-one, but the teens that wish to drink between these ages, must obtain a license in order to do so. It could be like a driver license in that you have to pass some sort of an exam, to earn their license. There could be a set fee for these classes and the money collected in these classes, could go to a fund and help people who are suffering from alcoholism and alcohol-related problems.
Even with the age of drinking set at twenty-one, many teens drink anyway. In today?s society, especially in the college scene, much of the authority of the university and local police is concentrated on stopping underage drinking. Underage drinking is not a serious crime. If the drinking age was lowered to eighteen, police officers could spend less of their time worrying about petit underage drinking crimes and more time on stopping the real criminals.