Most young people in the United States use alcohol more than tobacco and other illicit
drugs. Statistics show that over 10 million people in the United States are underage drinkers,
whereby 57% of them are in high school, and the rest are college students (White and Rabiner
47). Almost every college student is always excited about turning 18, as they know they will not
have to hide anymore when buying alcohol. Lowering the drinking age may have various
advantages and limitations. Apart from the known health effects of alcohol and increased
accidents, lowering the drinking age will also end the overgrown culture of abuse and
secretiveness that has been highly contributed by underage drinking. If done correctly,
decreasing the drinking age will be a great decision whose benefits will outweigh the limitations
(Carpenter and Dobkin 56).
Lowering the drinking age could bring some risks and adverse effects on the consumers
and society in general. First, a massive part of the population will be allowed to visit bars and
nightclubs whose environments are not always safe. Above 76% of the bars sell alcohol to
intoxicated persons (White and Rabiner 48). Most of the drivers arrested or killed in car crashes
due to alcohol drink at licensed establishments. Environments surrounding such bars and
nightclubs or any other places selling alcohol experience extreme assaults and very violent
criminal activities. Therefore, the safety of such areas is deficient, and hence, many people may
suffer various accidents and can even get killed in the process.
Lowering the drinking age will also encourage more teens to use other illicit drugs such
as tobacco and bhang. Research has proved that a person who starts drinking alcohol at an early
age is likely to begin using other illegal drugs as well. Therefore, lowering the Minimum Legal
Drinking Age is expected to increase the number of young people between 18-21 years old who
use other illicit drugs (White and Rabiner 50).
Traffic accidents and other alcohol-related accidents will highly increase in lowering the
drinking age from 21 to 18. 98% of the traffic accidents have been found to have been caused by
illegal drinking ages which is below 21 (Carpenter and Dobkin 61). However, since the drinking
age was at 21, traffic accidents and fatalities have been reduced by a third, thus saving over
thirty-one thousand lives in the past five years.
On the other hand, lowering the drinking age may also bring various advantages to the
people. First of all, it would allow young people aged 18-20 years to buy and consume alcohol in
safe and regulated environments (Hanson et al. 17). Most high school and college students below
21 years drink alcohol in unsupervised areas such as parties where their safety is deficient. Binge
drinking is also most likely to occur in such areas. Therefore, lowering the drinking age will
increase their safety as they can visit any regulated place to buy alcohol. They can also
comfortably seek medical attention in case of any injuries they get as a result of alcohol-related
accidents without being afraid of the criminal consequences behind their illegal activities.
At the age of 18, one is an adult in the United States and in most of the other countries.
Also, all adults have the same rights. They can make their own decisions about how they want
their lives to be. They all receive rights and responsibilities of being an adult such as voting,
signing contracts, starting their own families, and even being a part of the military (Hanson, et al.
19). They should also get the right to decide what they want about alcohol consumption the same
way they have all these other rights. If they are going to risk their lives, then it should be left
unto them to make the decision.
Decreasing the drinking age from 21 to 18 is likely to bring more respect and compliance
with other United States laws. A lot of young people below the age of 21 still consume alcohol
regardless of the minimum drinking age being 21. It does not enforce the minimum legal
drinking age law of 21 properly. This non-compliance may bring disrespect to other US laws,
which is not a good image to the people (Carpenter and Dobkin 67).
Lowering the Minimum Legal Drinking Age will be a perfect opportunity for the
government since it will be able to raise its revenue. The number of people legally visiting
licensed bars and restaurants will increase, which will, in turn, increase the amount of tax
collected from business owners by the government (Hanson et al. 29). A lot of high school
students also go out during the summer. They will be able to attend various bands and concerts
where they can legally consume alcohol without having to hide. It also provides the government
with funds in the form of taxes to fund its projects.
From the above illustrations, it is evident that lowering the drinking age will have more
advantages to the people involved and society in general. The safety of young people will be
significantly improved. If it is incorporated correctly, it would be a very significant decision to
make. Educating young people on responsible behavior while drinking would also help in
reducing the adverse effects associated with it.
Carpenter, Christopher, and Carlos Dobkin. "The Minimum Legal Drinking Age and Morbidity
in the United States." Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 99, no. 1, 2017, pp. 95-
Hanson, Glen R., et al. Drugs and Society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2014.
White, Helene R., and David L. Rabiner. College Drinking and Drug Use. Guilford P, 2011.