DEBATE: U.S. drinking age should be lowered

Aguirre is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science.


See the other half of the debate by W. Tucker Keene.

Drinking is part of the social atmosphere at college. Alcohol is served at parties, students go out to drink or they relax at home with a couple friends and a few beers. This social environment becomes a problem when most college students are under 21. The solution isn’t to crack down on underage drinking. The legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 years.

Some will say that 18 is too young of an age. 18-year-olds aren’t responsible enough and they can’t control themselves. While this may be true of some 18-year-olds (just as it’s true of some 21-year-olds), we can trust most of them to make smart decisions. Besides, look at all the other things we trust 18-year-olds to do.

One, we trust them to vote. Someone who is 18 can choose the future president of the United States, but can’t have a drink.

Two, we trust them to drive —they have been since they were 16. Think about this. An 18-year-old can legally control a 3,000-pound machine that can hit speeds of 90 plus miles an hour, but can’t have a drink.

Three, we trust them to enlist in the military or to be drafted. An 18-year-old can be sent to fight for her country overseas, but can’t have a drink.

Four, we trust them to manage their finances. Many students have rent to pay. Some with the help of parents but some not. Others have to work to pay tuition or they have earned their way with scholarships. An 18-year-old can be evicted from an apartment for not paying rent, but can’t have a drink.

Five, we trust them to make medical decisions. An 18-year-old is completely in control of what treatments she wants to pursue. If she needs a tooth pulled, it’s her signature of consent the dentist needs. If she’s diagnosed with cancer, it’s completely her call whether she wants to do chemotherapy. An 18-year-old can consent to open heart surgery, but can’t have a drink.

In addition, lowering the drinking age would take away some of the added dangers of underage drinking. Students will feel less compelled to binge drink at parties or other social occasions. Because they will be able to purchase alcohol at their convenience, there would be no need to drink it all in one sitting.

Yes, there will still be people who will binge drink, but I know a few adults over 30 who still do it. It’s a personal decision. If an 18-year-old gets arrested for public intoxication under my proposed law, the law wouldn’t be at fault, she would.

At 18, you are seen as an adult in every aspect of the law, except for the drinking age. Lowering the drinking age is the only logical solution.

See the other half of the debate by W. Tucker Keene. 

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