Lower The Drinking Age to 18

  • by: Why 18?
  • target: United States Congress
We want to lower the drinking age to 18 and encourage safe drinking habits.
Find out more at Why 18?.
We the undersigned believe that there needs to be reform relative to the consumption of alcohol in this country.

By 18, Americans Can Legally...

    * Get married
    * Own property
    * Adopt children
    * Be tried as an adult in the court of law
    * Vote in the presidential election
    * Join the army, and possibly die for their country

At the age of 18, Americans gain all of the above rights, yet they lack the right to purchase and consume alcohol. Our country believes that at 18 we are responsible enough to get married %u2014 a life-long commitment %u2014 and even raise children, yet a beer is too large a responsability. Possibly even more absurd, you can go overseas and kill people in a war and when you come home you can't even enjoy a beer. It is apalling that we are forced into adult standards of law and social expectations, yet we are not allowed to enjoy all "adult" privileges.

Of high school seniors, 51% admitted to drinking within the past 30 days, according to a 1996 government survey. These drinking rates have been consistent over the past 40 years. Given that high school seniors are composed of 17 and 18 year olds, and the idea that kids are more likely to drink as their age approaches 21, more than 51% of 18 to 20 year-olds are drinking alcohol even though it is against the law. It is almost appalling that drinking is a normal part of the lives of so many people of age 18-20, yet it is illegal. The solution to this problem is not to simply forbid the consumption of alcohol. Legalizing the consumption of alcohol will not reduce drinking related problems either, though. What needs to be done to address the problems related to alcohol consumption is to lower the drinking age and encourage safe drinking habits at an age where youth are closer to the influence of their parents.

Lowering the drinking age would have especially positive repercussions for college students if campus safety became involved in how alcohol was distributed on campus, rather than simply lowering the drinking age and then taking no action to ensure that students drank safely.

The United States is the only developed nation with a drinking age of 21. Most European countries have a minimum drinking age of 18, and some are even as low as 16. The United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, and Ukraine are just some of the countries that employ a legal drinking age of 18. Many of these European nations also introduce alcohol gradually, beginning in safe environments such as the home or restaurants with parents. A minimum drinking age of 18 would allow for an easier transition into alcohol consumption, as most Americans are still living with their parents for at least a small amount of time at the age of 18.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
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