Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Lower Drinking Age

Over the last few weeks, the legal drinking age has taken center stage because over 100 college professors signed a letter advocating the change in the legal drinking age from 21 to 18 years.

Lowering the legal drinking age in the U.S. to 18 makes sense for a lot of reasons. We've all heard the argument that a young person can fight and die for our country but not legally drink a beer. And the dangers of binge drinking in underground frat parties are well known.

While the change might seem focused on college students, it would impact younger youths as well. Making the drinking age 18 would legally put alcohol in the hands of high school seniors. High schools are already rampant with drinking and drugs and legalizing alcohol for seniors would certainly make alcohol more readily available. Seniors are the cool kids -- the sports captains, the athletic stars.

This might sound dangerous, but maybe it would help youths learn to drink responsibly. If young people get drunk at home, parents could more actively get involved and know what is going on. Drinking might become less of a milestone of adulthood and become more of a responsibility for a mature individual. If the drinking age were 18, a high school senior could have a beer with mom or dad while watching football or a glass of wine with mom or dad while having dinner.

This would also take some of the pressures off the start of college. The first taste of freedom for young adults would not also come with the first taste of alcohol.