"Underage" drinking is one of many taboo subjects in the United States. The legal drinking age is twenty-one and it is strictly enforced in the purchase of alcohol. However, like anything illegal, there are always ways to get liquored up including raiding your family's stash, having an older friend purchase for you or just stealing from a store. According to a recent CNN article, they are debating about whether to change the drinking age.
I have seen enough videos and photographs of drunk driving to last my lifetime, but it is a real issue when approaching the topic. Alcohol poisoning and death resulting in drunk driving are the major consequences when teenagers engage in underage drinking. Let's not forget that drinking impairs judgment, so teen pregnancy, fights, rape, suicide and more can also occur while under the influence. Knowing this, most teens still drink because of the rush of doing something that is not allowed. Breaking the rules is often exhilarating for teens.
Is that the message that we should send to the young people? Let them think that drinking is something special and important for "grown ups"? The same consequences result when adults drink. The difference is that they are considered responsible for their actions. So how should this be addressed? In other countries, the drinking age is significantly lower ranging from 16–18 years of age.
You will probably disagree with me, but I believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. I think that since most teens become legal adults when they turn 18, they should be allowed to drink legally. If a person can die for their country at 18, why not allow them a drink while they are living? Before you tear apart my reasoning, listen further. Drinking is something that should be done in moderation and that should be stressed in advertisements and considered by bartenders. I think that if teens have a bit of experience drinking proper amounts of alcohol and understanding its effects, they might be more responsible in its consumption. At least if they are still under mom and dad's roof, they can ask questions in safety without going wild on their 21st birthday and possibly partying for their last time.
However, that is just my opinion. I would love to hear yours.
Image via Audarshia