An 18th birthday is an exciting event for every teenager. At this age, a person can finally be considered an adult. Tobacco lovers can purchase tobacco, gamblers can gamble in casinos and buy lottery tickets, and a person can legally fight for their country. You can vote, get married, buy a gun, and even go to a strip club if that’s your style. But what’s the one thing you can’t do? Drink a beer.
The minimum drinking age of 21 is a topic that has sparked debate since it was first implemented in 1984 by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The Act passed called for states to increase their drinking age in the U.S or face a 10 percent decrease in federal funding of highways. Although the minimum drinking age of 21 may seem like a legitimate law to pass in order to decrease the number of risks associated with consuming alcohol, we might actually be putting ourselves in more danger by keeping the drinking age at 21. Every rebellious teenager has felt the urge to do something you’re not exactly allowed to do, but wouldn’t pose a huge risk if they were to get caught. Who hasn’t taken a sip of alcohol during a dinner or tasted someone’s drink while being under the age of 21? My guess would be no one. By alcohol having the appeal of the forbidden cookie jar every kid wants to get into but can’t reach, teens are more inclined to abuse alcohol by binge drinking, drinking and driving, and use fake ID’s.
Dan Levine, author of “A Legal Drinking Age of 21 Does Not Reduce Drunk Driving,” said that “If you can toss a grenade, you should certainly be able to toss back a shot of tequila. Telling an adult who is legally able to fight and die for our country and smoke a pack of cigarettes but cannot drink an alcoholic drink is unfair and unjust. It’s like telling someone they can legally drive a car but can’t purchase a cell phone. It just doesn’t make sense. I’ve had the opportunity to travel in Europe briefly and actually live abroad in Australia for four months where a drinking age doesn’t even exist. Yes, these countries face the same risks as the U.S for alcohol related deaths, but alcohol is seen as more of a leisurely activity rather than a case race or shot pounding. Even when I was out to bars in Australia, everyone there was over the age of 24 and it was a rare occasion when I talked to a person who was younger than 19. Alcohol just isn’t considered to be as big of a deal as it is in the U.S and this I think is primarily because it’s something that isn’t mystified as being forbidden.
Regardless of whether the drinking age is 21 or not, people are still going to consume alcohol illegally, kids are still going to get into their parents liquor cabinets, and teens are still going to purchase fake ID’s to get into clubs where they can drink until they pass out. By placing alcohol on a pedestal that is attainable but not exactly allowed, we are giving underage’s more incentive to break the rules. If you put a cookie in front of a sugar addict like myself and tell them not to eat it, what do you think will happen? Yes, I’m going to wait until you leave the room, and run off with that cookie like it’s my job. Legal or not Legal.