The adoption of prohibitive legislation allowing for those aged 21 and up to consume alcohol has sparked heated debate among Americans. Though the goal of the above legislation was to minimize the number of deaths and other health-related problems caused by irresponsible drinking, several researchers have suggested that such a goal has yet to be reached. It is ironic that Americans of the age of 18 and up are allowed to marry, buy weapons, vote, and join the military; thus, it is ironic that they are not allowed to drink alcohol. The paper endeavors to provide an in-depth argument as to why the drinking age should be lowered to 18 years.
As mentioned in the introduction, the reason for increasing the age of drinking to 21 years in America was baseless and unfounded. Ostensibly, the age difference between 18 and 21 is meager and by increasing the drinking age to 3 years cannot impact any reasonable change. Prevalently, an explicit analysis of the constitution of the United States of America revealed that this document have valued and pay much regard to the population that are at the age of 18. To begin with, it permits the youngster with the mentioned to engage in the election process (Glaser n.p). Owing to this, they are mature enough to decide and choose the leaders that would govern them. Additionally, the constitution further allows them to engage in the marital affairs with this age. This means that the constitution expect that with the age of 18 someone should be wise enough to have a family and make prudent decisions while managing the family. On a similar note, the above document has allowed the said group of people to buy the guns. This permission is critical in the sense that for someone to be granted a right of possessing he/she must have matured and able to wisely use the gun (Glaser n.p). Above all, it also allowed them to join the military with the expectation that they have reached a good age to defend their country. In this respect, it is therefore hypocritical if the same constitution bars people with the same age not to engage in drinking. According to Glaser, American 18-year-olds have the right to vote, marry, buy guns and join the military. They’re astute enough to defend their country, decide elected officials and serve on a jury — but not regulate their own appetites? They deserve the chance to learn (n.p).
The California state has established professional code that bar those who are underage not to indulge in the consumption of the alcohol. Basing on the code mentioned above, the youngster in this state cannot engage in drinking. Conversely, the code promotes the drinking of alcohol to those who are 21 years and above. Worst to point out is that the state of Illinois has gone has far as establishing the punitive measures both to the underage and the businesspersons who allow the underage to involve in drinking (Lippman 284). For instance, an eighteen year old American citizen who engages in drinking would be jailed for one year and be fined amount of $500. Such measures are unfair, unjust and unfounded, by punishing certain group of people for drinking and promoting almost a similar age group to drink is a complete indication of discrimination. Reasonably, the age gap between18 years and 21 years is insignificant. It is imperative to note that people with the mentioned ages are both college students, it is therefore not fair to bar certain group of students to consume alcohol while at the same time permitting another group of the undergraduates to engage in the drinking (Lippman 284). If the law was to show a sense of impartiality, it would have bar all students from consuming alcohol. Owing to this discriminatory nature of this law, it stands to be criticized and need to be amended to expunge its segregation feature. Lippman noted, The university presidents contended that establishing the drinking age at 21 years discriminated against younger students, and that law was regularly disregarded (284).
Despite of the enactment of the drinking age to 21 years, American as a nation has continued to experience numerous challenges that relates to irresponsible drinking. A larger percentage of youths from the discussed nation are continuing to be affected in terms of health and behavior. This means that the laws that has been established to regulate the drinking age has completely failed to perform its mandate. Obnoxiously, in spite of the mentioned law, the underage have continued to access and consume alcohol. Hanson and Annette posed a question, do you think we should try to change the current drinking laws, in light that the current laws continue to be violated by youths under 21 years of age?(244). Most of these college students have friends and colleagues who invariably buy for them drinks. In this regards, initiating the age of drinking to be 21 years is not antidote of promoting youths to drink with decorum. It is also important to point out that American is not better than other nations that have lowered to the drinking age to 18 years. Hanson and Annette noted, At present, 82 countries allows alcohol consumption at 18 years of age and older (244). In this respect, America should join this countries and finds better solutions or strategies of promoting responsive drinking other than the use of age to bar the under-age population. The strategies such as initiating models that teaches the moderate drinking would be one of the effective ways of solving the irresponsive drinking among the youths (Friese et al. 379). With this strategy, both the teachers and the parents would be charged with mandate of sensitizing the youths on how to drink responsibly and also monitor them. Consequently, the youths would learn better ways of drinking, thereby mitigating the challenges that arise as result of irresponsive drinking.
In an effort to stop huge number of death cases caused by careless driving as a result of excessive drinking among youths, American has gone as far as initiation two prohibition legislations . A point to note is that the first one was established in the 1850s while another was made in 1920s. However, despite of these amendments the youths have continued to drink in an irresponsible manner. The health sectors have continued to receive patients suffering from the ailments caused by over-drinking. Ostensibly, the amendment on drinking of 1984 did not bore any meaningful fruit (Blocker 234). Similarly, further amendment of the constitution in the year 1920 that prohibits both the sale and the consumption of the alcohol to the underage has so far not generated any significant impact, this is a clear indication that it is needless for American legislators to waste time in initiating the laws that would failed to meet its objectives. Notably, after the enactment of the prohibition laws on the under-age drinking, the rate of drinking in the US has enormously increased. According to Blocker, Between 1990 and 1913, American began to drink more and more, beer production jumped from 1.2 billion to 2 billion gallons and the volume of tax-paid spirits grew from 97 million to 147 to 147 million gallons (234). From this analysis, it is explicit that legislation has less impact on controlling the age of drinking. In this respect, America should repeal the law that bar the age between 18 and 20 from drinking because such legislations has remain to be ineffective and impracticable.
From the discussion it is clear that there is an urgent and important need for the American nation to reduce the age of drinking to 18 years. Most of the youths with this age are mature and wise enough to make critical decisions and barring them from consuming alcohol is unrealistic. Moreover, it is unfair, unjust and discriminative to allow college students with 21 years to drink while barring those with 18 to 20 years from consuming alcohol. Furthermore, instead of America to use the age as mechanism of initiating responsible drinking, it should focus on effective strategies such as the use of moderation techniques. Above all, the legislation has failed to achieve its objective, it is therefore needless for the nation to continue practicing it.
Blocker Jr, Jack S. “Did prohibition really work? Alcohol prohibition as a public health innovation.” American journal of public health 96.2 (2006): 233-243.
Friese, Bettina, et al. “Parents’ rules about underage drinking: A qualitative study of why parents let teens drink.” Journal of drug education 42.4 (2012): 379-391.
Glaser, Gabrielle. “Return the Drinking Age to 18, and Enforce It.” The New York Times, [New York City], 10 Feb. 2015.
Hanson, Glen, Peter Venturelli, and Annette Fleckenstein. Drugs and society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011.
Lippman, Matthew R. Essential Criminal Law. 2017.