In the United States, turning 18 comes with many new privileges: fighting for your country, buying tobacco products, adopting a child, voting, getting married and more. With all of these many new entitlements and being considered a legal adult, these freedoms seemingly end at buying and consuming alcohol.
By lowering the MLDA (Minimum Legal Drinking Age) to 18, the United States would be rewarded with several benefits. With the current MLDA of 21, many people travel to other places like Canada and European countries to be able to legally consume alcohol.
Out of the 190 countries, 61 percent of them have a drinking age of 18 or 19 years old and only 6 percent are at 21. The rest range from age 10 to never being legal.
With such a high MLDA, this creates a ‘forbidden fruit theory’. The theory implies that if something, such as alcohol, is forbidden, it causes a potential rebellious feeling to have in possession. This causes it to be consumed in an unsafe manner.
If 18 year olds are allowed to buy and consume alcohol, they would not consider breaking the law just to be able to drink. This could potentially lower the concerningly high rate of unfortunate non-compliance with MLDA 21. Teens work to create loopholes in the system so that they can buy, such as making fake ID’s, which can earn young adults a misdemeanor.
However, repealing MLDA 21 would come with some consequences. Many people against lowering the age argue that drinking will become increasingly common and dangerous among the 18-20 year old demographic in the United States. Since setting MLDA 21, drunk driving deaths have decreased over the last three decades in America so many fear that lowering the legal age would cause an increase. Although these beliefs have legitimate arguments, getting rid of MLDA 21 has far more benefits than disadvantages.
Fortunately, all of the problems expressed by those who are against repealing it can easily be fixed and avoided. If parents increase their childrens’ education about alcohol, their child will be more informed on safe drinking. Also, young adults would be drinking in safer environments because they will be legally able to drink in bars, rather than hiding in houses and dorms. While drinking in public, they will be able to drink while being monitored. It is evident that with higher parental involvement and public drinking, the benefits of lowering the drinking age overrule the potential costs.
Today, we live in a society where at 18, you are considered a legal adult that can buy tobacco, vote, and fight for the country; yet you aren’t considered old enough to drink. With such a high MLDA, it doesn’t stop teens from drinking, it stops them from doing it safely and legally. To prevent illegal and unsafe drinking, the first step would be getting rid of MLDA 21 and lowering the drinking age to 18.