Loquitur Dome: The Eternal Debate

By Jenine Ikeler
April 19, 2001

by Jenine J. Ikeler

assistant photography editor

We are all aware that it is illegal to consume or purchase alcohol until the ripe age of 21. Many adults think that at 21 a person is supposedly mature enough to handle the responsibility associated with drinking.

Why is 21 the suggested age that makes one intelligent and mature enough to handle drinking? I personally know some adults who abuse alcohol and I definitely know some teenagers who handles themselves quite responsibly while drinking. Why is age a factor? I will never fully understand why people think that the day they turn 21 they suddenly know everything and are mature.

To my understanding, the drinking age used to be 18 in some states. My parents were legally allowed to drink at 18. I think today that teenagers are more responsible than ever. They are forced to grow up faster and make tough decisions daily. This in my eyes makes the 21 restriction way out of date. At 18, a person can drive cars, fly planes, vote, marry, pay taxes, take out loans at a bank, sell and serve alcohol and risk losing their lives in war. However, they cannot go into their local tavern and have a drink.

Teenagers regard drinking as an adult activity. The time when you turn 18 until you reach 21 seem like the longest three years of a person’s life. In order to get a drink, teenagers will pay about anything to obtain a fake I.D. or even sneak from their parents’ liquor cabinet. I should know, I was famous for it in high school. Teenagers could write a book on the various ways they get alcohol. This dishonest behavior does not promote safe, responsible drinking. Furthermore, when teenagers get together and have the opportunity to drink, all they want to do is get wasted. This I think is when binge drinking becomes a serious problem.

The drinking age should be lowered to 18. If we as a country focus on teaching youth about safe drinking instead of just saying wait until you turn 21 then many problems I think would be solved. In America, teenagers do not learn how to drink safely and in moderation. In Europe, however, they learn at a young age to appreciate alcohol. They are even encouraged to drink wine at dinner nightly. Obviously this is why Europe has a lower rate of alcoholism and alcohol abuse than the United States.

The drinking age should be lowered because the current age has no real effect on youth. Reality check: the majority of teenagers already drink regularly before turning the big 2-1. We need to teach safe drinking and moderation. Many problems concerning the youth of America and drinking would be less if the drinking age were lowered. As a legal adult at 18 a person should

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Jenine Ikeler

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