In the United States you become a legal adult at the age 18. You are able to vote, join the military, and be sent to prison, but you are not legally allowed to drink. It is common for young adults to drink while being underage due to the drinking cultures associated with high school and college. Although many young adults participate in this culture, those caught may face harsh punishments that can have lasting effects on their life.
Laws do not stop anyone from drinking. They just make it more dangerous for young adults.
These laws force young adults to drink in secret, often without parents’ knowledge. They create a dangerous environment because many young adults drink too much and do not go to the hospital to get their stomach pumped because of the fear of the consequences. Many young adults drink hard alcohol because it is easier to hide in something like a backpack.
This causes more people to develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol because they never learn how to drink properly. Many young adults drink with the goal of getting as drunk as possible. This causes around 5,000 deaths, 600,000 injured, and 100,000 cases of sexual assault.
In Europe, where alcohol consumption is more normalized, teens learn how to drink socially during meals without feeling the need to hide it. Young adults drinking in the open makes it safer and less likely for someone to not get their stomach pumped, even if they need it.
Yes, alcohol can be dangerous, and, yes, drunk driving is bad. But in today’s society there’s no need to drink and drive because of apps like Uber.
The drinking age is 21 because of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. This act made states lose federal highway money if they lower the drinking age. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act was made to stop drunk driving, but it has had the opposite effect. Every day around 32 people die from drunk driving in the U.S. compared to around eighteen a day in Europe.
Europe contains double the population of the U.S. This means there are far more deaths in the U.S from drunk driving, proving the National Minimum Drinking age act had the opposite intended effect.
As someone with immigrant parents who has been raised with their views and the rest of the world’s view on alcohol and someone who has felt the consequences of being caught, I believe the U.S. needs to change these pointless laws.