Lowering drinking age could teach responsibility, moderation

Sophie Gilchrist
Sports Editor

At the age of 18 you can go to war, purchase cigarettes, vote for the next leader of the United States and buy pornography, but you can’t legally have a sip of wine or a chug of beer.

Over 60 percent of high school seniors already drink once a week according to the University of Iowa Health Care. Congress should lower the drinking age because it will allow for teens to become educated through experience on how to drink responsibly.

Lowering the drinking age should prevent binge drinking in colleges as well because late teens entering college would be more knowledgeable and would hopefully better understand the amount of alcohol that their bodies can handle before potentially hurting themselves through alcohol poisoning.

Although alcohol may limit the development process of the brain, which doesn’t stop developing until around the mid 20s, drinking at a younger age will encourage society to educate teens about alcohol rather than sweeping it under the rug. Young drinkers would become more mature with alcohol and more aware of the consequences of their actions.

Even the presidents of several respected colleges such as Dartmouth College and Duke University admitted in a recent press conference that the current drinking age of 21 simply isn’t working.

“A culture of dangerous, clandestine ‘binge drinking’ — often conducted off-campus — has developed,” said College presidents in a group statement.

Many colleges want to confront the abuse of alcohol on campus, but society seems to want to leave the issue stuffed in the closet rather than facing it head on.

“[The current law] pushes drinking into hiding, heightening its risks, including risks from drunken driving, and it prevents U.S. college officials from addressing drinking with students as an issue of responsible choice,” said Duke University President Richard Brodhead in a press statement.

In most European countries, however, the drinking age is as low as 16.

“This summer I went to France for three weeks,” said junior Nikea Barconia. “The people I stayed with were an American family, but they had adapted to the French culture so basically everyone 16 and older had wine at dinner because that is the drinking age. I also noticed that the French teenagers are so much more mature with alcohol.”

It’s not fair that before the law, an 18-year-old is trusted to buy a rifle or a shot gun, but a person can be considered a criminal for something as simple as drinking, whether its binging or merely taking a few sips of wine.

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