Drinking age should be lowered in America

Zach Nowlin, Copy Editor

The drinking age for the United States is 21 years old, but in many other countries you only have to be 18 to buy alcohol and consume it. The drinking age in America should be lowered to 18 like our European neighbors due to their higher test scores and better economies.

The drinking age should be lowered because the number of drunk driving incidents in the United States would decrease. It is argued that keeping the drinking age at 21 lowers the amount of drunk driving related deaths, but it just postpones them and does not completely stop them. Nothing is stopping someone from illegally consuming alcohol and getting behind the wheel of the car. In a study by the CDC, there were nearly 9,000 deaths in the United States in 2014 as a result of drunk driving. In Britain, where the drinking age is 18 without adult supervision, there were only about 3,000 deaths due to drunk drivers.

It is said that consuming alcohol under the age of 21 can alter the way a brain forms and grows and can impact grades because of this. This is wrong on many levels because there are many European countries that are doing better than the United States in education. Most European countries have a drinking age of 18 years old. In 2015, 57 countries were ranked based on their performance in different education categories. The United States came out in the middle on almost all categories while Finland scored number one or almost near number one on all categories. While Finland is doing a number of things different than the United States, one thing that has no effect on the grades is alcohol consumption. Keep in mind that it is only illegal to buy alcohol until a person is 18 in Finland but it is perfectly fine to consume it if an adult buys it for you.

One of the many reasons underage drinking in America is so popular is because of the thrill of doing something that a teen is not supposed to that comes with it. In many European countries, drinking alcohol under the age of 18 is perfectly fine as long as an adult is present or buys the alcohol for the minor. In some countries, drinking alcohol with supervision is legal at four years old. The laws regarding this vary per country but most of them are similar. The purchasing of the alcohol is the only thing that is illegal in these countries if the person buying it is under 18. If the current drinking age is lowered and the United States takes after these other countries then the thrill of drinking will not be as present among teens and less teens will binge drink as a result of this.

Lowering the age limit for alcohol consumption could be beneficial for America’s economy. The argument is similar to the argument for legalizing marijuana. It would allow for more people spending money that goes into the economy. More people would be purchasing alcoholic products and going to bars as well as other places that sell alcoholic beverages.

The drinking age in the United States is something that needs to be discussed. The number of alcohol related incidents will not matter much no matter what age is allowed to drink. New drinkers are likely to get into alcohol related incidents no matter what the age is so the current drinking age is just delaying the inevitable. If we take after our European neighbor then maybe America can be on its way to a more healthy society.