An eighteenth birthday is a milestone, the beginning of adulthood and freedom, but with these freedoms come responsibilities. There are expectations to vote, find a job, and register for selective service. A person who has access to a gun and can be drafted, should be responsible enough to have alcohol. Additionally parents are unable to educate their kids on smart drinking habits and this regulation actually leads to higher abuse rates, as there is a stigma around alcohol and partying. We need to educate teenagers how to drink responsibility, so that they can drink safely later in their lives.
Great controversy has been raised over the drinking age due to a bill in Wisconsin that has been circulating recently. It proposes a drinking age lowered to nineteen, but faces large obstacles. Due to federal law, if Wisconsin were to reduce their drinking age, they would lose around eight percent of federal highway funding. Many Wisconsin government officials oppose the bill, and thus it is doubted that changes will be made in the immediate future.
This bill has raised debate over the drinking age, as many argue that lowering it would allow for more responsible drinking. While the federal drinking age laws have been successful in preventing drunk driving, they fail to educate teenagers on responsible drinking. While drunk driving has decreased, alcohol abuse on college campuses, and in high school, has risen according to a study conducted by the University of Indiana.
Studies have shown that seventy percent of students have broken drinking age laws, before arriving at college, and what worries many is that this is happening behind closed doors. The higher drinking age only encourages under-age drinking and abuse, and therefore increases the party’s attitude towards alcohol. Teenagers are more likely to break the law, and do so in dangerous situations, rather than learning responsible drinking habits at home or in another safe location.
Dwight B. Heath, a professor at Brown University, is a leading force in the movement to lower the drinking age, and argues that teenagers should complete an alcohol-education course, and then should be able to obtain a permit upon turning eighteen. The permit would allow teenagers to buy alcohol, but regulates their use based on driving infractions and other abuses of alcohol.
This is a reasonable solution, as it attempts to reduce the amount of traffic incidents, while also informing teens about how to use alcohol responsibly. The permit would attempt to adjust the cultural attitude to alcohol and reduce the stigma around the issue.
These opinions aren’t commonly held in the American public, but there are a few who argue for an adjustment of the laws. Raising the drinking age is a change that must occur to desensitize the drinking culture and its relation to partying in America.