There has been a lot of debate whether the legal drinking age should be lowered or not. The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984. This law was passed to increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. There has been a mixed reaction over this act. There are some people who support it while there are others who oppose it. Opponents of this law believe that the federally imposed drinking law is unconstitutional. They believe that the rights of the states were overridden. However it is noted that the drive to increase the legal drinking age was made by citizen groups. The public also supported the 1984 Drinking Age act.
Teenagers usually drink as an act of rebellion. When a teenager turns 18, he/she is allowed to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, serve in the military and hold public office. Therefore they feel that they have the right to decide for themselves if they want a drink or not.
Critics believe that the federal government has no right to take such a decision. Wheelan and Kenkel are two opponents of the current minimum age law. Kenkel proposes imposing a teen tax on alcohol, as it could be a more viable option than age restriction. He believes that it would cheaper to lower the minimum age rather than denying them the right to drink. A teen tax would be as effective as a minimum age law. It would allow an "adult" to maintain his/her civil liberties. The revenue from the teen tax could be used for alcohol abuse education.
Wheelan feels that teenagers can be easily tempted by alcohol, as it is one of their first steps towards adolescence. This could lead to grave consequences. Recent studies have proved that cases of alcohol abuse and driving accidents have risen drastically due to the adverse effect of drinking age laws. Experts believe that it is important to have a drinking age law for the sake of national health and safety.
It would be a wise decision to lower the drinking age to 18. According to wheelan, a college-age teen would most likely want to spend their evenings in clubs and bars. However they would not be able to get access to alcohol in these places. In this way they would get limited access to the adult entertainment they crave for. Wheelan feels that a teenager would spend more time getting into trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd. It wouldn't have been a problem had he/she not been deprived of an opportunity to spend time in a bar or club. However this fact be refuted. A teenager can hang out anywhere with his/her friends. There are a variety of choices for him/her. It would be more dangerous for him/her to hang out in a bar instead.
Experts believe that drinking laws have not been effective. According to Alexander Conant, studies have shown that 12- to 20-year-olds are responsible for 11% of the nation's annual alcohol consumption. He also adds that the Columbia university national center of addiction and substance abuse has found under age students drink in an irresponsible manner. This is probably due to the fact the drinking laws discourage adult supervision. This is in sharp contrast to the lower incidences of alcohol abuse in European countries. This is because children in these European countries have been taught to drink responsibly. Therefore the drinking age laws in America aren't fair, as they don't have any means of teaching its youth about the nuances of alcohol abuse. According to Jonathan Koepke, there is no drinking age in several European countries. He feels that an American teenager would feel cool and rebellious for consuming alcohol. He also adds that a beer is the equivalent of drinking a soda in Europe. Wheelan supports his argument and stresses for the reduction of the minimum legal drinking age to 18. She also feels that young people should be taught to drink in moderation.
According to Ruth Engs, a lot of universities face cases of student alcohol abuse. They find it an uphill task as the legal drinking age is set at twenty-one. It is a very difficult thing for them, as most of the college students don't reach that age till they reach their junior or senior year at college. Ruth feels that in order to create more responsible alcohol consumption amongst college students the legal drinking age should…