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18 is the new 21

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Being 18 is usually a huge stepping stone in America. Turning 18 means you are officially an adult. You can now vote, pay taxes, get married, serve on juries, buy a firearm, join the military, and go to prison.

Of course, by this time you are expected to move out, have a high paying job, go to college, and begin an independent life. Although it sounds all too exciting, why do people expected to act like adults, only experience the most stressful things about adulthood?

If 18 is the age of adulthood, then adults should be able to make their decisions on whether or not to consume alcohol.

Drinking is clearly a thing that only adults get to enjoy. The standard age to drink in the U.S. is 21, with a few notable exceptions of 45 states that allow it under 21 within certain circumstances. According to ProCon 116 countries allow drinking at the age of 18 to 19 while 20 countries allow it at 16 to 17.

Lowering the drinking age is not only proved ineffective, it’s unsafe. 60 percent of 18 year old’s have reported to have had a drink at least once.

Whether or not the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) of 21 is lowered it is seen again and again that young adults will drink. However, they drink in unsafe environments such as fraternity parties or house parties. Young adults can go as far as creating or buying a fake I.D. in which they could face being charged with a misdemeanor.

With a lowered MLDA, young adults will be able to safely consume alcohol at home, and in safe environments where they don’t have to resort to places where they could potentially die. Most often when young adults are intoxicated, they don’t seek medical attention out of fear to face legal consequences.

However, there are consequences to lowering the MLDA. The number one reason people oppose to the idea of lowering the MLDA, is due to fear in increase of fatal car accidents due to drunk driving. Not only this, it has been proven to decrease the development of the frontal cortex in the brain which is responsible for rational decision making.

In contrast, it’s interesting to think that traffic accidents actually would not increase, they would remain just about the same. According to Choose Responsibility, “Claims of immediacy or direct influence made; in almost all cases (legal drinking age and its effects on traffic crashes, alcohol consumption, and other social problem outcomes), the majority of studies cited found no significant relationship whatsoever between the drinking age and outcome variables.” Choose responsibility continues to say that in between 1982 and 1992 when the MLDA was raised, the US experienced a lower rate of decline in alcohol-related traffic accidents than other countries.

Thanks to current psychology, and the American Psychological Association, we now know that our frontal cortex is not fully developed until we are 25 to 28 years old. This does not mean we should increase the MLDA, it just goes to show, that it’s hard to determine just when a brain is really fully developed.

Finally, lowering the MLDA would boost our economy! Especially in Utah where alcohol is handled through the state. According to ProCon, “More people would legally be able to drink in bars, restaurants, and other licensed establishments. Revenue would increase for private business owners, and greater amounts of tax revenue would be collected by the government.”

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the MLDA should be lowered, and it’s proved effective in other countries. Teaching adults how to be responsible adults is not only important, it’s necessary. Young adults need a safe environment to learn how to drink responsibly and that starts with good habits you build at home and around you.

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About the Writer
Luz Orozco, Editorials Editor

2016-2017 Reporter

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18 is the new 21