Because underage drinking is illegal, underage drinkers are only able to consume alcohol in unlicensed environments, such as parties at private residences. Properly licensed drinking establishments, including bars and restaurants, have stricter standards for serving alcohol and provide better opportunities for supervision by the community and law enforcement. A drinking age of 18 thus allows young adults to drink in environments where unsafe behaviors such as binge drinking and drunk driving are less likely to occur. It also empowers young adults to seek help without fearing legal consequences if they have suffered alcohol-related injuries or assault, or if they otherwise feel unsafe. Underage drinkers are less likely to contact authorities or ask for assistance when needed because of the possibility of being prosecuted for drinking. Bringing the drinking activity of young adults into better-regulated, better-supervised environments is safer for everyone.
[P1] Having a higher drinking age drives drinking into unsafe environments. [P2] Making the drinking age 18 would mean that more people would drink in safe, licensed settings.