The risks associated with drinking have led most countries to set a minimum legal age for the purchase or consumption of alcohol, but the specific drinking age varies from place to place. The most common drinking age around the world is 18, but the United States has a minimum legal drinking age of 21, and ages from 15 to 25 are used in other nations. Is 18 the ideal standard, or should the drinking age be 21? Should there be a minimum legal drinking age at all?
Yes, the drinking age should be 18.Show moreShow less
Many legal, social, and cultural rights and responsibilities come into effect when a person turns 18, and it is in everyone's best interest that personal choices about drinking be a part of that transition into adulthood.
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.