Different Opinions on Wether or not the Legal Drinking Age should be Lowered

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Thesis: Binge drinking is a major problem in todays society, and some would argue that it is because of the legal drinking age; today, I would like to explore two opinions on lowering the legal drinking age in order to understand this issue more.


Each year, more than 4,300 minors die due to heavy drinking.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 5.1 million people ages twelve to twenty admit to having binged on alcohol at least one time within the past month.

One in twenty-five college students share that they have consumed fifteen or more drinks within a two week period (Newport Academy 2017).

For those who don't know, one drink is defined as (Buddy T 2018)

Twelve ounces of beer

Five ounces of wine

One and a half ounces of hard liquor

The current legal drinking age is twenty-one, but there have been discussions about reducing that age. As college students, this issue affects us directly as we have all been exposed to alcohol wether it be from a firsthand experience or not.

At our age, and in the college environment, I'm sure that we all have some basic knowledge of the frequency and amount of alcohol consumption among our peers.

 Binge drinking is a major problem in todays society, and some would argue that it is being caused by the United States' legal drinking age; today, I would like to explore two opinions on lowering the legal drinking age in order to understand this issue more.

Signpost: First, we will take a look at some arguments in favor of keeping the drinking age at twenty-one.


Around 1986, the federal government required all states to have an MLDA, or minimum legal drinking age (Toomey 2009).

By 1988, every state had begun enforcing a minimum legal drinking age of twenty-one (Toomey 2009).

A lot of states had to go through major processes in order to change this law.

Changing the MLDA is a long, strenuous process.

This is one reason that people argued not to lower it again.

To better understand this argument, I will be using Michigan as a specific example.

When Michigan made their MLDA twenty-one, there was a lot of backlash.

Michigan then came back with two arguments (Toomey 2009).

The first argument that they presented was that this new law would be extremely beneficial to public safety.

When the drinking age was lower, there was a spike in automobile accidents among eighteen to twenty year olds.

They had done a lot of research in order to find that underage drinking and highway crashes were directly related.

This resulted in them using the MLDA as a defense against crashes.

While some may believe that normalizing drinking at a younger age could help educate minors on how to drink responsibly, many people believe that it will only increase the frequency of consumption.

The second argument, was that drinking alcohol is not a protected right in the constitution.

This is why they believed that it was not immoral to change the legal age.

Americans are extremely protective of their rights, which is why some people thought that it is only right that they be able to control their own drinking habits; however, this is not a guaranteed right in the U.S. constitution.

According to Andrew Plunk, there was an argument that lowering the drinking age would only make drinking more dangerous for kids who are not in college.

By lowering the drinking age, college students would be able to legally drink, which would only make it more dangerous for people who still aren't old enough.

While some people currently believe that the MLDA makes it dangerous for college students, it is being argued that by lowering it, we will be putting high school and middle school students at risk (Martinez 407-410).

Studies have shown that the minors who are fighting to get the drinking age lowered are those who are heavy users and at risk (Martinez 407-410).

This could mean that they are only looking for a more convenient way to drink alcohol.

Transition: Now that we have explored one perspective, why don't we begin looking at arguments in favor of lowering the drinking age.

There are also many people arguing that lowering the legal drinking age may be just what we need in order to keep our society's youth safe.

In the U.S., thirty-one percent of automobile accidents are alcohol related. This is much higher than European countries who enforce an MLDA below twenty-one (procon.org 2016).

A 2016 study showed that 20% of their high school subjects had gotten into a car where the driver had been consuming alcohol.

The other argument is that the drinking age encourages bad drinking habits (Anderson 2016).

This includes binge drinking.

Binge drinking is a huge issue among college students (Wechsler and Nelson 986).

Before going to a party, minors will consume large amounts of alcohol in a very short period of time in order to feel the effects without worrying about getting caught in possession of alcohol.

This greatly increases the possibility of alcohol poisoning,

There are an average of about six deaths every day caused by alcohol poisoning (Newport Academy 2017).

The final argument that I will cover is the argument that being eighteen makes you a legal adult in every other part of society (Anderson 2016).

It is a popular opinion that if you have the right to vote, get married, join the army, etc., you should be able to decide if/how you would like to consume alcohol.

Having such serious rights as the ones I just listed cause people to believe they are more than capable enough to make a decision about alcohol consumption.

One popular argument that I came across, was that if we are mature enough to make political decisions and have a say in such large issues, then we should be mature enough to make a decision that will only affect our bodies (Anderson 2016).

Now that we have explored these two perspectives, I would like to invite you all to join me in a discussion about what we just heard.

Dialogue Questions

  • If lowered, what age should it be lowered to?
  • Would anybody's lives be changed drastically by a lowering of the legal drinking age?
  • Does anyone agree that drinking could be safer if the legal age is lowered?
  • Is there a way to keep the MLDA at twenty-one, while also keeping minors aware of the dangers of binge drinking? How?
  • According to a 2009 study, heavy drinking rates were very high on college campuses. However, they only asked minors. How do you think the results would differ if they had asked people of all ages?
  • What are your opinions on the fact that only heavy drinkers were arguing to lower the legal drinking age?


  • As we have learned today.
  • The minimum legal drinking age in the United States can cause a lot of tension and disagreement.
  • We have explored the perspective of those who would like the MLDA to stay at twenty-one, and we also looked at those who would like to lower it.
  • I hope that after what I shared with you, and the discussion that we had, you will be able to make a personal decision on wether or not you think that the legal drinking age should be lowered.
  • Insert some information from class discussion.
  •  I now encourage you to go out into the world and make responsible choices and remember what we have learned today.
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Different Opinions on Wether or not the Legal Drinking Age Should be Lowered. (2019, Aug 12). Retrieved July 23, 2024 , from

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