Ever wondered why the United States of America is so resistant to lower its minimum legal drinking age (MLDA)? Is it pride? Is it political? Or it is genuinely for the safety of the youth of America?
Although the drinking age is 21 in America, there are certain exceptions within states and regarding adult supervision or in some cases, medical reasons. I was born and raised in England where the legal drinking age is 18 but you can be served wine or beer at 16 and can drink within your home with the permission of your parents from 5 years old. Yes, 5 years old. Isn’t that absurd?
I’m sure most of you are under the impression that the opponents of lowering the drinking age believe that teenagers are just too immature, reckless and irresponsible to handle drinking from a younger age. However, there are many rational arguments as to why the MLDA is maintaining its place.
Did You Know?
- Underage drinking on private premises is permitted in 29 states, with parental consent.
- 25 states allow underage drinking for religious purposes.
- 11 states even accept underage drinking for educational purposes!
The most significant reason as to why America resists lowering its MLDA is because it would be medically irresponsible. It is proven that alcohol consumption can effect the brain development and has the potential to increase chances of addiction, depression, memory loss and suicide.
By lowering the MLDA to 18 would encourage unsafe environments for teenagers and consequently increase the levels of death, injury and assault. Communities with a higher number of bars, nightclubs and liquor stores have a higher percentage of alcohol related deaths and crimes.
One strong argument against lowering the MLDA is that it shouldn’t be changed just to ‘copy Europe.’ It has been stated that the majority of European countries report higher rates of underage binge drinking and intoxication. Therefore, lowering America’s MLDA would increase the risk of higher levels of underage drinking and harm.
Obviously there are many more reasons against changing the existing regulation however; there are also endless counter arguments. It is a law that will have to be handled carefully and any change in the future will have to be applied gradually and cautiously over time.
At the end of the day, the majority of the American public agrees with this legislation. Ultimately until there is an evident push for modification from the public, I don’t anticipate any drastic change to happen in the near future.