May 25, 2024

Colleges push legal drinking age to 18

In recent weeks, over 100 college campuses around the United States began a push in congress to lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18, changing a law that has been in place since 1984. Leaders from Ivy-League schools including Duke, Dartmouth, and Ohio State stated that the health and safety of their institutions are at stake, citing binge drinking as a growing problem among their students. This includes a smaller Utah campus, Westminster College.

This archived article was written by: Daniel Quick

In recent weeks, over 100 college campuses around the United States began a push in congress to lower the legal drinking age from 21 to 18, changing a law that has been in place since 1984. Leaders from Ivy-League schools including Duke, Dartmouth, and Ohio State stated that the health and safety of their institutions are at stake, citing binge drinking as a growing problem among their students. This includes a smaller Utah campus, Westminster College.
Although the legal age for purchasing alcohol is 21, many people, including many underage students across the country, drink regularly. This symbol of “adulthood” often times is tied to lethal consequences including alcohol poisoning and automobile accidents where alcohol is involved.
Often enough, alcohol is presented at parties that are frequented by newer students who are underage and have never had any experiences with alcohol. That, tied with the pressure to fit in, can lead to dangerous consequences. The fact is, by the time students reach the legal drinking age, they are already dealing with problems that come from consuming too much alcohol.
Most people who choose to drink, do so well before the age of 21. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 26.9 percent of males have their first sip of alcohol before the age of 13, women only 20.5 percent. With such astonishing rates of early drinking, one must consider proper education at a young age to ensure that alcohol abuse is averted.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 11 percent of the total alcohol consumed in the United States is consumed by underage drinkers, with 90 percent of that being in the form of binge drinking or drinking more than five drinks in a single sitting. In 2005, more than 145,000 emergency room visits occurred by people 12-20 years of age with alcohol-related illnesses or injuries.
Like our European neighbors, a legal drinking age of 18 would provide a better chance to educate teens about the dangers of alcohol, and also provide them with safe havens to drink such as bars, taverns, restaurants and college functions where supervision can be provided.
By establishing a proper education system for alcohol, teens could learn to drink responsibly through public education and that of responsible role models who also practice safe drinking. With these role models, teens are much less likely to become dependent on alcohol and much more likely to practice safe drinking.