Problem: A person should be able to drink legally at the age of eighteen. The law that states that it is legal for a person to drink at the age of twenty-one should be changed so that an eighteen-year-old would be allowed to drink alcohol legally. At 18, you are now an adult and you are expected to act that way. Legally you can vote, get married, buy a lottery ticket, serve in the military and be tried as an adult in the United States court system. These are very important responsibilities that are yours to take care of when you become an adult.

"Good grief... let them [also] take the responsibility for the consumption of an adult beverage" (Conway 2000). Solutions: In order to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18, I would: 1) Find laws in other states and countries as examples. We should look to the European countries as an example to solve our problems in the United States. "The Europeans teach their children to respect [alcohol] from an early age" (Conway 2000). Theses countries do not have the minimum age of consumption at 21 and this has been proven to make a difference.

There is less underage drinking because drinking is part of their culture and lifestyle. It starts in the household with their family and they are taught to drink smart and socially. Social drinking is acceptable; it is a time to have fun while still being in control. New Zealand changed their legal age to 18 in 1989. The slogan "You " re not just a teen when you " re 18" shows that the New Zealand government is taking the change very seriously and so should the men and women that are of the legal age. Maybe the United States should look around the world to try and solve our own problems.

"Isn't it ironic that the United States has the highest minimum drinking age and for some strange reason the largest problem with underage consumption" (Toomey & Rosenfeld, 1996)? This statement in itself should be one very good point when considering the change of the legal age to 18. 2) Alcohol Consumption among minors: Some might look at this report and argue that at least the amount of alcohol consumption is decreasing among young people since the drinking age has been increased, but what most don't know is that this has actually been occurring since about 1980. This was long before the states were required to raise the drinking age. Why stop a trend that has been working for 7 years prior to the raising of the drinking age? There has also been a huge increase in younger people that drink more abusively when they do drink. This change has occurred after the drinking age was increased. 3) The affect of lowering the drinking age on Drinking and Driving: Some may also think that younger people are involved in more drinking and driving accidents and decreasing the drinking age will only increase this problem.

The thing about this fact that most people tend to not think about is that teens tend to abuse alcohol no more than people that fall in the age category of 21 to 40 year olds. When you take into account that teenagers drive more miles than older drivers do, the statistics do not show a higher rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities for teenagers than older groups 3) Laws behind underage Drinking In 1987 the Minimum Legal Drinking Age Law was passed to "make it illegal for any person who is less than 21 years old to either purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages or to misrepresent their age to obtain such beverages" (Policy and legislation, 1996). In the same year the Adult Responsibility Law was also enacted to try to decrease underage drinking. This law was made to "prohibit a person age 21 or older from purchasing alcoholic beverages for an underage person or from giving of furnishing such beverages to a person under age 21" (Shook, 2000). 4) Why the drinking age is unfair As someone who is twenty-one, eighteen-year-olds are given all of the same responsibilities except that of being able to drink.

In 1970, Congress passed the 26 th Amendment to the Constitution allowing people of the ages of 18 to vote (Engs & Hanson, 1998). As other privileges were continued to be given to those aged 18, 29 states reduced their drinking age between 1970 and 1975 to accompany the idea of giving them responsibility. Most people that are 18 are making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. Leaving home and going to college, or for those who decide, choosing an occupation right after high school requires maturity. The life of a college freshman student is basically in his or her own hands. At the age of 18 one can: get married, sign legally binding contracts and even fight for their country in times of war.

These require a lot of responsibility and the same maturity that someone who is 21 or even 40 would need to make the same decisions. It just doesn't make sense that someone "could be drafted and die for his or her country, but if that same student gets caught with a beer in hand, he or she can face a maximum penalty of 60 days in prison and a $500 fine" (Shook, 2000). There are problems related to drinking among all groups of people, not only those who are under the legal age and it is wrong to discriminate against them. 5) Why the current law doesn't Work With the Minimum Age law, all of the restrictions that are placed on young people, banning drinking makes it seem all the more appealing.

"This is because drinking by these youth is seen as an enticing 'forbidden fruit,' a 'badge of rebellion against authority' and a symbol of 'adulthood' " (Engs, February-March 1998). But just like the Minimum law, the Adult Responsibility law seems to not be as threatening as hoped. Everyone knows that it is real easy for someone who is underage to get alcohol either from someone who is 21 or to get a fake identification to obtain alcohol for yourself. Increasing the legal drinking age and making laws that prohibit people of legal age to purchase alcohol for those not old enough doesn't really work. The difference between people of the ages of 19-21 is very hard to distinguish. And even if we catch people underage, we aren't really stopping them.

People of this age are in the same social group and will get alcohol from older friends. These laws also result in an increase in crime. Some may not realize that whenever they even sip an alcoholic beverage they are going against the law. By making the drinking age 21, we have greatly increased illegal alcohol use.

When people use fake id's they are going against the law. If we look at the direct results from how our government is trying to prevent the youth from drink, it shows us that what it is doing is actually the reverse of what is intended. The laws that the U. S. has now are crating more problems related to underage drinking than they are solving. Therefore there is a need for these laws to be changed..