When someone turns 18, our country considers him an adult, and trusts him with the responsibility of voting, starting a family, purchasing firearms and tobacco products, entering into legal contracts, holding public office, fighting in a war, and dying for his country, a country that doesn't even allow him to consume alcohol. From the end of prohibition until 1984, drinking ages were determined by the states, many of them had the age at 21, while several lowered the age to 18, for the purchase of beer. This was changed due to the baby boom generation and the Vietnam war. From 1970-1975, nearly all states lowered their legal drinking ages, usually from 21 to 18. Due to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, all states had to raise their minimum drinking age to 21, within 2 years, or lose a portion of their Federal-Aid Highway Funds. This bill, which coerced states into establishing a 21-year-old drinking age, should have been rejected because many believed that it would result in the federal encroachment into areas that have been reserved to the states under the Constitution.
Nowhere in the constitution has the power to regulate the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages been delegated to the federal government. Aside from the current drinking age bill bordering on being unconstitutional, there are many other reasons for lowering the drinking age. For example, in Austria, the legal drinking age is 16, and they have less alcoholism than the United States does with the legal age at 21. Many experts believe this is because people learn how to consume alcohol responsibly, at a younger age. Drinking is not considered a rite of passage in Austria, as it is here. According to Dr.
Ruth Engs, Professor of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, the legal drinking age should be lowered to 18 or 19. "Although the legal purchase age is 21, a majority of young people under this age consume alcohol, and too many of them do so in an irresponsible manner. This is largely because drinking is seen by these youth as an enticing, forbidden fruit, a badge of rebellion against authority, and a symbol of adulthood." Engs believes that the flaunting of the current age-specific prohibition is readily apparent among young people who, since the increase in the minimum legal drinking age, have tended to drink in a more abusive manner than do those of legal age. This, of course, is exactly what happened to the general public during National Prohibition. When asked if raising the legal drinking age has made things worse, Engs replied, "Yes. Like National Prohibition, it has been counter-productive.
Raising the drinking age was much worse than doing nothing." Most people that we asked concluded that the legal drinking age should be 18. It would lower alcoholism, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol abuse. It would also increase responsibility when drinking and, most importantly, give legal adults the equal rights they deserve.