General Question

elchoopanebre's avatar

U.S. Drinking Age?

Asked by elchoopanebre (3079points) May 8th, 2008

Do you believe the U.S. drinking age should be lowered to 18? Why or why not?

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26 Answers

Stormcrow's avatar

I have mixed feelings with this one. 18 year olds are asked to join the military, grab a rifle and possibly die for our country, yet they can’t have a drink. Yet I do remember what it was like to be 18 and believe myself to be invulnerable to just about everything. Risks taken that shouldn’t be, close calls and bad experiences. I say why not. Lower it to 18. Better yet, lets just do like Canada and make it 19 is the legal age for just about everything I believe.

ccatron's avatar

no. 18-year-olds, in general, are not responsible enough to be “drinkers”. I know that a lot of teenagers do drink at an earlier age now, but why should it be encouraged by making it legal?

jrpowell's avatar

I would like the drinking age to be 16 and driving to be 18. Let the kids get used to drinking before the can get behind the wheel.

And lets be honest. Getting beer was simple when I was 17. Finding a homeless guy to buy it for me was easy. Just give them a few bucks.

kevbo's avatar

I believe individual states can still lower the drinking age to 18 if they’re willing to sacrifice federal funding for roads. I think it was 18 in Louisiana when I was growing up. Not that it mattered because we started drinking around 15 or 16.

I like jp’s idea.

Mtl_zack's avatar

@ stormcrow: the legal drinking age in canada depends on the province. in most, its 19, but where i live (quebec), its 18. but as we say in quebec, “the legal drinking age is just a suggestion” because we can go to the depanneur (corner store) and buy beer and wine there.

elchoopanebre's avatar

Kevbo: I’m from Louisiana, too.

Baton Rouge (LSU Student)

robmandu's avatar

@storm, I’ve heard that, if a person is actually in the military, that access to alcohol is easy for under 21’s (limited to on-base, and perhaps a don’t ask, don’t tell kind of thing).

In your experience, is that true?

kevbo's avatar

Well, that explains it!


I lived in Kenner from ‘83 to ‘91. Now live in Albuquerque

elchoopanebre's avatar

I have a friend (in LA) who’s living in Albuquerque this summer. Small world!

kevbo's avatar

Indeed! I hope he didn’t have to drive to get here.

Stormcrow's avatar

@robmandu In the states we abide by the national law of 21, but when in other countries, like Germany, it’s whatever their drinking age is. As for a don’t ask method, I can’t say that it doesn’t happen, but not from what I’ve seen. I’ve been carded so many times at the Class 6 and I’m many moons past 21. ;)

elchoopanebre's avatar

(She) actually hasn’t left yet but she IS driving straight. But it’s not that bad in my opinion; I drove from LA to California last winter break. The desert is an awesome scenery.

gooch's avatar

Actually in my state LA you can drink (public consumption)at the age of 18 if your parents or legal gaurdian buys it for you. Each state makes their own rules. The legal age in which you may purchase alchol is 21 due to the federal government imposing loss of federal hiway funding if it were not 21. Their is also a clause that if you have been married or emancipated by your parents you can also buy alchol.

kevbo's avatar

I didn’t know that, gooch. Thanks for the info. LA is always the holdout when it comes to drinking.

@elchoo, I’ve crisscrossed Texas enough for a few lifetimes.

skfinkel's avatar

Since brains are still in development mode, it would probably be best to wait until 21. And that would go for the military as well—don’t kill the kids. And, might I add, driving as well? Let’s just treat everyone under 21 as the (potentially) wonderful young people they are, and try and keep them alive to adulthood.

elchoopanebre's avatar


In your opinion, should Europe adopt this same law(s)? The drinking and military conscription age are 18 almost everywhere I can think of.

scamp's avatar

I agree with ccatron, and this is the reason why.

wildflower's avatar

This is probably a question I should know the answer to, but at what age is a person considered a legal adult in the U.S.? I mean, when can they enter legal agreements, etc. And what about voting?

My view is that once you reach whatever age that is, you should be allowed to vote, drive and drink – although never at the same time (two hands on the wheel! jk).

Whether that’s 18 or 21, is a matter for the politicians and public opinion, I personally wouldn’t be too bothered either way.
I just think it’s ridiculous to have so many different cut-off points. Like being able to drive when you can’t legally enter an insurance contract on your own. Also, once you’re legally liable for your own actions, you should be allowed to intoxicate yourself if you so choose – and face the consequences if you don’t do it responsibly.

where I grew up, the ‘legal’ age is 18. At that age I could get a drivers license, vote and drink. That’s not to say I didn’t drink before…

Stormcrow's avatar

@wildflower I agree!

robmandu's avatar

@wildflower, as a general rule in the U.S. (with some exceptions already noted):

- drivers license: 16
– legal agreement age (incl. right to vote): 18
– drinking age: 21

nikipedia's avatar

Maybe “age” should never be a factor and we should have to take a little test to prove that we understand the rules about and consequences of drinking, like we have to do with driving.

Or maybe that’s too paternalistic and we should remove restrictions on (victim-free) behavior across the board.

wildflower's avatar

Thanks robmandu!

kevbo's avatar

@ rob et al, in NM they’ve changed to a graduated license system for kids under 18. So you can get a permit at 15, a provisional license at 15.5 (only one passenger under 21 allowed at no driving after 5 p.m. unless accompanied by an adult), and an unrestricted license after you’ve had the provisional license for a year and have had no traffic or drug and alcohol related offenses. Apparently, it’s done a lot to reduce crashes among teen drivers.

buster's avatar

i think it should be lower. between the ages of 18–20 i received 3 illegal consumption citations. it cost me plenty of money and i had to go to a class called Reality. I had to plan my own funeral and go to a funeral home and pick out a coffin. I had to take off work and go to court. i wasn’t bothering anybody just paying taxes and voting. Why shouldn’t a young man be able to enjoy a few beers? getting alcohol was never a problem in fact everyone in my high school would go to Country Bob’s drive through beer store. If you could drive up he sold it to you. Im not saying thats right its just how it was.

skfinkel's avatar

@elchoo: It would be good if the young people of the world were protected somewhat. I have little control over Europe, however.

ItsAHabit's avatar

The Amethyst Initiative is calling for us to reconsider the wisdom of our current age 21 minimum legal drinking age.

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