Should the U.S. Lower the Drinking Age?

In a majority of European countries, the drinking age is 18 or younger. Many Middle Eastern countries either have no drinking age or have a very low age (Photo used by permission of

Everyone knows the legal drinking age of the US is 21, but did you know that the US is one of only 12 countries (out of 190 countries) where the legal age is 21 (out of 190 countries)? Over 65% of countries have a legal drinking age of 18-19, many of them being in Europe.

In many European countries, alcohol and drinking are a big part the culture. You go to a pub with your lads and grab a beer or have with your cheese and appetizers with wine in France. Alcohol is also very common in cooking in places like Italy when making sauces.

In the UK, teens ages 16-17 are allowed to drink as long as they have parental accompaniment. In Germany, teens can purchase wine and beer at 16 and can buy and drink spirits (liquor) at 18.

Much of Europe’s drinking age ranges from 16-18, as it’s part of the culture over there (wine in France, beer in Germany or belgium, a drink at the pub in England, etc.). While there is of course a party culture in every country, much of the drinking culture in the US can be associated with crazy parties or just being completely wasted at a club, regardless of age.

Now while the overall drinking age around the US is the same, there are some exceptions to this rule, state by state. In NC the exceptions are as follows: religious purposes, educational purposes, medical purposes, and for reporting the medical need of another minor.

Through a poll on Instagram where students were asked if the drinking age should be lowered and why, 105 voted that we should lower the drinking age and 88 said not to lower and many had specific opinions as to why.

“I don’t trust kids my age to not drink and drive,” said Jeb Thaxton, freshman at ECU. Over 6 different people in the poll said, “If you can die or vote for your country, you should be able to buy beer.”

Others argued the fact that many countries have a drinking age of 18 and the fact that we’re considered adults at 18. “If we’re legally an adult at 18, we should be able to make our own decisions,” said Camille Johnson, junior from Leesville.

“It shows us what our limits are…and teaches responsibility so less people feel the need to be idiots and get wasted all the time just to be ‘cool’. It allows people to legally understand their limits and makes [drinking] much less of a big deal,” said Veronica Ford, junior from Leesville.

On the opposing side of the argument, Max Buico, junior from Leesville, says, “The drinking age should not be lowered because of brain development not being complete until 25 and people being dumb and stupid.” John Thornton, freshman from Leesville said, “No, the brains of world’s youth should be kept safe.”

Nick Dacayanan, senior at St. Peter’ s High School in Staten Island said that the drinking age shouldn’t be lowered because laws have never stopped anyone from buying alcohol, using fake ids or obtaining it from others who are of age.

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this argument. Either side has agreeable arguments, and based on age more high schoolers might said with lowering while more parents might side with keeping the age the same.

Overall, students believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18 instead of 21 because then kids aren’t trying “to get wasted” all in one night, but instead can make responsible decisions about drinking.


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