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60 Second Idea, Social Science, Uncategorized

Let Students Drink…Legally

The video posted above outlines the debate for lowering the drinking age in the US from 21 to 18.  College campuses are rampant with students drinking illegally – and all are at risk.  The number of alcohol related deaths has increased in recent years, and we have seen a crackdown on campuses regarding student safety.    Even on Bucknell, fraternities have been kicked off and put on probation because of drinking violations, among other things.  Stringent guidelines have been put in place at Bucknell to “register” parties, and yet these rules have backfired, as students have destroyed the downtown area known to Lewisburg locals as the “ghetto.”

Lowering the drinking age to 18 would make the act of drinking less of a taboo action for young people and allow them to be more knowledgeable about alcohol and its consequences by the time students left for college.  More experience and more acceptance of it at home would result in an increased knowledge about the dangers of alcohol.  There are certain drawbacks to the law, but the benefits far outweigh the costs as college campuses would be safer with more students understanding how to safely consume alcohol at a younger age.  Money would not be wasted on town/campus police patrolling students’ homes for parties and illegal drinking.  The current law of having to be 21 to drink is not effective, as we see those younger than 21 drink extremely frequently.  College wouldn’t be thought as a place to go to drink because many would be able to legally drink before attending.  A person can vote, sit on a jury, and go to war for their country at the age of 18.  Why can’t they have a beer?


About Ben K.

I'm a senior management major at Bucknell University, hailing from Westchester, NY. Upon graduation, I will begin work as a management consultant.


7 thoughts on “Let Students Drink…Legally

  1. Interesting idea Ben, but I don’t really think that lowering the drinking age would be as beneficial as you outlined above. I think that it would lead to even younger teenagers – maybe 14 and 15 year olds – drinking because it would be more easily accessible for them via 18 year olds who could buy for them. This could be a problem as younger teenagers are physically smaller and have less body mass; therefore, they have less tolerance for alcohol. I think that the problem of underage drinking is going to persist no matter what – people always want what they can’t have. All we can do is try to monitor and control it so that it doesn’t become grossly out of hand. However, it could be thast we have reached that point already…

    Posted by Lauren McGuiggan | April 22, 2012, 9:42 pm
  2. I really agree with your post here, Ben. I have often felt myself that this issue needs to be resolved, as the laws simply stop only a portion of underage drinking. Because it has the implicit “illegal” association, students and kids feel the need to be sneaky with their drinking and hide it from parents. This turns the act of drinking into a “forbidden” act and draws an entirely different assumption with drinking alcohol: that it is illegal and unregulated. I truly believe that a strong education system, similar to drivers ed, along with parental supervision would substantially increase the awareness and responsible use of alcohol. 18 year olds will then be able to drink with their parents in an open forum, learning socially acceptable drinking habits and allowing themselves to be educated on responsible drinking long before they are sent to be alone. While this may in fact spur children to drink at ages around 15, I hate to inform the parents that it already occurs. However, being able to educate 18 year olds on responsible drinking habits and preventing these individuals from acting out of hand may in fact prove to be the smarter option in the long run. Furthermore, stripping this illegal association would most definitely encourage students to call authorities when students are looking sick after a night of drinking. While there may still be individuals who abuse alcohol, keeping the drinking age at 21 is not stopping them.

    Posted by Derek | April 24, 2012, 9:39 pm
  3. Ben, I totally agree with your post and the arguments put forth to lower the drinking age. Europe is a great example of how a lower drinking age is not backfiring on society. In fact, young adults are more conscious of alcohol consumption and make wiser decisions.

    Posted by Lauren Daley | April 24, 2012, 10:49 pm
  4. It is also interesting to note that in many states (i’m not sure if you can in all) you can be a bartender at the age of 18. One of the jobs that a bartender can be legally liable for is to make sure a patron doesn’t have too much to drink so that he or she is a danger to themselves or someone else. In short, you are old enough to know when someone else has reached their limit but you are not old enough to make the decision to drink or not for yourself.

    Posted by ChrisB | April 25, 2012, 9:57 am
  5. Are there problems with drinking for those 18-21? Yes. Does the prohibition cause its own problems? I think so too. Is lowering the age going to solve all of the above? Not so clear. The problem of drinking and driving always struck me as a transportation problem as much as a drinking one.

    Posted by Jordi | April 26, 2012, 8:36 am

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