The presidents of more than 100 colleges and universities have signed a document urging lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age to 18. The educators say the 21-year-old drinking age is widely flouted and has led to a culture of binge drinking on college campuses. Anti-drunken driving groups say the law does work. They argue that colleges don’t want to be bothered with enforcing the law and are looking for an easy way out. John McCardell, the former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, says his group, the Amethyst Initiative, is against intoxication but supports responsible, adult behavior toward alcohol.
College seems to be a place where drinking and partying is just a part of everyday life. I remember the days where going to class, then hitting happy hour was almost routine in college, then heading out to a house party with a big group of friends. At the time I never really stopped to think about the amount of alcohol I was consuming, just that fact that college was the best time of my life. Now that I am a little more mature (older and boring), I look back and think that it makes sense that 30% of people using alcohol are considered alcoholics, or have a drinking dependency; I was probably in that category. The problem that I had was that I thought the only way to become and alcoholic, or be considered dependant upon alcohol was to be the guy that wakes up in the morning and heads straight to the bar, then drinks during the day and does nothing else. The truth is that my college days allowed me to sustain the energy to attend all my classes, and function normally. Because I was drinking after classes and a night, I felt that I was just another college student. The problem is that myself, and most college students out there, would engage in alcohol consumption in a short time frame drinking a lot more than I would ever dream of today.
The College Days: Binge Drinking and Thinking it’s Normal Behavior
The college days were fun with the beer bongs, and the good old days where shot gunning a few cans of keystone light was commonplace. I’m much more comfortable with a nice glass of Cabernet with my dinner now, and perhaps a beer or two during the game. The fact remains, college students in general tend to drink large amounts or binge when they party. Shot after shot, and in the range of 5-10 drinks within an hour. At my age, that would put my in be and hung over for at least a week, if not in the hospital.
Among the supporters are presidents at Duke University and Ohio State University. Although not all major universities are behind the initiative, the fact is that the majority of the student bodies at colleges and universities tend to have access to alcohol, regardless of their age. Whether it’s via an older friend, or the fake ID method that seems to work on college campuses, students still have access to alcohol without issue.
Will Lowering the Drinking Age to 18 be Beneficial or Harmful?
- Is the right answer lowering the drinking age, or will this simply make alcohol binge drinking more accessible for college students? Take it another step further, what about high school students, most of whom are 18 their senior year.
- Would you vote for a law that lowers the drinking age? (The Amethyst Initiative)
- Are you in college, or do you have children in college? What are your thoughts on lowering the drinking age?
- Why do you think students in Europe tend to control their drinking habits versus American students?
- Do you think the lower drinking age and relaxed drinking atmosphere would benefit America in the same manner?
- Will this type of change curb binge-drinking habits, and essentially lower the risk of driving under the influence?
- The military enlistment age is 18. Young men and women can fight, and die, for our country. Shouldn’t they be able to drink as adults if we lower the legal drinking age to 18?
Share your thoughts; tell us what solution fits this issue in America!