In today’s day and age, the majority of countries around the world have a legal drinking age of eighteen while the legal drinking age in the United States is twenty-one. As someone who is three weeks shy of turning twenty-one and is a rising Senior in college, the drinking age is frustrating. My birthday is at the end of June, so being young for my grade takes away from my entire Junior year of college and half the summer of being able to legally drink. Simply wanting to enjoy a drink at dinner or at a bar with my friends who are of age, or, when out with my family at a restaurant is not a possibility.
The legal drinking age in the United States promotes younger generations to grow up with the idea that drinking is inappropriate and should not be condoned, ultimately promoting rebellion and a lot of dangerous under-age drinking. Most of the youth in the United States grow up not understanding how to responsibly drink, leading to binge-drinking and an unfortunate amount of underage drinking related deaths. During the Spring semester of my junior year of college I had the privilege of studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain, where the drinking age is eighteen. There were many noticeable differences between the drinking cultures in Spain vs. in the United States; in Spain, people value the social aspect surrounding alcohol consumption. They simply enjoy the presence of friends and family at bars or restaurants and slowly sip on a drink for upwards of an hour; in the United States, however, while there is definitely a similarity regarding drinking from a social standpoint, there is a clear generational divide regarding how individuals handle their liquor.
College and high school students in the United States are immersed in the culture of drinking games and binge-drinking, while in Spain, from what I have experienced, younger generations tend to drink similarly to adults where they do not drink to get necessarily drunk, rather they drink to enjoy spending time with good company. Growing up with a legal drinking age of eighteen allows teenagers to be exposed to alcohol at an appropriate time in their lives as drinking is viewed as something normal and supported, not looked down upon and unsupported. In the past, drinking and driving was a serious issue the United States faced with too many deaths, stemming from this epidemic. In today’s society, however, with the help of technology, companies such as Uber and Lyft have become normal routines for those who wish to drink responsibly and not drive under the influence. Lowering the drinking age to eighteen from twenty-one in the United States is vital for the upcoming younger generations as they will no longer feel the need to binge-drink. Drinking will become much more widely accepted and many lives could be saved from under-age drinking due to the lack of knowledge of how to drink responsibly from a young age.
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