The current drinking age in United States is 21, and most Americans don’t view this as an abnormal restriction.  However, when you put the U.S. drinking age in the context of drinking ages around the world, the U.S. is in the minority.  

The drinking age of 21 years old is the highest drinking age for any country in the ENTIRE world.  Only 12 countries in the entire world have a drinking age of 21 years old.  Those countries include Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Kiribati, Oman, Mongolia, Iraq and last but not least, the United States.  I don’t know about you, but there seems to be one country on that list that doesn’t seem to belong there.  

Out of the 196 countries in the world, 162 have a lower drinking age than the United States.  Overall, the vast majority of countries have a drinking age that is between 18 and 19 years old.  There are currently 115 countries with a drinking age of 18 or 19 years old.  Only 5 countries in the world have a drinking age of 20 years old.  These countries include Iceland, Thailand, Japan, Paraguay, and Uzbekistan.

With the drinking age being so high in the U.S., you would expect that teens in America would not drink because it is illegal.  However, the exact opposite is true.  American teens have the highest rates of binge drinking in the western world.

In countries that have a lower drinking age, parents and society are accepting of teen drinking, which is actually a good thing.  This allows for teens to learn how to drink, what their limits are, and how to drink without binge drinking.

In America, teen drinking is frowned upon, criminalized, and therefore driven underground.  Instead of American teens getting a glass of wine at dinner or having a beer at a family cookout, they are drinking to extremes because they have to do it out of the public eye.

The U.S. should lower the drinking age to 18 or 19 years old.  Setting the drinking age at 21 years old has only made teen drinking more dangerous. There are many negative effects such as the development of a binge drinking culture and teens being criminally charged for drinking. The lowering of the drinking age will bring teen drinking out of the dark and make teens more responsible drinkers.

 

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Bradley Longsworth is a native of Calvert Country who resides in Dunkirk, Maryland. Bradley graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a degree in Political Science. He is a member of the editorial staff for the Patuxent Post.

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