Is it Time to Lower the Drinking Age to 18?

Lowering the drinking age has been much in debate and hot discussion among political parties including even thosewho have been determined to lower it from 25 to 18. The youth of a nation who get the right to vote and serve in the military at 18, which makes them quite responsible and mature enough to analyze wrong and right and that accounts to the fact that they have every right to take the decision of consuming alcohol rather than being debarred from the same.

Earlier Sheila Dikshit government faced a tug-of-war situation when the decision of lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 was put to halt due to the BJP in opposition raising debate.

While the debate goes round the table, it’s time to take a quick glance over its pros and cons.


Many argue that with age comes tolerance which is not true to the extent of our understanding and experiences where we find an 80 year old being irresponsible while an 18 year guy being more serious and responsible. It further elaborates that tolerance has nothing to do with age but more to do with responsibility. Refuting the lowering of drinking age on this basis sounds illogical, thereby.

It has been noticed that countries with higher legal drinking age face more alcohol related deaths and damages than nations where the drinking age is lower. For example, countries such as China, Italy and Greece witness lesser alcohol related problems and the legal drinking age is also lower there.

The argument that drinking at 18 is dangerous can be fought by improvising the drinking habits through peers and parents during public events as it is a public activity. Hence, drinking can be easily monitored and checked if 18 years old over indulge in consumption.

What’s barred seems irresistible, isn’t it? And so is the case with drinking as well. Illegal drinking is the first to take firm ground once drinking is barred for certain age group because we as human beings tend to be attracted more towards the things which we are asked to stay away from. So, the problem gets complicated if alcohol consumption is barred for 18 years old, who tend to binge on uncontrolled drinking.

Many states in US have allowed drinking age to stay at 18 which comes along with parental permission and on public premises while in India, we still believe to stay behind the times by limiting the drinking to 25 years old. The question is if a juvenile aged 16-18 can be tried as an adult for heinous crimes, isn’t he or she equally responsible enough to decide to drink or abstain from it or is judged to be equally responsible for making it a call all by himself/herself?

As far as adult rights are concerned, almost all legal rights for adults seem gained except this one right to drink and that is the root cause leading to risky drinking habits. If 18 year olds are treated equally as adults and not kids and are thought of being responsible; then unsafe drinking can be controlled to a greater extent. We find fewer incidences of drunken driving accidents in those countries where legal drinking age is 18 and that is a simple reason to accept this age group as a mature one.

The age between 18 to 21 years is more about experimenting and getting thrills out of adventures and breaking the law. Only if the taboo is eliminated, the thrill element can be decreased further leading to less consumption of alcohol by 18 year olds.

Prohibition of drinking by 18 years old in public places can induce in them the tendency to be forced to drink in non-administered settings like parties. If the age limit is lowered, at least they will be freer to drink in a regulated environment.


Moving to the other side of this, looking at the cons, we can say that lowering of the drinking age can lead to more incidences of crimes related to alcohol that may be fatal in nature. According to studies, US states like Michigan and Maine have experienced increased alcohol related crimes once the drinking age has been reduced to 18 over there.

Due to undergoing physical changes, introduction to alcoholism at such an age can act as a catalyst or a trigger that may create a range of associated problems like drug abuse, unprotected intercourse, depression and anger and social evils.

Children at such an age do not have fair understanding of the actual amount to consume and so may be prone to uncontrolled drinking leading to alcohol abuse. If they are allowed to drink at such an age, they will surely be engaged to binge upon it.

Overindulgence may further ruin their academic performance due to detrimental impact on their studies. The earlier a person begins drinking, the more are the chances of leaving the habit late, which intends towards the person becoming an alcoholic later in life.

If they are exposed to alcohol at such a tender age, the regular consumption might put them to a risk of stunted brain growth with less efficiency and also poor organizational skill, planning and emotional development.

Allowing 18 years old to drink means paving a way for 16 and 17 years to drink as well, as they almost tend to be in a common social circle! This may lead to underage drinking further creating adverse effects.

Drinking affects the frontal lobes of the brain and since at the age of 18, the body is still in a growing stage; it can hamper the mental development of the person in later stage of life.

The real thing to ponder over is to consider the role played by age in drinking matter. It’s also considerable that a person is mature enough to handle his or her drinks if he or she is old enough to vote or wise enough to serve in the army. Furthermore, if so then he or she should be competent enough to decide if drinking is right or wrong. Banning anything for that matter has never served any solution as it only tends to aggravate the problem through illegal, unlawful and hidden means of committing the crime or doing away with barred activity. So, the ideal way out must be to allow drinking in supervised and regulated conditions, if the government considers allowing 18 year olds to consume alcohol.

The reason is not supporting the lowering of drinking age but to consider the situation where law is resulting in more harassment than regulation. 25 is an unreasonable age at which the consumption of alcohol be allowed because if 18 years is considerable for driving and deciding who will rule the country, then it is an age mature enoughto handle alcohol as well.

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