About Me

My name is Spencer. I'm 23 years old, and I'm a junior at Princeton. So far college has taken me five years. I've taken time off to work, transferred to USC and come back, and learned a lot along the way.

I like to think about life and what I'm going to do with mine.

I've met a lot of people my age with the same sorts of thoughts so feel free to read, take surveys, and comment.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lowered drinking age?

I've gotten emails and comments giving me a simple solution to the alcohol problem: to lower the drinking age so kids get used to alcohol sooner. I will admit that I've thought about that solution before. Quite a lot in fact.

Although it may seem like a viable solution, I don't think it will work very well. Even if it exposes us to alcohol sooner than we normally would, our lives at home would stay the same. Most parents will still feel the same about alcohol regardless of laws. For example, driving a motorcycle is legal for kids if they have the proper education and license, but I doubt most parents will allow their kids to do so. It's also possible that such new laws will make already tense households and parent-child relationships even worse when it comes to alcohol, drugs, parties, and other related topics.

Beyond the issues that parents would have with it, I personally do not think that lowering the drinking age will drastically change the percentage of kids that experience alcohol before they reach the legal age. Where I grew up, alcohol was very accessible. Even from the ages of fourteen and fifteen, if you knew older kids or had an older sibling, you could get alcohol with ease. It was in abundance at parties and formals, and I'd say that many kids in my high school had experienced alcohol well before they went on to university. The only thing a lowered drinking age would do is make alcohol even more accessible to young people.

Also, the problem doesn't lie in exposure. Everyone must get exposed to alcohol eventually and figure out their limits and what they like and don't like. But why, even after we know our individual limits, do we continue to seek to get drunk or "hammered"? Why do we need alcohol to have fun? Are the two really correlated? The idea that fun and consuming alcohol are one in the same must change. By no means do I imply that everybody around our age does thinks that alcohol and fun are correlated, but, as I say in my "Minority" post, there are still a large amount of our peers that do. We should take the time to help them and future generations by changing that mentality.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure, but I think the argument for a lowered drinking age isn't "exposure" but rather taking away the "forbidden-fruit" appeal of alcohol.

    I was talking about this with a teacher last year who had mixed feelings on the matter, one of his biggest concerns being that a drinking age of 18 was that high school students would have legal access to alcohol. I don't know the particulars, but one potential solution I've seen thrown around is the idea of a provisional drinking liscense. http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/YouthIssues/1046347764.html

    I also spoke to a classmate a few weeks ago about the drinking age, and he held the paradoxical position of agreeing the drinking age should be lower, but believing the act of lowering it would be detrimental. I'm not able to articulate his arguments as well as he could, so I'll refer him here so perhaps he can post himself.

    It's interesting to consider the effect our drinking age has on the American attitude towards alcohol.

    -Female, Class of 2015