One of the most common points of contention concerns whether or not the legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered from 21 to 18. In my opinion, the purchase of alcoholic beverages by 18-year-olds should most definitely be legalized. In fact, I believe that doing so can do a lot more good than bad for American youth. At 18, there are a lot of things one is able to do, such as voting, starting a family, joining the military, purchasing a firearm, and attending jury duty, all of which demand great responsibility. Such activities have the potential to produce a greater impact on one's life and the lives of others than the purchase and consumption of alcohol.

Maintaining the legal drinking age at 21 is not going to reduce the instances of underage drinking. Let's be honest, drinking and partying culture is obvious in every state and in every university, and I feel as if, the more restrictions that are placed on people, the more they will engage in such activities. Raising the drinking age has been justified by the need to preclude the occurrence of drinking and driving; however, this law has not prevented overall drinking and driving and alcohol-related traffic deaths. Even though it is less common among individuals between the ages of 18 and 20, drinking and driving is still prevalent among those who are 21 and above. In essence, driving while intoxicated is not a matter of age but a matter of common sense.

It is also possible that placing such limitations and restrictions on alcohol consumption could result in an unhealthy relationship between alcohol and consumers. The example of European drinking laws demonstrates this point. All EU member states mandate that anyone that is 18 years of age or older is able to purchase and consume alcohol. When visiting family and friends in Europe, I took notice of the fact that the way Europeans perceive and use alcohol is quite different from how it is seen and used in the United States. From my observations, people in Europe tend to more reasonably approach alcohol consumption and have greater control over how much and what they drink. In contrast, it is apparent that American youth that do drink alcohol don't approach it in the best way. There are a lot more cases of peer pressure in the United States when it comes to drinking, and drinking itself is often promoted as an activity that is typical of your average college student, an activity that involves excessive alcohol consumption, blacking out, and getting wild, all in the name of fun.

Allowing the drinking age to be set at 18, I believe, will give Americans greater freedom and better knowledge of how to best approach alcohol, and it can reduce a lot of the negative behaviors that are often associated with it and are prevalent among youth. Generally speaking, establishing the legal drinking age at 18 just makes more sense given that there are so many other, more important activities that are legalized at that age as well.