In many states such as Florida, laws have been put in place to address or stipulate ages commendable to allow people to buy food or beverages of alcoholic nature. These laws cover a spectrum of behaviors defining when, where and under what circumstances alcoholic food and beverage should be consumed. The drinking age limit in the state of Florida is 21. A person who violates this law is liable for committing a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as commended in the constitution. The irony though is that in Florida one can buy a house, own a firearm, enlist in the army, get married and own a business but cannot take any alcoholic drink (Hanson 33).
The idea of lowering the drinking age limit has its critics and supporters. Proposers of lowering the drinking age limit contend that the act will not halt minors from partaking in consumption of alcoholic beverages. In fact some experts believe it is a contributing factor in increasing extreme drinking hence it is counter-intuitive (Marcovitz 23). People have the tendency to find something more intriguing when they are prohibited from it. Drinking by the youth is seen as a symbol of adulthood and an alluring “forbidden fruit”. This is a reason pegged on the increase in the number of underage drinking cases. In fact, the prohibitive laws have a tendency to destroy moderation promoting excess and abusive drinking among the youth.
Earlier drinking age produces more maturity concerning drinking. The experimental nature of the adolescents leads to many abusing alcohol and other drugs. Having a lower age limit like say 18 years of age, will ensure that the eagerness and anxiety to experiment attached to alcoholic beverage consumption is eased. At 18 years of age, an individual is legally recognized as a grownup capable of making rationally thought out choices. In my opinion, if somebody is legally responsible for his actions, he should be limited to some actions only. To consume or not to consume alcohol is a decision that somebody who is fully-grown is able to make. It is absurd that one can enlist in the army, a matter of great severity, without parental consent but when it comes to drinking, the law gives an individual personal privilege to make a sober decision on such a matter.
Other countries such as Britain have lowered their drinking age, yet their drunk-driving fatalities are relatively lower than America’s and Florida in particular. Statistics indicate that a lower drinking age limit in such countries has encouraged responsibility in youths as they consume alcoholic beverages. Another factor in support of a lower drinking age limit is that alcohol dissuades the youth from venturing into other drugs as substitutes of alcohol. In recent surveys conducted by East Carolina University showed that many students reported to intend to use other drugs after the drinking age was raised (Marcovitz 56). A high age drinking limit therefore could push young people to other substances that are dangerous and difficult for the authorities to regulate.
On the flipside, lowering of the age limit normalizes alcohol further making it harmful. Alcohol is a proven factor behind vices and delinquent behavior such as robbery, homicide, rape, and assault. If the drinking age were to be lowered occurrence of these acts of criminal and violent nature would be frequent (Hanson 67). Given that, these crimes could lead to high costs of medical treatment for young people taking alcohol in excess and criminal records if they engage in criminal activities.
Once a culture of excessive consumption of alcohol is perceived as the norm, young adults will find it hard to moderate it as they grow into full adulthood. This is very apparent as many young people believe that binge drinking is just a phase of youth, and do so without knowing the danger it poses to their long-term health and well-being. Another reason why lowering the drinking age may be disastrous is the statistics in some countries that have low age drinking age limits. In France, children 15 years and below who are treated for drunkenness rose by 50% from the year 2004 to the year 2008. Some European countries where the age limit was 16 have begun raising the drinking age to 18 years.
In my opinion, the Florida authorities should lower the drinking age to 18 years as this is the legally accepted age that marks start of adulthood. Early introduction to alcohol promotes a mature and moderated drinking amongst the youths as they progress into adulthood. The laws, however, should be backed with strong terms that will enhance responsible drinking. The authorities should embark on sensitizing the need for responsible drinking in order to enhance a proper society free from vices and medical conditions that are linked to overindulgence in alcoholic beverages.
Marcovitz, Hal. Should the drinking age be lowered. San Diego, CA: Reference Point Press, 2011.
Hanson, David. Preventing alcohol abuse: alcohol, culture, and control. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2003