Like in many countries, 21 years is the minimum age of alcohol consumption in the United States. However, many policymakers have been advocating for the reduction of this age. Over the last couple of years, there has been an effort by some policymakers to lower the legal drinking age. The efforts include introducing bills as a means to try and legislate in about seven states. As (Wechsler, H., & Nelson 2010) argues, there is no correlation between drinking age of 21 and increased alcohol consumption for young adults.
The Amethyst Initiative who were advocating for the reduction of age of consumption, were of the view that setting a minimum age led dangerous drinking among young adults. Minimum age for the consumption of alcohol can lead to binge drinking which can be dangerous to the health of those consuming the alcohol.
Research has indicated that the minimum drinking age of 21 years is responsible for saving up to 800 lives in the country annually. In the USA, alcohol is among the leading causes of death. Alcohol consumption is responsible for up to 75,000 deaths in the US every year (Wechsler, H., & Nelson 2010). The limit of the age of alcohol consumption therefore may not have a significant impact on the family and the community at large by reducing the costs of public health. Alcohol consumption is linked to a variety of ills in society.
Some of these include sexually transmitted diseases, crime, sexual assault, and some other high-risk behavior. However, this does not necessarily mean that a reduction in the legal age for alcohol consumption will lead to a reduction of this cases. It is also worth noting that a reduction in the minimum drinking age has led to accidents attributed to accidents. Considering that the contractual age is 18 years there is no reason why the legal age for drinking alcohol should not be reduced.
There are economic considerations that the state should make when determining the optimal drinking age. The reason for this is that alcohol consumption can have a lasting effect on society as a whole in the form of insurance markets especially in situations where there are injuries. (Carpenter & Dobkin 2011) argue that reducing the legal age of drinking will increase the taxes that both the levels of government receives.
Although there are some downsides which are attributed to alcohol consumption such as premature deaths which rob both levels of government, more taxes can be raised if there is an increase on the number of people who responsibly consume alcohol. The effect on both levels of government, therefore, is that they need to use any resources they get from taxes from selling alcohol to mitigate any factors that may arise for the young adults.
Both the federal government and states have a role to play in the mitigation for the clamor to reduce the legal alcohol consumption age. However, it is critical that everyone understands that it is the responsibility of everyone to prevent the issue of underage drinking. The reason why both levels of government should intervene is that alcohol consumers are not aware of the cost of their behavior.
Estimates indicate that with each drink, there is a cost of $2.63 that is imposed on other citizens. It is therefore the role of both the levels of government to ensure that the citizens understand the cost of alcohol consumption. If both the federal government and the states decide to lower the minimum age of drinking then they should also consider combining with other policies like mandatory licensing and education on the effects of alcohol.
Adolescents do not possess the political sophistication and an ability to discern issues like the adults. This is the reason why there are areas in the law that require a higher age if one is to engage in some activities such as consumption of alcohol (Barnes 2016). The minimum drinking age came about after President Reagan created the Presidential Commission on Drunken Driving. When the recommendations of the act did not work as expected, congress enacted the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. From then on, there has been a political culture has always that has set the lowest age of drinking at 21 years.
Citizens have accepted this age because the policymakers have made them believe that when people reach the age then they will have achieved the required maturity level. However, the war in Vietnam, many people were of the opinion that the least legal age that existed at the time for drinking should be lowered. They argued that if it was okay for the legal age for military drafting would be 18, then the same would be applied for drinking alcohol. Prevailing circumstances can, therefore, influence the way citizens view the policy.
In conclusion, efforts for lowering the minimum drinking age by policymakers such as Amethyst Initiative may have positive effects that they presume their efforts will have. Despite a minimum age of alcohol consumption being in place the problem of binge drinking continues to exist in colleges across the United States.
This is clear indication that the minimum age of drinking has done nothing to prevent young people who are of the age of 21 from consuming alcohol. The different stakeholders should therefore ensure that they advocate for the reducing of the legally allowed age for the consumption of alcohol. The reason for this is that more lives might be saved if young people consume alcohol without hiding.