Mapping the world's opinions

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Should the drinking age be 18?

The risks associated with drinking have led most countries to set a minimum legal age for the purchase or consumption of alcohol, but the specific drinking age varies from place to place. The most common drinking age around the world is 18, but the United States has a minimum legal drinking age of 21, and ages from 15 to 25 are used in other nations. Is 18 the ideal standard, or should the drinking age be 21? Should there be a minimum legal drinking age at all?
Ethics , Politics , Society

Yes, the drinking age should be 18.

Many legal, social, and cultural rights and responsibilities come into effect when a person turns 18, and it is in everyone's best interest that personal choices about drinking be a part of that transition into adulthood.

Adults should have the right to decide

Legally, adulthood begins at the age of 18 in most parts of the world, and adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about drinking. Explore

18 is the safest minimum age

Barring 18-year-olds from drinking in safe, regulated environments just leads them to unsafe behavior. Explore

A minimum age of 18 normalizes responsible drinking

Eliminating the thrill of breaking the law through underage drinking makes moderate, responsible consumption of alcohol the norm. Explore

No, the drinking age should be 21.

Young adults are more vulnerable to the detrimental effects of alcohol and less equipped to make responsible choices about drinking. A higher drinking age prohibits people from drinking until they are mature enough to handle it.

Drinking is medically risky

Young adults are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol consumption on brain development, and are at greater risk of alcohol poisoning. Explore

Younger people are too immature

There are too many risks associated with drinking alcohol to trust young adults to drink responsibly. A higher minimum age is consistent with standards for other weighty responsibilities. Explore

A higher drinking age reduces drunk driving

The single biggest danger associated with drinking is drunk driving, and less drunk driving happens when the drinking age is higher. Explore

The ideal drinking age depends on the jurisdiction.

There is no single optimal drinking age because different groups and cultures may have completely divergent views on the consumption of alcohol.

Cultural and religious beliefs vary widely

People in different parts of the world have very different attitudes about drinking. Explore

There should be no drinking age.

Drinking age laws are ineffective at preventing underage drinking, and society would be fine without the institution of a minimum legal drinking age.

Historically, there were no drinking age laws

The drinking age is a fairly recent invention in legal history, and there is no real need for it. Explore

Young people drink regardless of the drinking age

A significant percentage of the population engages in underage drinking no matter how low or high the drinking age is. Explore

Underage drinking is not a priority for law enforcement

Law enforcement agencies have better things to do than spend their time and resources handling underage drinkers. Explore
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Feb 2020 at 14:50 UTC