Should the drinking age be lowered?

Ellis Schmitz, Staff Writer

The drinking age in Rhode Island is something that many people have disputed. Some people want it lowered, and some want it raised. It is argued a lot, and I am here to tell you my opinion on the matter.

Long story short, I think it should stay how it is. However, I am going to explain the reasoning behind this and provide some factual evidence. If you didn’t know, the drinking age in Rhode Island is twenty-one years old. The states have control over the drinking age, but the federal government has some influence.

Time for a history lesson. On July 17, 1984, former President Ronald Reagan signed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. This law was passed and it said that if states did not change their drinking age to a minimum of twenty-one years old, they would have a 10 percent budget cut from their highway funding. All U.S. states at the time adopted the drinking age restriction for fear of their budget cut.

Now, for my opinion. I believe that the drinking age should stay as it is. One reason I believe this is because of maturity. Some people think that the drinking age should be lowered to eighteen years old, which is fairly low. I believe that eighteen-year-olds are not mature enough to drink. If you think about it, some seniors in high school are eighteen years old. I could never imagine a high school senior drinking alcohol. Also, eighteen-year-olds only got their driver’s licenses two years before they turned eighteen, drinking increases your reaction time, so you might hit things especially if you haven’t been driving for too long. I see where people are coming from, considering eighteen-year-olds can vote for who becomes the leader of our country. But in my opinion, this is too low.

My last reason for the drinking age staying the same is growth. Alcohol can stunt growth. When you are eighteen, you are still, technically, a teenager. You are still learning things and developing. If you drank alcohol, it could have an effect on what happens to your growth. According to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) “Some research suggests that, even over the shorter time frame of adolescence, drinking alcohol can harm the liver, bones, endocrine system, and brain, and interfere with growth.” This shows that alcohol can stunt growth and have an effect on development.

I believe that the drinking age should stay at twenty-one. However, I am open to other people’s opinions. I will not criticize you if you think a different way, I will simply provide an argument so that we can discuss it. In conclusion, the drinking age can affect people’s lives in many ways, be it good or bad. For this reason, the drinking age should stay the same.