Although the legal purchase age is 21 years of age, a majority of college students under this age consume alcohol but in an irresponsible manner. This is because drinking by these youth is seen as an enticing "forbidden fruit," a "badge of rebellion against authority" and a symbol of "adulthood
Today, overwhelming scientific evidence supports the fact that the early introduction of drinking is the safest way to reduce juvenile alcohol abuse. Young people in France, Spain, and Argentina rarely abuse alcohol. They learn how to drink within the family, which sees drinking in moderation as natural and normal. Youth in these societies rarely embarrass themselves or their families by abusing alcohol. In Portugal and New Zealand there are no minimum drinking age requirements. In Belgium, most of Canada, Italy, and Spain, young people of sixteen years may consume in restaurants when with parents or another adult. Australia and South Africa have an 18-year minimum.
If adults would learn to temper their patronizing attitudes toward young men and women, more maturity, self-restraint, and social responsibility could be expected of them. Lowering the drinking age to 19 would do much to reduce the youthful abuse of alcohol.
"Although the legal purchase age is 21, a majority of young people under this age consume alcohol, and too many of them do so in an irresponsible manner. This is largely because drinking is seen by these youth as an enticing "forbidden fruit," a "badge of rebellion against authority," and a symbol of adulthood. Our nation has twice tried prohibition, first at the state level in the 1850's and at the national level beginning in 1920. These efforts to prevent drinking were unenforceable and created serious social problems such as widespread disrespect for law, the growth of organized crime, and the development...