Opinion

Drinking age restrictions only fuel the problem

Why is the legal drinking age 21 in the United States?

That was the first question I had when I decided to come to the United States for college.

Having lived in China, I was accustomed to alcohol. I was surprised to find out that many people party so hard that they flunk their freshman year.

We all know that we get a thrill from breaking the rules, which is why people excessively drink in college. In addition, the complete independence and freedom is hard to ignore. With the newfound liberation from home and the limitless alcohol possibilities, people go crazy.

Because people in the U.S. are not exposed to alcohol at an earlier age, they go through the hype of drinking when they get to college, which can severely impact their academic studies.

So why not lower the drinking age? I realize that this is a ridiculous question, but think about it. If people learn how to drink earlier, then they will be knowledgeable and mature about it, and therefore, possibly be wise about extremity in alcohol.

It’s like being potty-trained. The earlier you are potty-trained, the more likely you will do your business in the bathroom and not anywhere else.

The law hasn’t done anything. The only thing it has done is driven alcohol consumption underground into fraternity houses and closed dorm rooms. The more the police enforce the law, the more they drive it underground. Drinking secretly isn’t the only consequence of this. Fake identities and drugs also stem from this problem.

On a popular ABC television show, “Pretty Little Liars,” the four main characters all have fake IDs and are so casual about it.

I am appalled. People just don’t care anymore.

The college administrations around the U.S. have probably realized this out of control drinking problem, because they have made it a requirement for freshmen to complete an online alcohol education course called “AlcoholEdu.” It has videos, facts, and lessons about drinking safely. It was like “Dora the Explorer,” but for college students and about alcohol.

Sure, I learned facts about alcohol that I didn’t know before, but do I really care?

I feel like this is one of those subjects where you would learn so much more by doing it rather than learning from the book, like a sport or playing an instrument. However, according to a research study done in Berkeley by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, AlcoholEdu has had a positive effect on college freshmen, reducing the percentage of students with alcohol problems.

Like I said, I do not think that most students apply their knowledge learned in the program to their real life experiences.Everybody knows that we drink even though we’re underage. There are even shuttles to take us safely back to campus because they know there are going to be drunk people.

So why not change the law?

 

Michelle Lock is a freshman majoring in public relations.

 

 

February 19, 2012

Reporters

Michelle Lock


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