Opinion: The drinking age is 21 in America for a reason

Taylor Miksic

Taylor Miksic

Taylor Miksic is a freshman news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

I’m 19 years old and I am able to vote. I am also able to get married without parental permission. I can make a will and I can fight for my country. I am able to do all of this and more by the time I am 18 years old, but I’m not allowed to consume alcohol?

In fact, drinking before you are of age can have severe consequences. In the state of Ohio, purchasing, processing or consuming alcohol before the age of 21 is a first-degree misdemeanor, meaning that offenders could face up to six months of jail time, a $1,000 fine or both.

Many think that the drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18 based on the idea that if society feels that 18-year-olds are able to handle more responsibility, then they should be permitted to use alcohol.

I agree with that argument, but what many don’t take into consideration is what alcohol can do to a person’s body.

Alcohol kills brain cells, so while a person is still developing, alcohol can influence the way in which his or her brain is developed. Also the liver is greatly affected by alcohol, and if it is not completely developed when alcohol is consumed, it too can be damaged.

Women start puberty around ages 12 to 14 and stop growing about a year or two after their first periods. Men can continue to grow and develop up until age 25.

The drinking age of 21 seems to be a happy medium for both males and females, although, unfortunately, women have to wait longer after being fully developed to be able to consume alcohol legally.

A person will already be punished for drinking underage by killing brain cells and damaging his or her liver; therefore, consequences of drinking before your of age need not be so severe, but I do believe the age of drinking is rather fair.

One of the biggest arguments about lowering the age is that in places such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland where the drinking age is 18, and in places such as Italy where the age is even lower, binge drinking is on a lower scale.

Supporters of this argument also say that responsibility does not necessarily correlate with age. This is a strong argument, but the health effects of alcohol on young people outweigh the fact that some 21-year-olds act like children and some teenagers are more responsible than adults.

Just because you can make big decisions, such as who to vote for and who to marry, does not mean you are physically ready to consume alcohol.