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The Contender
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Should we lower the drinking age to 18?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 875 times Debate No: 69156
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




As young adults in the United States we are allowed to fight/die in wars, purchase guns, vote, pay taxes, work, go to college, and have many more rights that equal older adults. Yet we are not allowed to drink alcohol. Many people who appose alcohol quickly point at the DUI stats from current college/young adults age groups. But what these people don't know is that other countries like Germany have successfully bypassed these tragedies by teaching their kids what alcohol can do. They're training them what it is and how to drink it. Whereas here in the U.S our parents and schools just tell us that it's by throughout our life until we reach college. By than my fellow young adults know little to nothing about the consequences of alcohol and begin binge drinking or driving while under the influence because they have not been allowed to experience what alcohol can do and haven't learned about it. Now don;t get me wrong I don't want high school kids buying alcohol and abusing this power. Instead I propose that we make it a privilege. What I mean is that we should make young adults pass high school/GED and pass a state/federal required course over alcohol so that young adults can receive an ID stating they can purchase./consume alcohol. But if certain young adults abuse this privilege they should lose it and have to wait until they are 21 to regain that right. This is how it should be, and if we can get enough votes we the people can and will change our backward law for the better.


The argument that I am going to present here is one that is rather unorthodox. I am going to advocate that we not institute a legal age on the consumption of alcohol at all. Legal ages on products such as alcohol are often ignored and are usually completely unenforceable. More people would legally be able to drink in bars, restaurants, and other licensed establishments. Revenue would increase for private business owners, and greater amounts of tax revenue would be collected by the government. In a 2002 meta-study of the legal drinking age and health and social problems, 72% of the studies found no statistically significant relationship despite claims that significantly lowering or eliminating the MLDA would increase suicide and criminal activities by adolescents. MLDA laws in general encourage young adults to acquire and use false identification documents to procure alcohol. In this era of national security concerns, including terrorism, illegal immigration, and other threats, it would be better to have fewer fake IDs in circulation and more respect for the law. Normalizing alcohol consumption as something done responsibly in moderation will make drinking alcohol less of a taboo for young adults entering college and the workforce. The societal benefits to not having a legal drinking age far outweigh anything else.
Debate Round No. 1


Yes I would have to agree that your point of view is a tad unorthodox, but I respect that you're still for changing the current law. With that being said I'd like to point out that America just isn't ready for what you propose because young adults haven't been given an alcohol education course like other countries have. Just legalizing alcohol for anyone would be insane for our society as it stands now because kids and young adults haven't been taught the concepts of what can happen if you drink to much or drink and drive. To give you some perspective into what I'm talking about I'd like to point out that the NIAAA has reported that 17 million adults had Alcohol Use Disorders and 88,000 people die each year from preventable alcohol related deaths. The cause of this in my opinion is because our society hasn't done a good enough job of alcohol education and just tell the youth not to drink because it's bad. But just telling people not to do something will make they want it. Another statistic to prove that America isn't ready to just throw a legal drinking age is in 2006 we spent $223.5 Billion on alcohol misuse problems and 75% of that went towards binge drinking per the NIAAA. Finally my last statistics I would like to point out is that 4.3% or 1.2 million 12-20 year olds were heavy drinkers per the NIAA and 40.1% of college students 18-22 year olds were Binge Drinking per the NIAAA.


The argument that I am going to present here is one that is going to be quite simple and frankly fairly short.

While it is true that some areas of the United States have insufficient alcohol education programs at the moment, and that this has led to a great amount of alcohol-related issues, but this situation could be easily remedied if these areas employed alcohol education programs that are currently seen in the state of Texas.

This following piece of evidence comes from that very Texas law:

Alcohol: Code 28.002 (2009) requires the State Board of Education to adopt Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for addressing the dangers, causes, consequences, signs, symptoms, and treatment of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning. The code requires the Texas Education Agency to compile a list of evidence-based alcohol awareness programs from which a school district must choose for use in the district's middle school, junior high, and high school health curriculum.Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health Education (1997) recommends alcohol use prevention education is taught in grades K-12.

This program, as the evidence state, was instituted in the year 1997. I will now give the statistics of drinking-realted issues in the time since that piece of legislation came into effect:

25% percent of people age 10-20 in the state of Texas have consumed alcohol in the last month, , and 14% have binge-drunk at some point in their lives.

These numbers are pretty high. However, ever since the new education policies have been instituted, the number of drunk driving deaths have decreased by 27%, and under-21 drunk driving deaths have decreased by 42%!

Not only is this happening in Texas, but the United States as a whole has seen vastly less drunk driving fatalities and incidents in the last fifteen years.

We are ready for the abolishment of drinking ages.
Debate Round No. 2


Again I would have to disagree with you and point out that not every state has these types of programs. Quite frankly I'd say only a handful of states have alcohol education courses repeatedly and by that I mean a program that students must pass every year from elementary school all the way up to high school. The reason i propose such a program like this is because it's reinforcing the dangers in alcohol every year so children and young adults never forget what can happen if you drink too much or drink and drive. To give you some perspective into why I believe current program do not work I'd like to tell you how I was taught alcohol education in Illinois and Indiana. I was born in 1996 and from 2002-2005 I lived in Illinois which only had a small portion of my health class(maybe 1 week) dedicated to alcohol. From 2005-2010 and 2012-present I lived in Indiana which only went over alcohol in health class my freshman year for about a week or two and didn't require me to pass a state standardized test or anything to show that I knew the dangers of alcohol. Heck they didn't even mention alcohol after you passed that one semester class freshman year in High School. But in response directly to your statistics about the decrease in Texas deaths I'd like to point out that you said the law was passed in 1997 which was almost 20 years ago! So your telling me that it took almost 20 years for this law to actually show positive signs of reinforcement? That just sounds crazy and will very likely vary from state to state because each state would be allowed to make up there own alcohol related courses and some might choose programs like Indiana and Illinois that only make high school students pass a one semester course over a broad number of health related issues. Lastly I'd like to point out back to my statistics in rounds 1/2 that just removing a drinking age in present time would do more harm than good because young adults and the youth haven't been prepared enough to be given that right. So instead I propose for the next 20-25 years or however it takes for states to show positive signs that there alcohol abuse programs are working that 18-20 year olds are given a new I.D that gives them the privilege to drink and if they are caught drinking and driving or abusing that privilege than they will lose it until they turn 21.


Of course I know that not every state has these programs. However, if the federal legal drinking age was abolished, laws in accordance with that act could easily require every state to have an alcohol education program to be instituted in all educational facilities.

As for the statistic I cited when for when the policy was enacted in 1997, it is illogical to assume that no results were seen until very recently, considering that the percentage rate that I cited was one that accumulated OVER THE COURSE of the time the policy was in effect. Results were seen immediately, but the accumulation was built up over time.

My opponent also claims that people in the United States are not ready for the minimum legal age for drinking be abolished. However, I wish to inform you...again...that this is not the case.

According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began recording alcohol-related statistics in 1982, among persons under 21, the number killed in drunk driving crashes decreased 78% from the record high of 5,215 in 1982 to 1,174 in 2012.

The trend can be seen in the following link:

Even with these declines in drunk driving and drunk driving deaths, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that underage drinking is widespread, and that in 2009, about 10.4 million young people between ages 12 and 20 drank more than "just a few sips" of alcohol.
As kids get older, they drink more. By age 15, half of teens have had at least one drink. By age 18, more than 70% of teens have had at least one drink.

Judging by these continuing trends, we can see that the youth and Americans and general are becoming more responsible about alcohol and alcohol use. The nation is ready for the abolishment of a legal drinking age.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Emilrose 1 year ago
Posted by jethro_purazo 1 year ago
I will be sitting as the judge. No worries about sabotage.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Paleophyte 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate by both sides. Con did a brilliant job by taking a position opposite to the one that Pro was expecting. Pro did a good job of countering but it seemed obvious that he wasn't as eager to rebut Con's position as he would have been to attack a 21 year drinking age. Both sides could have cited sources better. There ought to be a lot of literature on this.