This is the prohibition of our generation.
Setting the drinking age is a state’s own right. In the year 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed. This law did not outright make underage drinking illegal; it just financially penalized states that chose to make their legal drinking age under 21. By 1988, all of the United States had set the legal drinking age to be 21 and over. The law still stands today.
In some states, there aren’t any restrictions on private consumption. In others, consumption is only allowed in the presence of consenting and supervising family members. However, many people aren’t aware of this and think that all drinking under 21 is illegal.
Simply put, the legal drinking age law is archaic and does more harm than good for multiple reasons.
Alcohol has a certain appeal because of the fact that it is illegal. When something is illegal, it is seen as being dangerous and fun. When something is readily available, the intrigue wears off. This is simple psychology.
The fact that alcohol consumption is illegal until many of us are juniors in college can lead to binge drinking and a general ignorance about alcohol and alcohol safety. Our parents and guardians are hesitant to talk to us about safe drinking because technically we shouldn’t be drinking at all until we turn 21. If the drinking age was lowered to 18, then many of us could have our first legal drinks with our parents in our own homes and safely experience alcohol. But because the legal drinking age is 21 a lot of freshmen have their first real interactions with alcohol in party environments that encourage heavy drinking and may not be safe.
The argument that the law prevents drunken driving is losing its credibility because of recent innovations in transportation. With the invention of car services like Uber, getting a safe ride home has never been easier. UCF specifically has safe ride vouchers and KnightLYNX available for students in order to ensure that they have a safe ride home.
The fact that it is illegal may lead to dangerous situations. When somebody drinks too much, he or she may be hesitant to get help because of possible legal consequences.
At the busiest times during the night, there are cops cars stationed outside of The Knight’s Pub and Knight Library. On any given day, one can look at UCFPD’s daily crime log for the main campus and see that the overwhelming majority of incidents involve alcohol and that officers are investing a vast amount of time, money and resources into the enforcement of this law.
UCFPD officers are employees of the state of Florida, which means that taxpayer dollars are going toward the enforcement of the 21 and up drinking law and the persecution of many students. This money could be well spent in other areas, and UCFPD’s time and resources could be used much more effectively.If I can be trusted to drive a car, serve my country in the military and get married without parental approval (in 48 of the 50 states), then why am I not trusted with alcohol?
Jillian James is the Opinions Editor of the Central Florida Future. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.