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Drinking age of 21 a 'massive failure'
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 6/20/2009 12:00 AM

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The 18th birthday is a major turning point in young people's lives. They can buy tobacco, they can purchase lottery tickets, they can be drafted or volunteer for military service, and they finally have the right to legally vote. These are the rights granted to you when you become an adult in the eyes of the law.

What's the one thing you still have not one or two, but three years to wait for? Drinking. Why as you become an adult, you can't drink certain alcoholic beverages you would like to enjoy. The U.S. is one of only a few countries in the world with a drinking age of 21.

This law has been an abysmal failure. It hasn't reduced or eliminated drinking; it has simply pushed it underground, like the prohibition. Hiding from authority figures, teenagers have to learn on their own how to deal with alcohol, usually resulting in heavy, or binge, drinking.

Let parents teach their kids moderation while they are still at home. It's almost impossible to contain it using law enforcement. The harder police crack down, the farther underground they drive it. Pointless tickets are being written, potentially ruining the life of students, ones who could come up with solutions to the world's problems.

On the other hand, of course, there will be some irresponsible people out there who take it too far, but waiting three more years probably won't change their personality. The drinking age of 21 is a massive failure and should be rethought by Congress and our society as a whole.

Taylor Blackwell

Wheaton