Is It Time To Lower The Drinking Age In Iowa? [OPINION]
I'll shoot straight with you...
I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week. There's no shame in that! Also, I'm a young woman who just so happens to like an evening out at the bars with friends. While I always responsibly enjoy my selection of spirits; on the very few days when I get to go home and visit my family, I find myself making the same mistake over and over again.
After a glass of wine or two at a holiday get-together, I (once or twice) have offered some of my favorite drinks to my younger sister. She usually gives me a look like I might be the dumbest person she has ever met, shakes her head, and whispers to me,
"You do know that I'm 18, right?"
She's a college freshman, can hypothetically enroll in the armed forces, and even has the right to vote for our nation's leaders...but she can't legally take a sip of alcohol.
What's up with that?
At 18, the country has deemed you fit to help choose our future political leaders, but you can't even have a sip of a Busch Light.
But in all honesty...who really enjoys drinking the stuff?
The main reason this rule is in place though is pretty reasonable (if not just a bit of a buzzkill). It all has to do with brain development. Scientists report that the frontal lobe of a young person's brain, the section where all rational decisions are supposed to be worked out in, isn't fully formed for most adolescents until they reach the age of 25.
However, the rule that currently stands hasn't always been in place here in the Hawkeye State. In 1972, Iowa's drinking age dropped from 21 to 19, according to Medium. A year later in 1973, it dropped yet again to 18! For five years, this was the standard drinking age in the state.
Several different laws concerning the sale of alcohol preceded yet another change to the legal age a few years later. In 1978, the drinking age in Iowa went up yet again to 19.
Not even 15 years after the initial change, the Iowa courts decided to do yet another switcharoo and make the legal drinking age in Iowa 21 AGAIN in the late 80s.
According to an article from the New York Times, released in 1978, the main reason for all of these changes had to do with,
"...grim statistics involving 18 ‐year — old drinking drivers."
The Iowa Governor at the time said there were,
"...statistics showing that the proportion of 18‐year‐old drinking drivers involved in fatal crashes increased during the years the drinking age was lowered."
Also, no matter what the legal age for alcohol consumption is, all wine, beer or spirits should be consumed responsibly. Alcoholism is a disease, and if you or someone you know is suffering from it, it's not shameful to reach out for help. So if you or someone you know has a drinking problem here are just a few resources.
SAMHSA's (Substance Abuse and National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
American Addiction Centers: 888-971-5690