I teach 18 year olds, and alcohol abuse is already a serious problem in that age group. I think making alcohol even more accessible than it is now would lead to both more experimental use by those who ordinarily wouldn't try it and more abuse by those who already regularly drink. I think the three years of maturation between 18 and 21 are both formative and essential to human development, and 21 year olds are more able than 18 year olds to handle the responsibility. Yes, I realize that is a relative statement!
Simply put, alcohol reduces inhibitions. Teenagers need to be learning how to say no. They need to be learning how to make wise choices. They need to be learning moderation and sensibility in their activities. Being able to discriminate between and follow through on what's right and what's wrong is difficult enough for adults let alone teenagers. Teenagers don't need alcohol making it any more difficult.
If I were debating this position on lowering the drinking age, I would cite the growing problem of binge drinking on college campuses and the many tragic and completely avoidable deaths that have resulted from it. These statistics alone would provide a strong argument against lowering the drinking age, which represents society's approval of alcohol in the hands teenagers. Also, I would include statistics in reference to increased cases of alcoholism among teens. Instead of lowering the drinking age, society instead should act to protect the young by addressing the dangers of binge drinking and the various kinds of destruction that result from teen alcoholism.
Parents in the United States are notoriously lax when it comes to educating their teenage children on issues like sex and alcohol. Until teaching their kids the facts of life about drinking directly benefits American parents in a tangible manner, similar to the way that teaching their teens to drive frees parents from the chore of transporting younger kids and grocery shopping, I do not expect parents to suddenly develop an interest in teaching teens about drinking responsibly. There will certainly not be a responsible drinking curriculum offered in schools or at churches, so where on earth would teenagers learn it? Currently most teens learn about drinking from peers and older kids, as well as from observing their own parents’ habits if their parents drink. To lower the American drinking age would be to loosen the floodgates on even more alcohol abuse than is already experienced in this country.
In my humble opinion, since we do not have a culture which incorporates beer, wine, or other alcoholic drinks into our every day lives (like Germany, France, etc. where the people grow up drinking beer and wine and are much more mature in their use of the beverages), it would be an unwise choice. Most eighteen-year-olds are very mature; however, there are some who are not. These individuals would not behave adequately toward alcholic beverages at eighteen, and perhaps not at twenty-one. We do not need more accidents and irresponsible drivers under the influence on the roads than we already have.
It is strange to think that people who are old enough to get married and have children are not old enough to drink a beer. You are legally responsible for your actions from 18. If you commit a crime at 18, you are treated like any other adult. So either you are or you are not mature at 18.
It makes no sense to grant partial responsibility.