Anniversary of National Minimum Drinking Age Act celebrates ineffective, outdated law

Hannah Orr, Staff Writer

The following is an opinion article, and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

In preparation for a good night, many students might take shot after shot—not counting, just wanting to make sure that their buzz lasts until they drink more later. Students drink because they know that between the parties and fun they might not be able to buy more alcohol since they have not reached 21 years old. Many drink enough in an hour to last all night, which puts them at risk.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which mandated that all states set their legal drinking age 21 or higher, or face a 10 percent annual reduction in their highway budget.

The best solution to keeping students safe while drinking is not only alcohol education. The government should lower the drinking age. At age 18 students are legally adults who can smoke or join the military. Putting restrictions on alcohol creates a mystique surrounding substance and makes people more inclined to drink and not seek help if they need it.

Jon Barnwell, Tulane University Police Department superintendent, said he believes the biggest issue on college campuses is overindulgence, for which freshman and sophomore students are more at risk.

The current drinking age encourages the erratic behavior of new college students. Most students will not turn 21 until their junior or senior year of college. The notion that most students will not drink alcohol before then is laughable at best, and dangerously ignorant at worst.

Students are going to drink, whether it is against the law or not, but lowering the drinking age would increase student safety by allowing students to be more open with law enforcement and medical officials when things go wrong. We are living in a time of reform, and the time has come for legislators to realize that alcohol is not some forbidden fruit that must be hidden from college students.

Hannah Orr is a freshman in the Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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