In today’s society, families across the nation are constantly having kids and watching them grow up into young adults, which includes dealing with the everyday challenges of a teenage life. However, growing up in this generation when it comes to teen lifestyle is significantly different than in the past, and one these major differences is alcohol. In the year of 1984, the social culture of high schools and even universities would change dramatically. A new law passed through congress and was further approved, which raised the drinking age to twenty one. As a teen living in the 1980’s, this would be a very significant rule change and would affect lives and lifestyle choices, some more than others. This new law became very strict and would change how younger kids grew up. After over thirty years of living with this previous alcohol law, could we ever see it changed back to eighteen years of age as the legal limit to consume alcohol? And if it did change, how would it affect the high school and college students in our generation? This would indeed raise many questions as the public would hold many viewpoints on the whole situation. On the other hand, exploring how many minors have already began to drink illegally and consume alcohol due to the pressures of “fitting in” or “being cool” can raise many different answers to how the 1984 law could affect the next batch of upcoming teens.
As a college student, one most likely experiences a few parties or get togethers that may or may not involve alcoholic beverages. The point is that many minors, which in most cases include freshmen and sophomores at a university, experience social and peer pressures from upperclassmen, or even close friends or other students they may hang out with. At the end of the day, a majority of minors at a college end up having some episode involving alcohol. It seems to be that no matter how old a student is, they want to try and fit in to the college scene. Many minors learn in their teenage years that “If I drink, then ill be viewed as a cool or popular kid”. This is not really the case when it comes to cracking down on the law. As a result of college and high school students drinking illegally, there has been a significant number of MIP’s (Minors in Possession) on and off campuses. Some colleges can be more lenient or strict than others regarding this topic, but it is illegal and therefore results in consequences. Many colleges have some sort of system to make the campus the safest it can be for the students, and obviously, alcohol cannot be tolerated. Many Resident assistants, or RA’s, are required to do checks every so often in the student living centers to try and restrict the use of illegal substances, which includes alcohol and other drugs. To me, this system can be effective at times but it is not always a reliable method of cracking down on alcohol use. Even with the policies in play, students do tend to find a way to get past the checks. By changing the drinking age back to eighteen, students would not have to worry about the MIP’s and the serious consequences that come with this illegal activity, that is if they are over the age of eighteen. Most students entering their freshmen year of college are eighteen, but let’s not forget about the high schools. People would assume that if the age was changed to eighteen, then more high school students would be pressured even more to drink, as the legal drinking age would be closer to their own ages in high school, but would it really change that much from the way it is now? The case seems to be that no matter how old you have to be to legally have alcohol, young adults and minors will still continue to drink and consume these beverages. We can assume that the law change would affect college students more than high schoolers due to the fact that an open campus with thousands of “legal drinkers” would be accumulated in one area. In a way, a law change could be a benefit for college students, and they would not have to worry about having serious consequences. Of course, there is also a great responsibility that would come with being able to consume alcohol at the age of eighteen.
Being pressured to consume alcohol from upperclassmen or other older friends is not the only way minors are able to obtain liquor and beer. The process of buying and mailing fake identifications has become a very popular way for minors to get away with purchasing alcohol. These fake ID’s are often created in foreign countries and shipped to the United States with some sort of disguise. Minors can simply go online and purchase these illegally for some cost. They have the freedom to put literally anything they want on the ID’s, including a fake address, name, and obviously the year in which they were born. Quite frankly, it can be disturbing how easy minors can access these illegal processes on their own devices. For the kids who end up getting caught with a fake ID, unfortunately, the consequences can be severe. The exact charges vary by state, but in New York the most common one is criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree, which is a misdemeanor that could result in up to one year in county jail. Lawyers can sometimes negotiate an initial charge to get you a less severe violation, but this is never guaranteed. Worst comes to worst, you can end up being arrested and head to jail for a varying amount of time. If you are lucky, the best thing that can happen is just being turned down by a bartender or at a liquor store. The charges of carrying around a fake ID depend on the state, but no matter where you live you will have to face some repercussion for the mistake you made. A rise in fake ID’s, especially at universities, can give some students what they desire in order to have a good time, alcohol. As a result of changing the law, the problem with fake ID’s wouldn’t get any better. As I mentioned earlier, no matter what the legal drinking age is, the minors will still buy fake identifications and the sketchy business will still go on.