Under the Radar

Sound Off: Lower Drinking Age for Troops?

Beer glass on table

The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to drinking age. There are very few countries that set the legal age of purchase at 21, and most opt for 18. But, Maryland State Sen. Ron Young is trying to get Maryland lawmakers to let service members imbibe at an earlier age.

"If someone can risk their life, why shouldn't they be able to have a glass of beer or wine with dinner?" Young said while testifying before the State Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Despite the senator's good intentions, lowering the drinking age, even in a limited way, might cut Maryland's federal highway funds that amount to $32 million per year. Young suggested applying for a waiver, but there are other sources of opposition. Many argue that 21 is the ideal drinking age as it supposedly prevents thousands of deaths due to drunk driving. Young countered that allowing 18 year olds to drink will help dissuade binge drinking by curtailing their urges with limited exposure.

Should service members, or anyone in the U.S., be allowed to drink when they're 18? Sound off!

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