Reducing drinking age may alleviate pressure on budget and crime

Underage drinking and drug use seem to be major issues on campus. According to UTSAPD, in February (as of 2/25/11) there have been 31 minor in possession or consumption violations, 14 possessions of marijuana or drug paraphernalia violations, four DUI alcohol by a minor violations and two DWI violations out of 76 total offenses.

That means that of the 76 total offenses, 52 were drug or alcohol related (68 percent).

Take that in for a second. Now the easy assumption is that drug and alcohol users just aren’t getting the message, but there’s a larger message here. Obviously there is no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol, but that still means that most of our crimes at this school are underage consumption of alcohol or drug (mostly marijuana) related.

While we fault UTSA Police for enforcing the laws in place, we must look at the bigger picture. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, underage drinkers ages 12-20 consume almost 20 percent of all alcohol purchased in the U.S.

Having to wait to be 21 to legally drink seems to have only increased the amount of underage drinkers. People naturally want to have a good time, and alcohol seems to have magical powers to multiply the goodness of that time.

Lowering the age may help to change the concept of binge drinking as being cool. Young adults, especially college students, would be able to learn at a younger age what their limits are for drinking, rather than going to a party without prior experience with alcohol and blasting their brains and livers.

People in this country are affected daily by crimes linked to marijuana and drugs, illegal and prescription. Billions of dollars are being exchanged and thousands of people are being killed over drug crimes. There is no way that we can win the war on drugs. Too many people in this country want to consume them. Legalizing these drugs would only decrease the amount of crime in this country, reduce the enormous strain on our prison system and create a new revenue source for the United States’ growing deficit (see Prohibition for further reference).

Of course, in America we don’t enact laws that make sense. Instead, we legislate based on false senses of morality and religious beliefs. Perhaps, lowering the drinking age and legalizing drugs might help to increase the tax revenue stream so we can afford to pay for education expenses.

Maybe then lawmakers in Texas wouldn’t feel the need to cut the single most important investment for our future – education. Or at least if the government still decides to cut education, more of us would have a means to legally escape the increasing financial restraints on our individual budgets during these difficult times.