The Power of Independent Thinking

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The Drinking Age: Won’t Someone Think of the Children?!

This semester I am teaching a lot of college freshman. As I look out into my classroom I am excited for my students. They will get to participate in university life, make new friends, and try to figure out what to do when they enter “the real world.” It’s an exciting time in their lives. But looking at my students, I also worry. I worry that some will have problems adjusting. I worry that some will abuse their newly found freedom, and it will get them in trouble. I worry about the choices they will make. It concerns me that, at 18, they may make decisions with life-altering consequences and repercussions they can’t yet appreciate.

I think back to when I was a freshman in college. I was by no means a partier, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have memories of drinking the worst rot-gut whiskey in my friends’ dorm rooms and houses. (The warm cola chaser didn’t help.) The worst I ever suffered were hangovers, but others aren’t so lucky. Every year about 2,000 college students die from alcohol-related injuries. Rape and sexual assault are issues on many campuses, and alcohol often lurks in the background. About 25 percent of students report their drinking has resulted in academic consequences ranging from missing class and failing exams to receiving poor grades. Tragically, more than 150,000 students develop health-related problems from drinking.

With these statistics in mind, I say that I care deeply about my students and will gladly advocate changes to make them safer.

That’s why I support lowering the drinking age.

Abigail Hall Blanco is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Tampa.