Drinking with parents

Brianna Lewis, News Writer

In January, Illinois proposed a bill that would allow people aged 18 through 20 to be served wine and beer in restaurants with parental consent.

10 states (Wisconsin, Ohio, Connecticut, Wyoming, Nevada, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas) have already accepted this law.

The bill would leave the legal drinking age at 21 for hard liquors such as vodka and tequila.

Talk of this bill passing has brought forth mixed reactions from the age groups that will be directly and indirectly affected.

“At 18, many young people have just recently gotten their license and are still gaining driving experience on their own,” Health and driver’s education teacher Anthony Smith said. “At this age, the young person’s full attention needs to be on their driving task….the potential addition of alcohol to the scenario could lead to youths dying due to drinking and driving collisions.”

Smith says that the passing of the bill would cause too much confusion and lead to an increase in underaged drinking.

With her two older siblings already in college, senior Jaylah Jones has said that she has seen the effects that alcohol can have on the minds of young people.

“Nowadays, teenagers can’t wait to turn 18 just so they can drink all they want without boundaries and self-control,” Jones said.

She said that she “personally believes” no one could be drinking at all since they cannot predict what will happen if they were to become intoxicated.

“If the bill does pass, teenagers will be damaging their bodies if they drink excessively,” Jones said. “Alcohol can do a lot of things to the brain and liver, and starting at a young age can lead to health problems when they become an adult.”

The average brain is fully developed by the age of 25, and the consumption of alcohol can greatly affect the growth of the brain along with other organs.

Starting at an early age can lead to an increasing risk of alcoholism and more accounts of alcohol abuse in society.

“I also do not believe it would be good for those students who turn 18 in high school to have the ability to purchase alcohol,” Smith said. “This could lead to a whole new epidemic of young people being involved in the negative repercussions of drinking.”

He says that the teens may believe they can handle one drink and drive, but mistakes are bound to happen if they are mixing drinking and driving.

However, some people are in favor of the bill passing and even say that allowing this would help lessen the underaged drinking rates.

“Drinking under parental consent should be legal for four reasons,” sophomore Edrianna Assam said. “Kids are drinking because it’s the ‘cool, adult thing’ for the most part. If you take out the law part of the issue, peer pressure pushing kids to drink would be gone.”

She says that passing the bill would not change the influence that alcohol has on society, and the main groups of people affected would have the same amount of alcohol related incidents.

Benefits of this bill passing include some benefits of moderate drinking such as a possible reduce in the risk of diabetes and protection against cardiovascular disease.

“Maybe people will seriously realize how serious drinking underage is and will show awareness to prevent underage drinking,” Jones said.