Many normal life activities have ages when young people can safely start them. A person must wait until age 16 to start driving, age 18 to marry without parental consent, age 35 to become president, and so on. The drinking age is 21 for a reason – it is based on research, which shows that young people react differently to alcohol.
Laws that prevent underage drinking help protect the maturing brains of young people. Although these laws exist, our cultural and social norms give different messages. Alcohol is one of the most commonly misused substances in the United States.