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Peter Kim

It's almost like a right of passage to have your first alcoholic beverage when you turn 21. While some of us don't want to admit it, people do try beer, wine, or liquor before the legal drinking age. Even though the national drinking age is 21, some parents in the Quad Cities wouldn't mind seeing this be lowered.

When a child or someone younger than 21 years old starts experimenting with alcohol, most parents have a tendency to get concerned. Alcohol can be very dangerous especially if it's not introduced to someone properly. While majority of parents and people believe the legal drinking age should stay at 21, a new survey shows that many parents believe in a more proactive approach to managing their teenager’s introduction to alcohol.

According to a survey done Alcohol.org which included 3,090 parents, nearly 1 in 5 (16%) Iowa parents believe the legal drinking age should be lowered from 21. On the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, 18% of Illinois parents believe the same thing.

The study also found that the average parent said they would allow their child to have their first alcoholic drink at the age of 19. That is three years below the national legal drinking age.

Even though the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was implemented across the nation in the 1970s, according to the NIH, young people between the ages of 12 and 20 consume one-tenth (11%) of all alcohol consumed across the United States. Many parents have come to the conclusion that playing an active role in their children’s alcohol education will encourage more responsible drinking later in life.

Iowa and Illinois definitely do not have the most parents wanting to lower the drinking. 43% of West Virginia (the most in favor) parents are in favor of lowering the legal drinking age. 40% of Massachusetts parents are in favor, 36% of Delaware and New Jersey parents are in favor, and 35% of Utah parents (surprisingly) are also in favor of lowering the legal drinking again.

Indiana has the least parents in favor as only 1 in 10 (8%) are in favor of lowering the drinking age.

Even though a decent number of parents support the lowering of the legal drinking age, it appears they do have strict views when it comes to enforcing punishments. 75% of parents say they would punish their child if they found out they were drinking alcohol. Additionally, nearly 1 in 10 (9%) parents say they have caught their teenage children stealing alcohol from them.

Other facts found from this survey include:

  • 2 in 5 (41%) parents say they haven’t spoken to their children about the dangers of substance use.
  • A third of parents admit they have been drunk in front of their children.
  • 40% of parents said they would introduce their child to beer or cider first.

Check out the interactive map below to see what percentage of parents in other states think.


More resources can be found with the links below:

12 Dumb Illinois Laws

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