As one of the most vibrant and fascinating countries in the world, Mexico is a destination that offers a wide variety of experiences to travelers. From exploring ancient ruins to sunbathing on sandy beaches, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful country. One aspect of visiting Mexico that many visitors are curious about is the drinking age. Unlike in the United States where the minimum age to consume alcohol is 21 years, the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. In this article, we’ll explore the history of Mexico’s drinking age, its effects on society, and how it compares to other countries around the world.
The legal drinking age in Mexico was originally set at 18 during the 1980s. However, concerns over excessive alcohol consumption among young people led to a change in the law in 1988, raising the minimum age to 21. This move was supported by institutions such as the World Health Organization, which noted that higher drinking ages could help reduce alcohol-related problems among adolescents. Despite this, the law faced opposition from those who felt that it was an infringement on individual freedom.
In 2001, the drinking age was lowered back to 18 following a public referendum. This was a controversial move, with some arguing that it would lead to increased alcohol-related problems among young people. However, supporters of the decision pointed out that young adults aged 18-21 were still able to purchase alcohol illegally, making the law ineffective in reducing alcohol abuse. They argued that lowering the drinking age would reduce the social stigma attached to underage drinking, and promote greater responsibility and moderation among young drinkers.
Today, Mexico’s drinking age is set at 18, but there are still concerns about alcohol consumption among young people. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that Mexican college students were more likely to binge drink than their American counterparts. The study also noted that young people who start drinking at a younger age are more likely to develop alcohol dependency later in life.
Despite these concerns, Mexico’s drinking age is relatively low compared to other countries around the world. In Europe, for example, the minimum legal drinking age ranges from 16 (in countries such as Germany and Austria) to 18 (in countries such as France and Spain). In Canada, the legal drinking age is 19 in most provinces, while in the United States it remains at 21.
So, what are the effects of Mexico’s low drinking age on society? Supporters of the law argue that it promotes responsible drinking among young people by removing the social taboo attached to underage drinking. It also allows young adults to legally purchase alcohol, reducing the prevalence of dangerous, unregulated, and potentially lethal homemade concoctions. Some also suggest that lowering the drinking age may help reduce the appeal of alcohol among adolescents, who are often attracted to activities that are perceived as “forbidden.”
However, opponents of the law argue that it leads to increased alcohol abuse and related problems among young people. They point out that the adolescent brain is still developing, and that exposure to alcohol at a young age can have negative effects on cognitive and behavioral development. They also note that Mexico has a high rate of alcohol-related accidents, suggesting that the country’s drinking culture may be too permissive.
In conclusion, Mexico’s drinking age of 18 is relatively low compared to other countries, and has been a source of controversy in the past. Supporters argue that the law promotes responsible drinking among young people and reduces alcohol-related problems associated with underage drinking. Opponents, on the other hand, suggest that it leads to increased alcohol abuse and has negative effects on young people’s development. Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, it’s important for visitors to Mexico to be aware of the legal drinking age and to drink responsibly.