Alcohol And Society Today

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Alcohol And Society Today


There has been a lot of discussion in the last few years about the
continuing problem of alcohol and the effect it has on society. Should we
treat alcohol as if it were an illicit drug?

Some of the promoters of harsh restrictions on the sale and marketing
of certain alcoholic beverages (restrictions such as advertising bans and
higher taxes) have justified their proposals with the erroneous assertion
that alcohol is no different than illegal drugs. There have even been stories
in some of the media attempting to equate alcohol with the use and/or abuse
of illegal substances such as marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin.

We will first mention as a matter of information that alcoholic beverages
have been a part of western civilisation for more than 25 centuries. Now we
know there will always be people among us who drink. America has already
tried prohibition and learned conclusively that it does not work. The simple
fact is that many Americans like to drink and the vast majority of those who
do, drink responsibly, thus, the public policy challenge we face today is not
to stigmatise all drinking as bad but to maximise the probability that those
who choose to drink will do so in a responsible manner.

It's a fact that excessive drinking can seriously damage one's health.
Those who claim that "alcohol is a drug" want that word to carry a
particular, threatening connotation. In reality, however, "drug" is
an ethically, legally and physiologically neutral term that encompasses a
wide spectrum of substances.

According to a well-known medical textbook of pharmacology, a drug is
any chemical agency that affects living processes. A drug can be as menacing
as cocaine, as benign as sucrose or as helpful as vitamin C. In a societal
sense, some drugs relieve pain and assist in the healing process. Others are
safely and legally enjoyed by millions of people very day, even though
overuse can result in undesirable side effects. And Some drugs are so
terribly addictive that simply experimenting with them carries substantial

Recent studies show that excess alcohol consumption can lead to a
number of serious health problems, and of course there is the problem of
addiction which must be taken into consideration. Who among us hasn't been
exposed to a friend or relative with a severe drinking problem. Many of
societies' problems today such as spouse abuse, child abuse and dysfunctional
family relationships can be traced to drinking problems.

Alcohol may lead to liver problems, a variety of cancers as well as
forms of osteoporosis and depression, and studies are showing, too, that
women are more susceptible to the ill effects of alcohol than are men. From
this information, it is safe to conclude that anything which has this type of
effect on one's general health, is going to affect the entire system. And
research has shown that alcohol depletes the body of it's necessary vitamins
and minerals.

"Social drinking" seems to be an accepted practice these days
and the arguments both pro and con will always be with us. It is our hope
that as you read and consider this information you will become more aware of
the effect that alcohol has on society today.

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