Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs judgment and contributes to a huge number of automobile accidents, other types of accidents, diseases, and violence. Furthermore: "Impairment due to alcohol use begins to occur at levels well below the legal limit" for blood alcohol content (BAC) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1.
Even one drink of an alcoholic beverage has some harmful effects. "Some skills are significantly impaired at 0.01 percent BAC" according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's web site2. Drinking less than one beer would lead to a larger BAC than 0.01!
Some may tell you that drinking alcohol in moderation has some health benefits through reducing the risk of heart disease. But the risks almost always outweigh the benefits. Furthermore some research indicates that grape juice provides many of the same benefits as moderate alcohol consumption without the harmful effects and risks of alcohol, as reported on MayoClinic.com3, among other sources.
And many, including some scientists, question whether alcohol really is beneficial in moderation. A June 16, 2009 New York Times piece titled "Alcohol's Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It"4 is one source that discusses this in more detail.
The American Heart Association on its web site5 advises all persons who do not currently drink alcoholic beverages to not start. It also urges that "Pregnant women shouldn't drink alcohol in any form."
Please do not succumb to the false and misleading advertising for alcoholic beverages. In fact it would be great if people would unite to stop such advertising. The American Medical Association opposes advertising for "alcoholic beverages except for inside retail or wholesale outlets"6. I agree with the American Medical Association. Let's stop allowing advertising for beer and other alcoholic beverages on television, radio, magazines, newspapers, online, and in similar mass media sources.
Some persons claim they drink to relax, to enjoy themselves, or to forget about their problems. Surely they can find an alternative way to relax and enjoy themselves! If people have problems, seek solutions. Retreating from problems into alcohol will not solve them, and in many cases will make them worse. Since I am not a doctor I can't give medical advice, but I think the dangers of consuming alcoholic beverages socially outweigh any benefits.
Furthermore, persons I know who claim to only drink alcoholic beverages in moderation almost invariably admit to having been legally drunk at least once in the past. The best way to avoid becoming drunk is to never drink alcoholic beverages.
The quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website below7 summarizes several of the well documented harmful effects from "excessive drinking":
“Excessive drinking both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, is associated with numerous health problems, including—
- Chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells); pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); various cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus; high blood pressure; and psychological disorders.
- Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
- Violence, such as child maltreatment, homicide, and suicide.
- Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”
Due to the millions of people in the United States who already consume alcohol (many supposedly in moderation), prohibition is not practical at this time. It was tried some time ago and enforcement was not effective. But, eliminating advertising for this harmful product is a step toward reducing its widespread abuse in my opinion. And, if we help current alcohol abusers deal with their addiction and prevent young people from taking their first drink, maybe in a generation or two we can virtually eliminate alcohol abuse.
A study published last year (2009) in the British medical journal The Lancet indicated that approximately “one in 25 deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol,” as stated on the Lancet’s web site8 and reported in numerous news articles including the Time article linked to here9, the BBC article linked to here,10 and a ScienceDaily article linked to here11.
In addition to the millions of deaths attributed to alcohol, there are millions of injuries and illnesses. You have probably read about the traffic fatalities and injuries, physical attacks by intoxicated people, vomiting, persons not remembering what they did the day they were drunk, and deaths from binge drinking. Why not relax and have safe fun without the alcohol?
Note: This article is very similar to and adapted from other articles the author has written on the subject.
Sources: (All websites were accessed on August 21, 2010)
3http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN00576Grogan, Martha; Answer to question, “Does grape juice provide the same heart benefits as red wine?” MayoClinic.com. July 24, 2009.
4http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D05EFD81F3BF935A25755C0A96F9C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1Rabin, Roni Caryn; “Alcohol’s Good for You? Some Scientists Doubt It.” New York Times web site, June 16, 2009.
8http://www.thelancet.com/series/alcohol-and-global-healthAlcohol and Global Health; Executive Summary. TheLancet.com. Published June 26, 2009.
9http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1907408,00.html Harrell, Eben; “Stemming the Rise in Global Alcohol-Related Deaths.” Time.com June 29, 2009.