Alcohol is the most frequently abused drug in our nation. Alcohol abuse costs 100 billion dollars annually; it costs about five times more to address the abuse of alcohol than the money generated by retail sales of alcoholic beverages. Business, industry and government spend large amounts of money annually combating the abuse of alcohol in the work place.
Alcohol is associated with most crime; it is involved in 70% of all murders, 41% of assaults, 50% of rapes, 60% of sex crimes against children, 56% of fights and assaults in homes, 37% of suicides and 55% of all arrests.
Further, alcohol is a safety hazard; it is involved in 66% of fatal accidents, 53% of fire deaths, 36% of pedestrian accidents, 22% of home accidents, 45% of drownings, 50% of skiing accidents, more admissions to mental hospitals than any other cause, 50% of all traffic accidents (killing 25,000 and seriously injuring 1,000,000 annually), and is the #1 killer of people 25 and under (the #3 killer in America for all ages).
Alcohol is also a medical hazard. It is poisonous; half of 1% alcohol in the blood results in instant death. In addition, each alcoholic drink kills brain cells (which the body does not replace) and causes memory loss, beginning with the last things learned or memorized. Alcohol damages the stomach, liver and kidneys, too. Only cancer and heart disease claim more lives than alcohol each year. Alcohol is a depressant drug that affects the central nervous system. Furthermore, one drink (of beer, liquor or wine) produces an average of .05% alcohol in the blood and accompanying physical impairments. Alcohol combined with medication or other drugs can kill; and, alcohol consumption during pregnancy may result in birth defects (including facial abnormalities, heart defects, abnormal limb development and less than average intelligence). Even in small quantities, alcohol deadens mental activity and slows muscular response and co-ordination. It further produces fatigue and lowers physical endurance.
Considering the obvious and real dangers presented by the consumption of alcohol, it's popularity remains truly amazing. Alcohol cost much more money than it generates for manufacturers, retailers or government. It contributes greatly to crime and greatly endangers both body and mind. These observations alone should lead thoughtful people to utterly reject alcoholic beverages. However, instead, the pleasurable consumption of alcohol seems permanently seated in culture and society.
Alcoholic beverages are widely used, as any observant person can easily verify. About 71% of Americans 18 and up use alcohol; only 29% abstain from its use. Most restaurants serve alcohol (including family restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, Ground Round and Chi-Chi's). Where permitted, almost all grocery stores sell alcohol. Serving alcoholic beverages to guests upon entrance into one's home has become the norm for modern hospitality. Alcohol also accompanies most social and sporting events; also, our leaders and heroes (e.g., politicians, entertainers, athletes and most other public figures) are viewed regularly using alcoholic beverages as well.
Alcohol is a dangerous drug. Alcohol costs more than it earns in tax dollars. Alcohol is frequently associated with crime. Alcohol is a safety hazard. Alcohol is poisonous and otherwise harmful to one's health. However, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained into nearly every aspect of society. Alcohol destroys internally, externally and eternally!
Excerpts from "Legal But Lost: Alcohol" by Louis Rushmore