Letter: Reduce the harms of excessive alcohol use
According to the CDC, alcohol is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the nation with a yearly total of about 95,000.
Alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. jumped 25% in 2020 as reported in the Forum on March 30. According to the CDC, alcohol is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the nation with a yearly total of about 95,000. Don’t these lives matter? These are preventable deaths. Where are the protesters? Why do we not find tons of protesters marching on the city councils, state legislatures and Congress, demanding action to reduce these preventable deaths?
The alcohol industry is huge and profitable. The 26 largest alcohol beverage companies in the world had net revenue of $155 billion in 2005 and $26 billion in profits, as reported in “The Urge, Our History of Addiction,” by Carl Erik Fisher. The cost to society for dealing with the harms caused by excessive drinking were estimated at $249 billion in 2010. Supporters of the alcohol industry do a great job of obscuring the facts as pointed out by the author. Industries that profit from the sale of potentially harmful products do what they can to increase market share (this is why the notion of self regulation is a total fantasy). Supporters of the alcohol industry were able to influence the writing of policies for alcohol regulations in four African nations with a population of 50 million persons. They did so to the extent that no mention was made of the most effective means for reducing the harms of excessive use of alcohol in the regulations. Such means as limiting the availability and reducing the advertising for alcohol were not included. In our country, advertisements for “hard liquor” were not seen on TV until recently following successful lobbying by the alcohol industry.
No one wants to be the next fatality caused by a drunk driver, especially one with a prior conviction. Nor do we want our son or daughter to die of alcohol poisoning through a stupid hazing activity. It’s time to demand that authorities take action and implement interventions proven to reduce some of the harms caused by excessive use of alcohol. The Community Prevention Task Force lists the following: 1) decrease the density of sales outlets; 2) reduce hours of sale; 3) limit days of sale; 4) strengthen enforcements of penalties for sales or gifts to minors; 5) reduce advertising; 6) increase taxes; and 7) establish retail liability.