We vilify other drugs – even the legalization of marijuana is a hot topic but alcohol gets a pass in our society. It’s even touted and held up for its supposed health benefits. There’s songs dedicated to it. It’s a part of our everyday lives. Wine Down Wednesdays. Beer thirty. Lists that tell you which wine to pair with Girl Scout cookies. We know that there are people who drink too much but they are an exception to the rule, right?
In 2012, 8.2 percent of Americans were heavy drinkers – they had one drink per day on average over the course of a month. 18.3 percent of Americans that year were binge drinkers, defined by the CDC as men who have five or more drinks and women who have four or more drinks in a single drinking session.
It’s no wonder in a culture that has a drinking game for everything. There’s beer pong, flip cup and quarters. Corn hole. Games for drinking while you watch TV or listen to music. Funnels you can wear on your head while you drink a beer. From happy hour to weddings – America celebrates with alcohol. It’s frightening to think we’re celebrating with the same substance – ethanol – we used in our vehicles that morning.
Why do we turn a blind eye to the dark side of alcohol culture?
We don’t discuss alcohol poisoning, DUI’s, domestic violence, violent crimes and the like in the media like we do meth labs, growing operations and the rise in heroin overdoses. What if they started reporting cancer deaths from alcohol as overdoses?
Technically – it is an alcohol related death – and an overdose since medical experts have determined that there is NO safe level for alcohol consumption.
Is there a way to topple alcohol from it’s royalty status and allow the truth to emerge? It’s going to be a long and arduous battle – in 2014 the wine, beer and spirits industries spent a combined $23.6 million on federal lobbying efforts, that is in addition to the $2.05 billion they spent on advertising. The alcohol culture is firmly entrenched in how we view professional sports, milestones like graduations, weddings and birthdays and in how we relax, unwind and let loose. Until we change our beliefs and rewrite how we choose to celebrate, to relax, to socialize and live – we’re going to have a ruler who is anything but just.
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