Americans have a drug problem, and it is not a problem with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, or fentanyl.
Since 1939, Gallup has surveyed the drinking habits of American adults. In response to the question: “Do you have occasion to use alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine or beer, or are you a total abstainer?” 63 percent said that they drink alcohol. The poll also found that “the more money you make and the more education you have, the more you drink.” The largest percentage of drinkers was adults age 21-29. When asked whether they preferred liquor, wine, or beer, the winner was beer (35%), followed by wine (31%) and liquor (30%).
The drug ethanol is the active ingredient in all alcoholic drinks. Like other psychoactive substances, it alters the functions of the nervous system.
According to the a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fact sheet on alcohol use and health:
Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2006 – 2010, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years. Further, excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.
And according to a recent New York Times article, “there is growing evidence that no amount of alcohol is safe, and that moderate use does not have a health benefit.”
Alcohol abuse is a factor in many drownings, suicides, fires, child abuse cases, divorces, and many types of accidents and crimes. The number one killer of young people under twenty-five is alcohol-related automobile accidents. Alcohol abuse is also one of the leading causes of premature deaths in the United States. And it can be a contributing factor in cases of cancer, mental illness, anemia, cardiovascular disease, dementia, cirrhosis, high blood pressure, and suppression of the immune system.
Clearly, alcohol consumption is unhealthy, dangerous, and deadly.
So, why is there no war on alcohol like there is on drugs? Why aren’t Americans arrested, fined, and imprisoned for purchasing alcohol or drinking alcohol? Why doesn’t the government keep people from harming themselves with alcohol? Why is it legal to get drunk? Why aren’t Americans sent to prison for decades for “trafficking” in alcohol?
Yes, the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages is heavily regulated, by the states and the federal government. And there are even dry counties where possessing or drinking alcohol is perfectly legal, but purchasing it is prohibited.
But most American adults can go to a local store and not only purchase as much alcohol as they want to, but go home and drink as much alcohol as they want to. There is nothing stopping any American from coming home from work on a Friday afternoon and drinking until he passes out on Friday night, drinking all day on Saturday while he watches college football, being knock-down drunk on Saturday night, drinking all day on Sunday while he watches pro football, and then having a few more drinks on Sunday night before sobering up enough on Monday morning to go to work. And doing the same thing again the next weekend. He can even chronicle his drinking binges on social media for all the world to see without fear of a SWAT team breaking down his door in the middle of the night, shooting his dog, ransacking his house, seizing his cash, handcuffing him, and dragging him away in front of his family.
So tell me again why we have a war on drugs and not alcohol? Tell me why we have a drug war that has not only failed to prevent drug abuse, end drug overdoses, reduce drug use, or keep drugs away from teenagers, but has also violated the Constitution, clogged the judicial system, swelled the prison population, fostered violence, corrupted law enforcement, militarized the police, violated property rights, eroded civil liberties, encouraged illegal searches and seizures, hindered legitimate pain treatment, destroyed personal and financial privacy, made criminals out of mostly otherwise law-abiding Americans, wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and ruined more lives than drugs themselves.
The war on drugs is truly a war on individual liberty, private property, personal responsibility, and a free society.