Did you know that more people die each year from alcohol-related accidents and health problems than any other psychoactive substance? Although alcohol is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs, its legality also makes it the most widely available. Walk into any city or town in America, and chances are you could get a drink within minutes. Is it time to consider why alcohol should be illegal?
The Risks of Drinking Alcohol
For many, taking a sip of the first drink leads to a lifetime of health problems, failed relationships, reputation troubles and more. Consider these facts:
- Alcohol is as addictive as many illegal drugs.
- Alcohol is a contributing factor in many — if not most — violent crimes.
- Alcohol is proven to cause serious long-term health problems and is linked to numerous life-threatening diseases.
- Abusing alcohol can lead to addiction, a disease that can end in overdose and death.
- Innocent people die from the actions of those who abuse alcohol every day.
Despite these facts, banning alcohol is unlikely because:
- Prohibition didn’t work. Bootleggers and gangsters distributed low quality alcohol in a lawless, unregulated market.
- Alcohol is part of our culture, for better or worse. From France and Japan to California and Kentucky, diverse cultures use — and often celebrate — alcohol.
- We need the money. Taxes on beer, wine and spirits account for a significant portion of government revenue. Distilleries and vineyards employ thousands of people in the U.S. alone. Prohibiting the sale of alcohol puts those funds in the hands of traffickers.
- Banning alcohol limits freedom. Although thousands of people die every year from alcohol and alcohol-related incidents, millions more use alcohol responsibly.
Protecting Yourself Against Alcoholism
You already know you can protect yourself from developing an alcohol problem by limiting how much you drink. Did you know, though, that even moderate amounts of alcohol can negatively affect sleep patterns, liver health and more — especially if you live with a mental or behavioral health disorder such as depression or you take prescription medication. How much is too much?
If you are of legal age, and you are in good health, you can safely drink between seven and 14 alcohol beverages per week. Women cannot metabolize as much alcohol as men, and in general should not consume more than one or two drinks per day; men can have two drinks per day safely.
It’s important to understand that the seven-to-14-drink guideline doesn’t mean you can have seven or 14 drinks all at once. Not only will that lead to intoxication, binge drinking is closely associated with alcoholism, violence and serious health problems.
If you are an older adult, limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day. Mental and behavioral health disorders such as depression, bipolar and anxiety also put you at risk for developing a substance abuse problem if you drink. Plus, many prescription medications react negatively with alcohol, so make sure you check with your physician before you have your next glass of wine.
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