“Alcohol – suppression of higher brain functions for recreational purpose” (All tomorrwos parties – William Gibson)
– Sorry, I never digged the funny side of being disabled (Juergen Rarey)
“Why are you drinking?” demanded the little prince.
“So that I may forget,” replied the tippler.
“Forget what?” inquired the little prince, who already felt sorry for him.
“Forget that I am ashamed,” the tippler confessed, hanging his head.
“Ashamed of what?” insisted the little prince, who wanted to help him.
“Ashamed of drinking!”
Alcohol consumption beyond a certain degree strongly damages the individual, social group (family,…) and society. In my opinion, it should be restricted to certain areas (InTox Districts) and private settings without children, in which all have to mutually agree.
As it does not affect all in the same way, many under the influence loose the respect for themselves and others. Alcohol seriously restricts physical and mental abilities so that (for a sober person like me) it is very frustrating to interact with a drunk.
In an extended work on the harm of drugs by David Nutt (that time chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)), alcohol was identified as the most harmful drug as reported by “The Economist”:
From the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer (Great Britain, 2010)
In Britain alone:
- each year, the average intake per adult is equivalent to 120 bottles of wine
- harm to the unborn fetus, acts of drunken violence, vandalism, sexual assault and child abuse, and a huge health burden carried by both the health insurences and friends and family who care for those damaged by alcohol
- British Crime Survey figures for 2007/08 suggest that 125,000 alcohol-related instances of domestic violence occurred over this one-year period.
- aggressive behaviour resulting from alcohol misuse, in particular binge drinking, is a major cause of street violence. The British Crime Survey found that almost half of the 2 million victims of violence thought that their attacker was under the influence of alcohol
- 39,000 reports of serious sexual assault also being associated with alcohol consumption.
- in 2008, there were 1.25 million instances of alcohol-related vandalism.
- drunkenness also creates an unpleasant social environment. A survey of 30,000 adults in the North West of England in 2008 found that 45% avoid town centres at night because of others’ drunken behaviour.
- each year, there are 800,000 admissions to hospital due wholly or in part to alcohol. One in every four accident and emergency attendances is related to alcohol.
- passive drinking kills. It causes family breakdown and violent crime. It costs the economy billions of pounds. It causes misery. It affects many spheres of life and leaves no communities untouched.
- alcohol is harming society. Alcohol is not simply a problem for the minority who are dependent on it – it is a problem for everybody.
That said, like in case of other things that cause harm at higher or repeated use, infrequent and controlled alcohol can be enjoyable.