A Simple Choice
Let’s play a fun little game. It’s a simple game, all you have to do is make a choice. Either save 3.
3 million lives per year (Global status report on alcohol and health 2014), or have a little bit more fun at parties. Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Well, despite this choice seeming pretty simple roughly 2 billion people (greenfacts.com) have chosen the latter. Alcohol should be banned, no two ways about it. Alcohol is a detriment to society and no one deserves nor needs to have access to it.
Clearly, I made some generalizations in my intro for example, alcohol doesn’t just take the lives of those who use it, it also hurts anyone who ever needs to go to a hospital. Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the US are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption (National council on alcoholism and drug dependence). This not only takes up space in the hospital but it also takes resources and time away from doctors and nurses. Alcohol isn’t just hurting those who use it, it is hurting everyone. And, unlike other things that have major detriments, alcohol has no real benefits.
Even fossil fuels, which are currently helping to destroy our environment, provide a clear benefit. Alcohol, however, does not. When writing my intro, I thought genuinely hard about the benefits of alcohol, and I came up with nothing. It doesn’t serve any purpose, but it is undoubtedly harmful. You can easily argue that people enjoy drinking so they deserve access, but some people enjoy committing murder, and I think it is well within reason to restrict these individuals from indulging in the thing they enjoy. I can already hear the objections that this is an unfair comparison, but, if you were paying attention you’d know that alcohol kills far more people in one year that any murderer ever has.
We ban plenty of things in the interest of the greater good, and this is something that needs to happen with alcohol, unless of course you’re comfortable with people dying for no reason other than the fact that they were enjoying a particular beverage that happens to be 100% legal. You could bring up the fact that alcohol makes the US government 5.6 billion dollars per year (TurboTax 2010), which is a perfectly valid point, at face value. However, when we look deeper, it loses its validity. For one, as mentioned earlier, alcohol related illnesses are taking up, up to 40% of hospital beds, so if we stop that from happening, we will be saving quite a lot of money. The money that we save will more than make up for the amount lost.
The US spent 1.4 trillion dollars on healthcare in 2015 alone (usgovernmentspending.com). I’m not sure if you noticed but 560 billion dollars (40% of the 1.4 trillion dollars mentioned above) is significantly higher than the 5.6 billion we’d be losing.
But, even if that weren’t the case, and banning alcohol was only going to be an expense, we should still do it because there is no reason for governments to be profiting of something that is so detrimental to its citizens. There are definitely complications with banning alcohol. For example there are 3.9 million jobs in the alcohol industry in the US (distilled spirits council of the United States). And, if the ban took place immediately, alcoholics could experience acute alcohol withdrawal.
However, when I advocate for the banning of alcohol, I do not want it to be an immediate process. It needs to be implemented in such a way, that people who have jobs in the industry have time to relocate, and that alcoholics have time to get the help that they need. It certainly won’t be an easy process. But, then again, is anything that is ever worth it easy? Banning alcohol will save so many lives and so much money that it will undoubtedly be worth the amount of effort necessary to put the ban into place.