Alcohol is by Far Our Deadliest Drug

Alcohol is by Far Our Deadliest Drug
Posted by FoM on June 01, 2001 at 15:51:56 PT
Guest Commentary By Pius Kamau 
Source: Denver Post
We're wrapping up high school and college graduations - a season that every year is marked by celebration, partying and a little too much alcohol consumption. It's also accompanied by death. Youthful death at this time of the year is almost a ritual. It's as if a sacrifice to Bacchus must be made every year. I remember a few years ago at this time of year that a friend of my children, an honor student, had had a little too much to drink and ran a red light.
She drove into and killed an elderly woman. The young girl had been celebrating an exceptional high school career but, in that one moment, she unraveled it all by taking another life. The rest of her life will forever be marked by that one tragic incident. Even though our attitudes have changed somewhat over the last two decades, alcohol continues to be widely abused because it's legal and readily available. We still have too many fatalities on our roads; too many disrupted lives; too many broken families. Far too often, alcohol is glamorized in the media. Often for our children, peer pressure has more bearing than their wisdom and upbringing. Couple that with the fact that, to certain members of our society, alcohol is a potently addictive substance. For them, all it takes is one drink. The public and our politicians do not view alcohol and alcoholism in the same light as they do other drugs. As a consequence, great energy and resources are dedicated to eradicating, intercepting, arresting and incarcerating people addicted to cocaine and other addictive drugs. This would lead one to conclude that all of the other drugs have a greater impact on society than alcohol. Yet that's where we go wrong. The unfortunate truth is that alcohol abuse has a greater societal impact than all the other substances put together. Far more harm is done by people under the influence of alcohol. More chronic ailments are suffered as a result of alcoholism (expending untold health-care dollars and resources), far too much human potential wasted in people who are in the grips of alcoholism. We'd be smarter to spend more time and energy on alcohol abuse and less on these other drugs. But, no; we fight on. The drug war winds on. But as often happens to us, our wars reflect what and who we dislike. And even though we should be tougher on our intoxicated suburban kids, it's more politically convenient to be seen to be merciless on crack addicts and foreign narco-traffickers. Alcohol acts on the brain's center responsible for satisfying hunger, thirst and lust, and stimulates pleasure. It also numbs the brain, helping to relieve stress. Like other addictive drugs, alcohol affects the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is one of several brain chemicals that make us feel pleasure. America is awash in all kinds of addictive drugs, from designer drugs to prescription meds that are misused to get high. A good example is inhaled Ritalin. The search is on for the greatest dopamine high. There are many parallels between addiction to alcohol and other so-called "hard drugs." About 10 percent of alcohol drinkers become alcoholics. Indeed, only a small number of recreational drug users become addicts. They all have a biological and genetic predisposition. (Most alcoholics have alcoholic parents.) Yet, despite the similarities, we don't see ATF and DEA agents breaking down Coors' or Anheuser-Busch's doors. A reflection on the equality of the substances in question is called for. Treatment of alcoholism works; it should also be tried for other drugs. I don't condone the use of other drugs for a moment. But parents owe it to their children to talk to them about alcohol consumption, especially in families where alcohol has been a problem. Pius Kamau of Aurora is a cardiovascular, thoracic and general-surgery physician. He was born and raised in Kenya and immigrated to the United States in 1971.Source: Denver Post (CO)Author: Pius Kamau Published: Friday, June 01, 2001 Copyright: 2001 The Denver PostContact: letters Website: Articles:The First Family's Alcohol Troubles Jenna Bush is a Pothead, Is It News? Confirms 76 DUI Arrest: I'm Not Proud of That
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Comment #3 posted by mark on June 02, 2001 at 08:32:39 PT:
i condone the use of other drugs. especially mushrooms.
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Comment #2 posted by aocp on June 01, 2001 at 17:08:15 PT
Double standards
I don't condone the use of other drugs for a moment.Tolerance is not even remotely the same thing as encouragement. Only vested interests and the ignorant believe otherwise. Don't be fooled.But parents owe it to their children to talk to them about alcohol consumption, especially in families where alcohol has been a problem.Actually, despite the good intentions of this article, i'd say that parents owe it to their children to either ban alcohol and tobacco at least to the tune of MJ or REGULATE MJ like the former two. Otherwise, get a tattoo that says, "My mind's made up, don't bother trying to confuse me with silly double standards." It's amazing to me that the bastards in charge can still get away with this bollocks.
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Comment #1 posted by Cuzn Buzz on June 01, 2001 at 16:41:59 PT
The "war on drugs"Is a war to make the world safe for alcohol.
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