The forgotten drug

Kim Sorenson
News Editor
[email protected]

Despite its legality, alcohol kills thousands each year 
For centuries, humans have been drinking alcohol. Many different civilizations such as ancient Greece, Rome and others all over the world have had their own type of alcohol for thousands of years. After a number of years, the civilizations that had alcohol spread it to the civilizations that didn’t. Soon, drinking became an important part of socializing all over the world. Today, most social functions revolve around drinking. This culture is exemplified on college campuses, where students getting blackout drunk every weekend isn’t uncommon. Despite efforts to spread awareness, many people simply disregard the side effects of alcohol and what drinking is doing to their bodies. Addiction to alcohol is an unfortunate reality for millions of people around the world, hurting not only themselves but their families and friends as well. Nonetheless, the majority of people don’t consider alcohol an addictive drug.
For some reason, today’s culture on college campuses sees no problem with encouraging friends to drink more than they can handle. Party goers are often encouraged to chug as much as they can. These students are doing more damage than they realize, as overconsumption of alcohol can lead to serious illnesses and even death.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes annually in the United States, making it the third leading cause of preventable death in the country. Drunk drivers cause some of these deaths. Approximately 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 to 22 die from unintentional alcohol-related injuries each year, including motor vehicle crashes.
As history shows, prohibition does not work; so outlawing alcohol will not fix any problems. What needs to be changed is the perception of alcohol and how people handle it. If students recognized the dangers of alcohol and stopped their friends from going over their limits, the number of alcohol related incidents would go down. If students started looking out for each other and getting help for those who need it instead of encouraging dangerous behavior, many lives would be saved. For that to happen, the culture must change first. It needs to become less acceptable to drink excessively. In addition, punishments for incidents that occur while intoxicated need to be stricter. People have to be charged with three DUIs within 10 years before having their license revoked, this somewhat lax punishment along with others needs to be changed.
Alcohol can be an extremely dangerous substance, especially when drank in excess, which is unfortunately common. If society doesn’t start to recognize alcohol for the substance that it is, a dangerous drug, alcohol related problems will never truly go away.