Lots of talk around these days. Pete has posted his series on the media and stories about representing alcohol use in the UK. Jay has had a mirroring series that has been a theem for sometime. I am still not fully satisfied because, while Pete and Jay each have honestly shared past experience about alcohol use, the question of alcohol and harm is not limited to the serious question of alcoholism. Which led to my comment at Pete's: "...but are we any closer to knowing how many people alcohol kills a year or how much drinking costs the economy?"
There have been lots of bloggy points of view, including mine that seems to say that Canada may be insulated from the neo-prohibitionist question culturally. I am not sure it is really scaremongering. The question led Mark to ask how many drinks people are having - people really do not seem off line with the recommended levels of consumption leading to his conclusion:
Neo-prohibition is an easy and quick tick in a big government box; educating the nation is a difficult tick. Some people are terrible and unsafe drivers; some people are unsafe drinkers. Some people does not mean all people.
But is that the point? There are public safety issues as well as health issues that are not directly related to serious alcoholism. I have a sense that people aren't recognizing this. Do I care that only some do the wrong or suffer the wrong? That I'm alright, Jack? There were 34,638 driving under influence convictions in 2006. 14,517 in California. In Canada, the Federal government estimates 750 Canadians die a year in alcohol related accidents. People will pick at the stats - however, hard it is to pick at a conviction unless you think the state is corrupt. But even if they are off by 50% that means 375 people died.... from the thing we beer fans and beer nerds and beer hounds consider an innocent and, generally, healthy past time.
Isn't the point that when you do something in a healthy and fun fashion you should set yourself apart from those who do a similar thing in a harmful way? Shouldn't beer bloggers be against drunk driving and other misuse of alcohol as much as they are for social drinking? Some may say that they only want to support the positive side of good beer but without the whole story is that really being positive, just convenience or willful blindness?