Alcoholism through the eyes of a bartender
” (Dilulio, 2008) There are law abiding citizens who have come together in many areas to try to get something done about this problem, but often the attempt is in vain. Many inner city residents have asked for something to be done, but cannot seem to get the attention of those that make and enforce the liquor laws. “America’s liquor control regime is structured without any apparent regard for the connection between alcohol availability, consumption, crime, and other social problems, and is calculated to give the states almost zero capacity to regulate and directly enforce liquor laws.
” (Dilulio, 2008) A possible solution for neighborhoods struggling with an alcohol epidemic would be a government funded program to replace most of the liquor stores with businesses or community organizations that are beneficial to the surrounding residents until the zoning is similar to other communities with lower crime rates. Maybe sending the message that an area is worth investing in would create an atmosphere of renewal, and one that local entrepreneurs would like to give a second look at. It has worked in downtown Kansas City.
A new area, called the “Power and Light” district has recently opened in what used to be a desolate area. Sprint funded the building of an entertainment venue that has hosted several events, concerts, and sports tournaments. In response, many other businesses opened nearby. It is now a popular place to go out to dinner, or just walk around and people watch. It was a much needed revival that downtown Kansas City needed, and has provided many jobs for local residents. The most important improvement, to me, is that there are now people walking around downtown, at night, without fearing for their safety.
I do not believe that the problem of alcoholism could ever be eliminated, so focusing on reducing its effects would be the best approach. Educating kids would be a great start, since studies have shown that the earlier a person starts drinking, the more likely they are to become dependent on alcohol. (Lauer & Lauer, 2008) If parents were encouraged to openly speak with their children about the risks involved with drinking and to let their kids know what they expect of them, it would get through to many more kids.
I feel like this is more personal, and will therefore be more effective than just learning about alcohol along with the rest of your health class. Also, activities like a school sponsored after prom party would give kids fun alternatives and allow them to hang out with their friends during those times when alcohol consumption is seen as a normal, coming of age, thing to do. On college campuses, where alcohol abuse is most rampant, there should be policies that don’t allow fraternities and sororities to host parties where alcohol is served.
If these organizations are recognized by the school, they shouldn’t be allowed to contribute to binge drinking or any other activity that is detrimental to its fellow students. If these “in groups” weren’t hosting the parties that encourage overindulgence, it would help eliminate the peer pressure aspect of drinking to fit in. I believe that career alcoholics that continuously break the law and endanger lives should have breathalyzers on their cars for a mandatory time of five years or more. They should be required to pay for this as part of their diversion or probation.
These are mandatory for some convicted of driving under the influence, but it varies from state to state and is usually only required for a shorter period of time. A longer sentence of monitoring would keep more repeat offenders from harming others in alcohol related accidents. This would enable these people to still have a job and be able to support themselves, instead of jail time, which costs the taxpayers a substantial amount of money and further decreases the morale of the addicted person. One possible solution that comes to mind involves banning the really bad career alcoholics from bars.
There is a legal term, habitual drunkard, that is defined as “one whose repeated and excessive indulgence in intoxicating liquor so as to acquire a fixed habit and an involuntary tendency to become inebriated as often as the temptation is presented. ” (Statsky, 1986) It would eliminate the social drinking that these people thrive on and that distracts them from seeing their disease for what it is. Maybe this list could be compiled from repeat DUI offenders, or members of AA could nominate themselves to be on this list. It would only work if this list came out quarterly as a publication to all bars and liquor stores and included pictures.
Maybe fines paid resulting from DUI and other alcohol related offenses could fund this publication. It would be more realistic to do this list based on counties or other demographic areas in order to keep the list small enough that a bartender could periodically look over it and look at the faces. Alcoholism is known as a rather difficult disease to treat. It is known as a disease of the brain, since the longer you use it, the more your body craves it. (Lauer & Lauer, 2008) Addiction to alcohol has been treated in many different ways, but there has been a relatively new approach of treatment through drugs.
Alcoholics are given a pill that creates a feeling of nausea when alcohol is consumed. This pill has been effective in the treatment of alcoholism where therapy and other measures have been unsuccessful. It is still recommended that the pill be used in combination with therapy, however. “The pill, which appears to work by quieting neurotransmitters associated with alcohol dependence without serious side effects, must be used together with behavioral therapy. ” (Kalb,2000) This is good news to those who feel they have no control over their disease.
If they can simply make themselves take the pill every morning, it will make the decision not to drink easier when faced with immediate nausea. The social and economic benefits would be countless if the disease were ever successfully treated. It is estimated that alcohol abuse costs employers $119 billion in 1995. (NIAAA, 2008) It also costs taxpayers an astronomical amount. Health problems that develop over time because of chronic alcohol use, or babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome, can be a burden on taxpayer money. If there weren’t these expenses incurred, imagine all of the other programs our government could afford to fund.
The families of alcoholics often have deep rooted emotional issues that make them more likely to have substance abuse issues, and therefore more dependent on the government, and live a lifestyle that demolishes any chance of happiness. There are countless ways in which alcoholism affects us all, whether in the workplace or just in society in general. It has been shown to be detrimental in the restaurant/ bar industry to both the employees and patrons, and its overall effect can be felt in neighborhoods that are unlucky enough to have a disproportionate amount of liquor stores and bars.
It takes a huge toll on families and the economy. The only hope for resolution to this problem is education for the youth and rehabilitation by whatever means necessary for those who are already under its grasp.
References Bernstein, E. (1998, October). Under the influence. Restaurant Business, 97(20), 42-56. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 35273017). Dilulio, J. (1996). Broken bottles: Alcohol, disorder, and crime. The Brookings Review, 14(2), 14. Retrieved June 16, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 9399894). Kalb, C.
(2000, March). Good news about giving up booze. Newsweek, 135(12), 62. Retrieved June 16, 2008, from research library database. (Document ID: 51156806) Lauer, R & Lauer, J. ,(2008). Social Problems and the Quality of Life. New York: McGraw Hill. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (http://alcoholism. about. com/od/work. html) Retrieved June, 11, 2008 Nusbaumer, M. & Reiling, D. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. NewYork: Nov. 2002. Vol. 28, Iss. 4; pg. 733 Statsky, W. (1986) West’s Legal Thesaurus / Dictionary. St Paul: West Publishing Company.