Alcohol abuse takes a heavy toll

Alcohol abuse is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, with about 80,000 deaths a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In comparison, gun-related deaths are far down the list. In fact, it is likely that a large portion of gun-related deaths have alcohol or hard drugs as a root or contributing cause.

A huge number of the gun deaths are suicide related and it is highly likely that many of those deaths are alcohol related. Yet these facts are seldom publicized.

Look at the number of DUIs each day in your own paper, and the number of male-on-female assaults in the home, a large number of which are also alcohol related. One thing we learned from prohibition, and are continuing to learn from our “war on drugs,” is that bans do not work. On any given night, the potential for fatal consequences for the impaired driver and anyone on the road with them is significantly higher than the chance of getting shot by a law-abiding citizen. There is not much efficacy to passing laws that history shows have little effect on behaviors that represent the real danger. Penalize the behavior with significant consequences; don’t blame the weapon or car.

Albert E. Cram

Iowa City


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