So the government is going to do something positive about the binge drinking problem. What is that something, you may well ask…
Well, it’s going to mandate that warnings about the dangers of alcoholism should be placed on each can of beer and bottle of wine. What a novel approach to the problem! I can just see a drunk in the process of swilling another few gallons of grog, suddenly noticing the health warning and spluttering “Good heavens! Is this stuff bad for one? In that case, I’ll just have to stop getting pissed. Thank goodness I read this most informative label just in time for I was in danger of losing the few brain cells I have left.”
This kind of action by the government is quite useless since the people who need it most are usually too far gone to read and even if they can read they certainly cannot understand what they are reading.
People don’t drink because it’s good for them. They drink because they want to…even though it’s not good for them. They drink because they can’t stop and no amount of futile warnings on beverage labels are going to save them from becoming blotto if they choose to do so.
I believe that there is a limit to what the government and do-gooder organisations can do for a person who wants to indulge in behaviour which is unhealthy and even dangerous. You can warn people all you want but they will not stop drinking unless they want to stop.
The most that you can achieve by placing health warnings on alcoholic beverages is a feeling of self-satisfaction that you have taken some action, futile as it is. The warnings will be ignored, just as they are by addicted cigarette smokers.
How anybody can still smoke at all or drink to excess beats me. Alcoholics and other drug addicts use up a lot of our medical resources. Emergency rooms are packed on Saturday night with drunks and addicts. Perhaps we can hand out brochures from the Temperance League to these individuals who assault our doctors and nurses.
Does anybody really believe that a warning on a label will make a skerrick of difference to this kind of crazy behaviour?
My suggestion is that the government should increase the excise on alcoholic drinks. Not because it may decrease consumption (an unlikely scenario) but for the pragmatic reason that it needs the extra money to take care of all those expensive drunks.