Gee Scott: Why does alcohol get so much love?

Jun 8, 2023, 2:43 PM | Updated: 5:33 pm

Alcohol shelves...

Gee Scott poses the question: Why does alcohol get such good PR? (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Why does alcohol get such good PR? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is estimated that more than 140,000 people (approximately 97,000 men and 43,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth-leading preventable cause of death in the United States — behind tobacco, poor diet, physical inactivity, and illegal drugs.

Alcohol is involved in more homicides across the U.S. compared to other substances, like heroin and cocaine. In fact, about 40% of convicted murderers had used alcohol before or during the crime.

Alcohol is often considered just as bad as drugs because it can be addictive and harmful to a person’s health and well-being. Like drugs, alcohol can impair a person’s judgment, coordination, and cognitive functioning. It can also lead to risky behaviors, such as drunk driving or violence.

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In the U.S. from 1920 to 1933, a nationwide constitutional law prohibited the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. It was said the reason was to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. That sounds good, but I wonder why they didn’t call for a “War on Alcohol” the same way President Richard Nixon called for a “War on Drugs.” If they would have, I also wonder if after 52 years of a “War on Alcohol,” treatment centers would be all over the place for help.

So why again does alcohol get such good PR? Watch a sporting event? Alcohol commercial. See someone’s Facebook post? At the beach on vacation with alcohol to show relaxation. As a matter of fact, alcohol is so popular that if you’re with a bunch of adults and you tell folks that you don’t drink, they kinda wonder what’s wrong with you. Drinking in social settings is completely normal but being the one that doesn’t drink isn’t.

That’s a head-scratcher to me. After a couple of drinks, it clearly does something to the body, but we look at that as normal, but other stuff isn’t.

Speaking of other stuff, we have a drug problem in this country because we refuse to be honest about it. We have spent 50-plus years disproportionately incarcerating people of color, yet we have some folks pretending like it was no big deal.

  • Black incarceration rate in America exploded from about 600 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 1,808 in 2000
  • Latino incarceration rate in America went from 208 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 615 per 100,000 in 2000
  • White incarceration rate grew from 103 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 242 in 2000

Ursula: A personal story on how drug addiction affects us all

Here’s the kicker. We have folks that want to repeat that behavior again today. Some have no other plan other than locking folks up with a drug problem. I want to be clear, this drug crisis breaks my heart, but so does knowing that some of you believe a war on people instead of drugs is the solution. That’s why we’re in this situation in the first place. We are so outdated that we don’t even have drug education as a curriculum in school. I mean, don’t we have to do a little more than “just say no”?

Alcohol and drug use can cause significant harm to individuals and society. It’s essential that we educate ourselves and others about the potential dangers of these substances and provide support and resources to those struggling with addiction. Once that happens, then we can work towards a society that is free from the harmful effects of substance abuse. I’d like to see the can stop being kicked down the road, and actually do real work to solve this issue. Right now, we are 52 years behind.

Gee Scott is the co-host of the Gee & Ursula show on KIRO Newsradio, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Gee and Ursula Show

KIRO Newsradio Opinion


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Gee Scott: Why does alcohol get so much love?