Even though the headline may cause many to cringe, the fact is that alcohol abuse is the costliest problem in the world. Drinking to excess is the underlying cause of more divorces, car accidents, job loss, bankruptcies, foreclosures, liver disease etc. Alcohol is a poison after all, but we have accepted it in our society as a way to relax and celebrate. In moderation, it does little or no harm. But, to 25% of the population, it is a problem. To 10% of the population it is an addiction.
Now, a study has concluded that raising taxes on alcohol sales may result in a decrease in binge drinking. Any suggestion that prices be raised on a commodity usually causes alarm. In this case however, with the harm alcohol causes in our society, it may be warranted. The taxes raised, should of course be used for treatment of alcohol abuse.
I have long recommended raising taxes on alcohol, but had always been resigned to big alcohol’s hold on the legislature, that it would never happen. If this study gets some traction, and we continue to discuss this issue, maybe we can make it a reality. Of course, the current focus is on prescription drug and heroin abuse, so it may take a while until the levels decrease on that drug of abuse, before alcohol is in the spotlight again. Alcohol will always be the toughest to reign in, especially as marijuana legalization is starting to blossom.
I look forward to your comments on this subject.