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21st Amendment Blues:

 −CH 2CH 3. Alcohol National Policy Considerations

By Robert Jackson MA, Special Major PSY.Ed. & Para Legal

SFSU/ Colorado State. PPA PhD studies at Walden University.  Founder -Equilibrium Institute www.specialagenttraining.cfsites.org

August, 2018

 

 

 

Abstract

      The 21st Amendment repealed prohibition in 1933 and put control over alcohol regulation directly in the hands of the states.  This article shares historical developments and recommendations to potentially improve the regulation of alcohol and lessen the damages of substance abuse.  It is acknowledged that the regulation of alcohol is a moral hazard for policy makers.  Too much and not enough regulation and accompanying enforcement both bare consequences. The public absorbs significantly observable damages due to alcohol and chemical addictions, but private interests and organized crime continues to infiltrate markets and present national security risks pertaining to the safety and welfare of the people.  The shared burden to society from damages of chemical and substances far exceeds its perceived legal market benefits.   

 

Problem: 21st  Amendments Unintended and Unanticipated Consequences

     The Federal governments deference (decision to permit) to States regarding ending prohibition in 1933 had many unintended consequences. One being the huge task for each state to develop regulation and enforcement, which ultimately took nearly three decades (30 years) and resulted in clear disparities between states in the management of alcohol. 

 

     The miscalculation and errors in alcohol regulation as laid out in this article has evidenced far reaching impacts on public safety and health.  Therefore, this report supports the conclusion that alcohols costs and damages, when factoring negative social consequences from abuse does far exceed benefits and profits. However, sheer prohibition as a control clearly failed.  This article highlights dangers of the opposite extremes that have been practiced and points to a middle ground in significantly limiting problems flowing from alcohol abuse.   

 

     Currently laws vary state to state with the exception of recent consensus on drinking age (21) and allowable blood alcohol content.  Universalized state and federal incentives to regulate alcohol for greater consistency and increased efficient responses could be useful in improving alcohol regulations and reduce the complexity for businesses in the field, especially transactions crossing state lines. 

 

     History shows pros and cons of both uniformity (prohibition) and diversity (state by state regulations) in approaches to regulate alcohol.  National policy recommendations that respect state’s jurisdictional constitutional rights while simultaneously preserving broader federal constitutional interests such as ensuring fairness in the enjoyment of civil liberties, public safety and rights are at the heart of the alcohol regulation debate.  Today, alcohol consumption in the U.S. is rising. The increasing demise of dry States and counties and growth in the home brewing industry combined with reports of trends in alcohol consumption showing younger and younger ages for first time exposures and experimentation all reflect the problematic expansion of the use of alcohol.  Increases in crime rates have been found correlated to proximity of where alcohol is used.  This means that where access to alcohol is close by, a number of risks and dangers including crime is proportionately statistically significantly increased.     

 

Federal Government’s Role

     The efficient use of taxpayer dollars with regard to the regulation of alcohol is clearly an important consideration when reviewing the scale, scope, and variety of strategies present in state by state rules and enforcement actions or the lack thereof concerning alcohol.  The partnership approach of State and Federal regulations are needed to help control and prevent problems stemming from the abuse of alcohol.  Given the States have already built the local policies, perhaps the best federal role is to help evaluate what is working best among the states and provide incentives to spread those lessons to reinforce and identify best practices.  Providing tools such as information and resources where it is most needed and where cooperation is willingly demonstrated by the states seems like a gap the federal government can evaluate and help strategize to fill. 

 

How to Gain Greater Consensus on the Problem of Alcohol Regulation Needs

     Building an objective informed consensus to identify how to produce better results in the regulation of alcohol is key to lessening negative effects of alcohol locally and even globally.  Greater agreement on how to best regulate alcohol is needed because there is overwhelming evidence on damages that implicate alcohol as being a significant contributing factor in the production of costly health conditions and many other social problems including crimes- all of which demands significant public resources and compounds significant and often preventable public debts and tragedies. 

 

     Investigative researchers (Fitterer and Nelson, 2015) suggest expanding alcohol access points (over decades in contrast to populations density) are directly correlated to observable increases in negative criminal and growth in harmful health effects.  One study reviewed showed more access points (density of availability of alcohol) are linked to greater consumption rates among populations,

“…leading to increases in disease, dependency, injury, and crime (overall).  Of particular concern, is the large proportion of criminal offences committed while intoxicated- independent of socio-economic and demographic influences, higher alcohol access leads to greater rates of crime, including violent offences, disturbance, property damage and drunk driving” (Jessica L. Fitterer,  Trisalyn A. Nelson, 2015).

      The use of modern research methods can help isolate successes and failures in regulatory and enforcement practices to help inform where and even when changes should be made.  The case of alcohol access points is further complicated by the explosive home brewing movement sweeping the nation.  Advances in technology and lower costs of home brewing kits all add to the problems needing to be considered.  Since increased access to alcohol produce spikes in consumption by proximity, the corresponding higher risks for disease, dependency, injury and crime requires more cost prohibitive and restrictive rules around licensing and penalties.    

 

Local versus Federal Oversite of Alcohol

     The notion of local leadership decision making stems from societies absolute rejection to historical periods of tyranny, which appears to rise and fall thru time. To lessen oppressive conditions, groups worked to grow fairness and more inclusive diversity which fosters greater intelligence thru improved cooperation and the application of joint resources.  Thus, local based leadership was a response proven over time to help maintain stability as society expanded.  Democracies presumption is that power is best expressed when shared and qualifications spread more widely versus centralized and limited among fewer authorities.  Ideally democracy furthers knowledge and intelligence in society by sharing the challenge of building capacity of the people to assume greater responsibilities in governing themselves versus relying on oligarchs or tyrants.  While corruption may still influence or be present to some extent in localized decision making, such corrupt influence is localized instead of being in a singular consolidated power distribution.  This is an important point because a broader negative consequence could occur if corruption occurred in processes subject to a more consolidated regulatory approach.  In western culture, autonomy stems as far back as separation of church and state in the early formation of nation-states.  The struggle between federal and state power is a constant checks and balance issue attempting to address the old maxum, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

     Public Policy itself has become subject to increased exploitation by lobbyist and people inside and from abroad that attack our institutions with many different special interest objectives including direct attempts to interrupt the realization of democracy and weaken the quality of life.  To explore how to best regulate a known hazard such as alcohol, first let’s further survey what is known about alcohol. 

 

History of Alcohol’s Influence on Society

     The tradition of western democracy and structures and enforcement of laws in general can be traced as far back of the beginning of written history with the Greeks and later with the Romans and most recently Native Americans.  Some argue the transition from hunter gather to agrarian society may have in fact been a result or at least coincides with of the discovery of distillation of alcohol about 9,000 years ago.  Medical Professionals, Public Servants, and Researchers around the world have helped inform society about the various dangers of alcohol including an array of health risks and compelling correlations to violence and significant criminal convictions. 

 

     Around the world we have seen gradual trends over time moving legal drinking ages up from low teen years to older ages.  The change in drinking ages is attributed to knowledge influencing culture and resulting policies due to observed impacts on mental development and longer term risks associated with drinking at young ages. In specific, researchers have found a dramatic increase in chances to become an alcoholic the younger a person is when they first try alcohol.  

 

     In the U.S. it was not until 1984 when the National Drinking Age Act tied itself to Highway funds that most States agreed set alcohol possession and consumption rules to the minimum age of 21 in order to avoid a 10% penalty of highway appropriations for states with younger drinking ages. (Kinzie, S., Hohmann, J. 2008). Clearly, funding penalties were successful in motivating change nationally as all states adapted over time to implement the minimum 21 years of age rule for the consumption of alcohol.  Moving the age further to 24 should be considered.  While this act helped control access, it did little to address the social reality of peer pressure and a culture of teen drinking or experimentation with chemicals.     

 

     Local regulation of alcohol varies due to competing needs, interests, and even bias involved that influence the formation of rules by States.  Economics, and powerful motivators such as pleasure and belonging help place the challenge and practicality of regulating alcohol into context.  Too little oversite is dangerous and too much oversite has in the past caused other problems to emerge.  The solution rests in best practices that limit the consumption of alcohol, better education, better orientations on how not to abuse alcohol, and rehabilitation programs for persons with addictions generally.  Just as important are strategies to provide healthier options for social activities for youth and young adults that still addresses adventurism, and the basic desire to experience euphoria.  For instance, mediation, herbs, dance, exercise, creative arts, bonding activities, team work, faith based experience, travel, passionate interests combined with a firm understanding for the reverence of life and respect for the body can further protect and lead  to smarter decision making about what is being consumed. 

 

     Alcohol is regulated in the following ways; taxation, growing/ brewery business establishment licensure, criminal regulations and penalties, potency standards. Regulations are impacted by bio-medical expertise, national and state incentives, along with social pressures from business interests groups, consumers, and activists.  Corruption and human error are significant internal threats as well.  For instance the science around what level of consumption is safe or beneficial versus dangerous is subject to change based on what we know or don’t know about biology. 

 

     Under a forensic microscope, human behavior tends to be both error prone and vulnerable to corruption.  The enforcement of rules is often selective.  The blatant disregard for rules is often present in cultures where responsibility is vacated by soft penalties and legal loopholes that shield perpetrators from serious consequences.  Cultures overly based in immediate gratification and self-interests tends to reinforce the destruction of harmony and exploitation. Thus, corruption is not simply about money, it is about subscribing to principles that violate the natural code of life.           

 

     California established the Alcohol Beverage and Control board by adopting an Act in the States constitution responding to the passage of Amendment 21 which lifted prohibition.  Other related legal matters such as the Sherman Anti-trust act informed California’s Act answered the demise of the 18st Amendment and the need for regulation locally to meet the requirements of the 21st Amendment.  

 

     The U.S. Federal Government has an agency inside The Treasury Department called Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (ATTTB) that may pre-empt State or local regulations on Alcohol where Federal domain exists.  In fact a long list of federal agencies have interest in guaranteeing the constitutional powers of the U.S., which offers the citizenry protections are being properly safeguarded by States.  All these things particularly the ATTTB are important agencies that can help better control substances such as alcohol and dramatically exert pressure on local government or lend resources to support local regulation or enforcement policies and practices.   

 

From Prohibition to State Rule Making

     According to Joanna Hallac (2012), the prohibition movement led to the passage of the 18th Amendment which “… banned the manufacture, transportation or sale of alcohol (nationwide).” The prohibition movement has roots stemming as far back to the abolitionist anti-slavery and suffrage movements of the civil war period (1861-1865).  Two major early feminist groups, “Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Anti-Saloon League (ASL)” effectively lobbied to bring about prohibition, which was implemented nationally in January 17, 1920 (Hallac, J. 2012). 

 

     Prohibition is regarded, “the noble experiment”, which under the pressure of unintended illegal  markets and alleged consumer demand eventually led to the passage of the 21st Amendment 13 years later that voided the 18th Amendment and ended prohibition in 1933 (Hallac J,, 2012).  However, even though the 21st amendment allowed States their own regulatory decision making powers concerning alcohol, it was not until 1966 that nearly all states ended prohibition- some 33 years after the passage of amendment 21.  The slow response by states points to the difficulty in responding to the double jeopardy alcohol can be argued to present to policy makers.  On one hand you have strong opposition against alcohol among the political base and on the other a historical experience clearly showing prohibition failed simply by driving it to black-markets.  There are still some states (Mississippi, and Tennessee) and some counties within states that prohibit alcohol today.  

 

     Local autonomy is a common feature of democratic rule.  It was not until terrorist events of 911 that an examination of what went wrong leading to that avoidable crisis, as listed in the 911 commissions report, that it was largely recognized for the first time in U.S. history that greater sharing incentives and strategies including intelligence tools between jurisdictions was desperately needed.  The 911 events lead to re-organization in the infra-structure of the intelligence community (Steiner, 2009) and a better understanding of how sharing information and developing best practices in coordinating preventative and responsive actions are vital. 

 

     At the time of the decision in 1933 to leave the regulation of alcohol to states, we did not possess the modern tools and experience we have at our disposal today.  Our ability to track problems and use science including meta-data tools including enhanced technology offers us a chance to better define the common problems we share between states and learn from our mistakes and successes with regard to problems correlated with alcohol- lessening the need to repeat mistakes and use the best available intelligence at our disposal in fighting both crime and preventable health epidemics.  Shifting the social burden of harmful behavior away from institutions by increasing individual self-responsibility is an opportunity to better inform people for optimal outcomes, lower tolerances of abuse, reduce waste, and reduce victimization simultaneously.    

 

     While it is true not all problems are solved by a singular approach, there are likely similar problems between locations that could utilize best practice approaches found to work.  For example, agreement on common consequences for offences, measurements of sobriety or drunkenness, penalties, effective methods for enforcement, substance abuse prevention, treatment remedies for persons in recovery could all save resources and increase effectiveness in achieving commonly shared goals by using proven models. Such an approach can also lower the national debt.  

 

     Autonomy expressed by a State’s constitution is an important coveted state right, but sharing intelligence and avoiding the wasteful replication of efforts is paramount.  Especially if inter-state programs helps public service dollars go further in limiting crime, preventing death, and fighting illness associated with alcohol abuse.

 

     The National Academy of Sciences concluded,

“The common belief that alcohol control measures (government action to regulate the supply of alcohol and drinking premises) are ineffective as prevention instruments is unfounded….There is good evidence from econometric studies that alcohol prices, as affected by excise taxation, can affect consumption levels, and probably the consequent rates of alcohol-related problems. Reductions in the minimum drinking age slightly, but consistently, was shown to increase auto accident involvement by younger drivers. The older the drinking age- the less accidents are observed related to the use of alcohol.  The effects of merchandising practices, outlet density, civil liability for servers, and so forth have not been established with reliability, in part because these control mechanisms are intrinsically very difficult to empirically study. It is possible, but as yet hypothetical, that the cumulative effect of a number of changes in these areas of regulation has been substantial” (Moore MH, Gerstein DR ,1981).

 

     Greater and more restrictive controls around alcohol may result in lowering the negative impacts of the abuse of alcohol.  

 

     The implications listed above suggests that demographics and local regulatory decisions plays a role in limiting consequences predicted from use and or abuse of alcohol and that such information can help provide insight on controlling risks associated with alcohol consumption.  Local statistics varies.  For example, consumption rates between groups in one area of the country is different than another – thus responses and rules might need to be adjusted accordingly to produce the desired effects set locally.  It follows if you know how successful a business is (i.e. club tax records) and the density of consumption is higher in a region, more deterrence measures may be needed in that area.  Also medical reports and accident reports can help law enforcement, educators and medical professionals respond to identified hot spots from the data trends if rapidly fed into nationally available information systems that inform local management of public service assets locally (like gang tasks forces only with added data inputs across related public safety fields.) For example, see the endemic modeling of violence on maps as predictive tools (Zeoli, A, Pizarro, J., Grady, S. Melde, C., 2012) also (Slutkin, G. 2013).  Such data could influence decision making such as the placement of check points, drunk driving and addiction education programs, promotional campaigns for safer transport options, and functional response items like better street lighting, road signs, and basic staffing considerations. 

 

     Using science to close loop holes in local laws that exacerbate known social problems is a proactive way to fight corruption such as curbing unfair exploits of lobby interest groups that pressure political systems and create unnecessary public risks. 

 

     Additives of alcohol (or any ingredient, especially chemicals known to cumulatively cause or contribute to harmful conditions) in products when it is not a scientifically necessary ingredient, or where a safer alternative exists, can be better controlled to help reduce undue exposures.  Oversite should be a left to federal and other watchdog organizations where states, due to revenue needs could be tempted to render inconsistent policy or enforcement rather than strong deterrence for controlled substances, including many classes of chemicals, including alcohol- all categorized broadly as toxins or teratogen (Sue, Sue, Sue, 2000) and empirically demonstrated to be harmful- even potentially lethal. 

 

     The ongoing debate for the legalization of drugs is more political than scientifically based.  Law enforcement has intimate knowledge of how substance and chemical abuses are impacting communities.  However, law enforcement are often not trained or given adequate tools to treat accompanying mental illness.  While humane treatment is important, it is suggested here it is less humane to allow drug use than it is to intervene and assist the person in reaching full recovery.  Research should be conducted on survivors to determine the percentages that favor legalization versus stronger prevention and recovery models.  While the voices of the victims of addiction are muffled by death, survivors should also be first line influencers of democratic decisions, not politicians that are repeatedly proving to be bought agents rather than defenders of the welfare of the people.  Let us not forget the journalist Gary Webb that allegedly committed suicide after implicating government agents supporting the drug trade under Ronald Reagan reaching black communities of Los Angeles in the 1980’s.         

 

Explaining and Tracking Alcohol Consumption and Related Problems

 

     The greater use of meta data is proving helpful in informing local responses to a variety of problems.  For example, if quantitative data correlates sobriety to lower domestic violence incidents then it naturally would follow that dating and parenting education on such facts could help young people look for warning signs in relationships. Preventative education could help prevent substance abuse related victimization.  While prohibition failed- higher taxation on alcohol, stronger prevention education to help reduce offenses like underage drinking and drug use, and lowering the number of alcohol licenses within a radius, along with earlier closing times or cut-off points of purchase in establishments serving alcohol combined with cultural incentives for sobriety and healthy alternative activities can be a healthy federal agenda.  Programs that effectively reward and pressure states for compliance or participation that are evidence driven performance based actions that bring down alcohol related health problems and crimes are critical in the fight against substance and chemical abuse.  Stiffer penalties for selling to minors, limits on the strength of alcoholic products, taxation, and limits on how many drinks per hour venues can serve alcohol to an individual are all examples of additional tools to help limit consumption.  Such programs can be organized under a know your limit campaign that offers incentives and rewards for innovative approaches that help communities get addiction, and crime under better controls. 

 

     Engineering cultural shifts to more positively associate belonging and acceptance which are primary human needs, to healthier behaviors that don’t include dangerous thrill seeking using poisons is worth closer study.  Globally, problems with self-harm, violence, extinctions, and toxic chemicals are spreading at a rapid pace unprecedented. Why do we here across the U.S. have an epidemic number of people turning to drugs, alcohol and suicide?  There are direct correlations between unhealthy dependencies, toxic addictions, which leads to the development of, or worsening of, mental illness.  If we understand the variables of US culture that help explain why we are ranking poorly in waste production, in violence, and in declining quality of life and in debt social engineers can have a better time engineering responses.    

 

     No culture wants to become recognized as being number one in debt, violence, the production of waste, and the consumption of poisons, regardless of the gross national product.  If leadership does not stand and build markets and corresponding lifestyles that are sustainable, then it is self-evident such a culture is self-destructive and must be stopped.  It is for this reason the health and the preservation of life and culture should be among the chief considerations of national security to the benefit of the people.

 

     One powerful possible cultural shift involves emphasizing harmony over happiness. Harmony requires interdependence, respect for relationships, and moves us away from self-gratification, and indulgences that are fleeting and self-centered. 

 

     It is known that alcohol impairs decision making.  Laws attempt to regulate the acceptable level of consumption one may commit in public.  Too much regulation without proper enforcement is wasteful and leads back to the path of prohibition, which failed.  The problem could be characterized as a lifelong challenge of learning and adjusting your reasonable limit and not accidentally, or in the common case of spiteful youth, intentionally exceeding the limit on alcohol consumption best for your body. People drink under the banner of having a good time, blending in, escaping, or self-medicating for stress or other ailments.  Healthier options exist, but mechanisms to deliver options such as meeting spaces are lacking and needs a more serious commitment to serve diverse community needs.  This is especially true to youth, elderly and low income groups that don’t have access to other social opportunities generally.     

 

     The federal limit of drunk is set at .o8 blood alcohol content, but each state responds with different legal consequences.  Why should a resident in one state be let off on a warning while another is arrested held until sober and fined with points on a drivers record and in some cases a mandatory court appearance follow-up.  Thus, there are some examples where states or local enforcement choices lack consistency, but could easily be made more uniform across states to generate stronger control results to increase fairness.   

 

For Further Research

     If the aim is to increase consistency in alcohol regulation and boost enforcement powers to agents charged in serving and protecting us, what would best enable them to give us increased success rates on problems like lowering drunk driving, lowering deaths where alcohol is involved, lowering violence where alcohol is involved, lowering adverse underage drinking incidents, and lowering alcohol related diseases? 

 

Know Your Limit Campaign

     Helping people learn personal consumption limits more safely, increasing education and services for addiction and prevention, and drastically raising awareness about consequences of addiction and the abuse of substances are key.  Such information needs to be presented in ways that connects well to target audiences and is not overly fear based messaging- like the messaging of the 80’s which may actually have had the opposite effect.  It is known that rebelling against authority at young ages is natural so rather than have the messaging come from authority- it may be more strategic to come from peers and idols that resonate to each target audience.  Peer studies affirm this more effective approach regarding the power of  influence.    

 

Dangers of Alcohol

     Alcohol crosses the placenta barrier in pregnancy (Sue, Sue, Sue, 2000) and can damage a fetus and cause abnormal development in a fetus leading to an ill baby at birth, yet the problem persists.  Alcohol presents an oxymoron in the regard that we want people to be responsible for how they behave, but alcohol compromises the very brain functions that in simple terms helps people make judgments and other decisions.  Alcohol temporarily disables the area of the brain that controls thinking about consequences and reasoning- which predictably leads to poorer choices and less regard for outcomes.  Clinically speaking in some phases of a drunkenness an acute inability to be responsible for ones actions exists. However that does not totally excuse a drunk from the liabilities of their actions right?  The courts imminent domain reveals that circumstances and bias does influence sentencing decisions.  Learning if statistically significant differences exist in sentencing for persons found sober versus drunk for the same crimes would be a quantitative study worth conducting.  

 

 

Using Research to Impact Responsive Policy Making

     How might people better manage or express their desires for the loss of control or the fulfillment of adventurism in healthier less deadly ways on a similar budget?  How society is experiencing the phenomenon of alcohol and chemical abuse is an area ripe for study.  Developing instruments to measure evidence based performance to pinpoint what is working and what is not in terms or responding to epidemics is how researchers can help.  Adapting to conditions and needs of the evolving problems requires increased cooperation and resources.      

 

Compelling Points about Adverse Impacts of Alcohol

     Alcohol is among the leading causes of preventable death in the U.S. with an estimated 88,000 deaths annually attributed to alcohol use (U.S. Government’s Center for Disease Control, 2010). Of those deaths about 10% are auto related with deaths occurring once every 51 minutes (U.S. Government Department of Transportation, 2015). To be clear, alcohol abuse is a significant cause of preventable death and illness with incredible social and economic consequences. 

“Globally, alcohol misuse was the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability in 2010.  Among people between the ages of 15 and 49, it is the first. In the age group 20–39 years, approximately 25 percent of the total deaths are alcohol attributable.” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, June 2017)

 

     Survey data show correlations between alcohol and criminal convictions and violence exists, but research does not draw exclusive causal links between alcohol and violence. Alcohol is however described as being an antecedent to violence or aggression in some people and implicated as a contributing factor- more significant for some people than for other personalities in terms of more pronounced negative attitudes or other risky behaviors including hostility. Researchers note not everyone acts the same way intoxicated.  Many variables of behavior compound to explain immediate behavior.  While impaired brain function is found in intoxicated people, consequences vary from person to person and intoxication alone can’t be listed as a singular cause for violent behavior. However, impairing the logical area of the brain, and slowing reaction times certainly increases risks for accidents and misunderstandings or arguments, which are often also associated with violence. Clinical Psychologist Stephen Bright on Terzon said,

“One part of the brain that can especially slow down with alcohol is the pre-frontal cortex — the cerebral grey matter at the front associated with complex cognitive function, decision making, logic and reason and thinking about the consequences of your actions” (Terzon, E. 2016).

 

One study reviewed analyzing statistics of a dry state that turned wet (Kansas 1977-2011) found,

“reduced-form estimates suggest that legalizing the sale of alcohol to the general public for on-premises consumption is associated with a 10 to 25 percent increase in violent crime. Legalization is also associated with a 10 percent increase in property crime. Because we find no evidence that crime fell in dry counties when neighboring counties allowed by-the-drink sales, we conclude that bars and restaurants create criminal activity as opposed to simply displacing it. (Anderson, D., Crost, B., Rees, D., 2014)

 

     According to the Department of Justice (1998), 37% of almost 2 million convicted offenders currently in jail, report that they were drinking at the time of their arrest. However, this oft cited report is significantly flawed because it was reliant on self-reports made by inmates during incarceration, not fact based data distinguished by actual alcohol testing done at the time of arrests.  Given the likelihood of false reporting due to perceived consequences, possible contamination impacts and item saliency issues, it is suggested here the figure of arrests where convicts are actually intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol is possibly lower.  Where sobriety is a concern at the point of arrest why not administer non-invasive tests? 

 

     Excess alcohol consumption and resulting health problems are widely known. Career loss, relationship deterioration, unplanned pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease increased risks are suggested by researchers and health advocates to be more prevalent in situations where excessive use alcohol is present.  Likewise, younger drinkers tend to develop alcoholism at increased rates than those starting to drink alcohol later in life (Grant, B, and Dawson, D., 1998.)  

 

Know Your Limit Campaign

     A significant part of drinking responsibly is knowing and respecting your bodies own limits. Clearly a single drink for an addictive personality type is not the same as one drink for someone not prone to addictions.  U.S. dietary guidelines including the food pyramid are strikingly false. 

 

     In moderate use alcohol reportedly also has a list of health benefits.  Interestingly, in an online article Harvard cites “ two drinks per day for men, and no more than one drink per day for women is suggested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Dietary Guidelines”.  Note that amount of alcohol could in some cases place the drinker in the .08 (alcohol blood content) legally drunk category at 12-14 grams of alcohol per drink depending on metabolism, weight, height and variables such as on a full or empty stomach at the time of consumption.  Tolerances to alcohol also change thru life, per person.

 

Treatment of Intoxication Tips

     Another fun fact, alcohol is a known depressant while the caffeine is a stimulant. Coffee makes the drunk person ingesting it feel as though they are less intoxicated than they really are. This means that water and time - not coffee, is a better method to sober an individual as water causes the person to metabolize and the alcohol out of the body and is hydrating.  Coffee could convince an intoxicated person to think, due to caffeine’s effect, that they are sober when in fact they could still be legally drunk. Both Coffee and Alcohol are dehydrating so the urban myth that coffee helps needs to be dispelled.  Another important detail- if someone losses consciousness from alcohol consumption, stay with them until they wake up to prevent them from choking to death on their own vomit.  To help induce vomiting, which can expel anything not yet digested, a spoon full of salt can trigger a gag vomit response.  In some cases, alcohol poisoning or related complications can require more intense interventions, which should be carried out by trained medical professionals.    

 

Conclusion

     In the case of alcohol, there is enough evidence to suggest that in excess it can be very harmful.  Over-reacting to controlling alcohol creates black markets and rule breakers.  Over relaxed approaches regulating alcohol on the other hand can also have devastating consequences as implicated by health and crime correlations to alcohol consumption.  Moderation seems to be the key to many behaviors that in excess can become significant problems.  Knowledge in every instance can lead to better choices at the individual level.  Self-regulation improves with practice, guidance and with trial and error experience.  Finding ways to increase guidance to move people away from negative behavior and promoting reasonable avenues to achieve good health should reinforce or build skills in individuals to care more for themselves at lower costs to society.   Overall investing in self-regulation in mental and physical fitness is the first line of defense. 

 

     Impacting the barometer of social tolerance and reform pressures within peer groups seems a worthy area to implant leadership to better limit undesirable behavior.  More risky experimentation behavior is more reasonably expected in the earlier years of life, when young people make poorer decisions based on limited knowledge about self-care, naïve feelings of invincibility and inexperience.  Thus, focusing policy and prevention efforts to decrease alcohol or chemical abuse among the youth is a wise investment and needs to include peers, parents, schools, and health care professionals all working together.   

 

     Rather than making it so easy for people to cross a line to disaster, it is the job of regulators to make it very difficult for those mistakes to occur and protect society at large from avoidable adverse consequences.  A know your limit national campaign supported by stakeholders concerned about alcohol regulation is a rich opportunity where cooperation between factions can be gained and many lives saved or reformed.  The recommendations below can be further explored and task forces globally can lead the fight on regulating alcohol to mitigate the known risks.  With population growth, it is reasonable to predict better solutions (largely education abuse prevention based) are needed to contain and arrest alcohol related problems.  Since states have a body of alcohol regulation, the federal role can be to help states streamline best practices and offer incentives that work to achieve the larger constitutional concerns of public safety. That permits the federal arm to act as a checks and balance for states and the citizenry in problematic but clearly defined jurisdictions, while not interfering with what is proving to work locally. 

 

Recommendations to Further Explore and Test:

  • Limiting total sales permits within radius and per numbers of residents, lessening hours of operation for alcohol establishments from 2 A.M. to 12 A.M. or earlier
  • Make national regulations and reporting requirements concerning manufacturing to better control home/ and commercial alcohol beverage producers and require costly permits. Divert permit fees to education and community centers.
  • Increase nationally uniform fees of alcohol by increasing taxes across all types of alcohol.  The greater the price increases the less consumption may occur. 
  • Lower consumption of alcohol corresponds to the less crimes and lower associated costs related to alcohol. This assertion is difficult to empirically research, but it we locate communities going from wet to dry that may provide the social environment to sample.  Otherwise, perhaps volunteer in recovery could provide ethnographic sample. 
  • Significantly increase fines for alcohol related offenses.  Inform health and auto insurers of incidents involving convictions.
  • Significantly adjust licensing requirements for the sale of alcohol.
  • Significantly raise special permit fees and limit frequency allowances for repeat single day/ sales/serving permit requests.
  • Implement a 9 P.M. cut-off on the purchase of alcohol in all access points except one licensed classification (i.e. clubs till 12 A.M.) which can be limit based on a set mile radius.  This also helps concentrate law enforcement where added presence is needed. i.e. check-points. 
  • Dramatically increase public education on dangers of addiction and build more treatment centers to lower risks and help end destructive mental health cycles. 
  • Special attention to prevention of underage youth (13-20) drinking and hot spots showing up on research tracked data since these groups are vulnerable to greater risks of abnormal brain development if they become substance dependent and have higher risks of alcoholism the earlier they start drinking. 
  • The role of peer pressure alone may be more significant than laws.  While that may not be considered a regulatory factor in the legal sense- the practical cultural sense should also be more closely utilized in control strategies – especially how to better persuade kids to limit, delay, or even eliminate experimenting with alcohol or drugs altogether and replace it with the desire to learn.  Peer to peer approaches that deliver detailed options and best practices are proving effective empowerment approaches.   
  • Propose federal mandates on the minimum older drinking age of 24, and create incentives for States to adopt such resolutions to move drinking age forward.  Continue to push for older ages over the coming decades. This fight will keep the public debate over impacts of alcohol in public spotlight and be helpful in gaining support on other related measures.  This might change perceptions of the culture to more strongly restrict more vulnerable youth from drinking since the information about risks and consequences can get better known.  Being prepared to combat industry and build bridges with them is also key.  Industry leaders of specific brands might actually be first in requiring older ages to purchase their products once they review the analysis of the problems.
  • Introduce new ways to regulate alcohol such as import limits of 8% proof and steeper taxes to generate more revenues to fund further research and prevention strategies.
  • States should develop a mechanism to efficiently learn and model best practices between states for effective regulatory practices and information sharing.
  • Advocate for a uniform approach to manage automotive licensing.  Raise the automotive operating age to 21 and raise minimum emergency based driving permit age at 18 and limit driving permits to persons with demonstrated needs such as; employment, school, or children or dependent adults.  This can reduce accident risks significantly- especially drunk driving that disproportionately impacts youth.  The data supports more young people are involved in auto accidents related to their own intoxication than compared to other groups. 
  • Institute requirements that direct regulators or those being regulated to follow federal guidelines (derived from best practices investigative findings) on effective measures that reach the goals identified in those guidelines where the federal guidelines are not otherwise met or exceeded by local legislative requirements as a condition of receiving federal (health care or tax credits) funds since this has a demonstrated history of working as observed in the minimum drinking age scenario for highway funds and may be broadened to other areas concerned with the regulation of Alcohol. 
  • Use of state law-making processes to impact Alcohol regulation and “diffusion processes”, could speed reforms (Riverstone-Newell, L.,2013).
  • Thirteen appears to be a good age to start drug and alcohol prevention education based on existing research on the problem in general. Delaying the age that experiments with alcohol and drugs begin may impact trend data that later become dependent if earlier research finding concerning causation correlations are consistent.
  • Increasing alcohol taxation would likely lower crime (Cook, P., & Moore, M, 1993.) Saved resources can lower debt or be redirected.
  • Conduct studies to determine social factors that influence lowering alcohol related abuse problems, which might be useful in refining regulations or modeling best practices in educational materials nationally and be highlighted in incentive programs.  
  • Review or create objective fact finding processes which requires objective evidence based data threshold analysis be used to identify the endemic (State) and epidemic (National) problems that could warrant greater or lesser resource attention (tax dollars and multi-jurisdictional cooperation response teams) to better prioritize how the protection and responses warranting national security interventions be made- especially where State efforts are found to be failing to meet the minimum requirements of their own constitutions, or in the specific case of Amendment 21, an inadequate response to satisfy the mandate.  Those facts can inform better responses to realize existing policies or lead to discovery of areas where policy is inadequate and in need of reform.  The facts also point to where and when to concentrate provided they are set up to collect reliable data and monitored regularly.  An example of such systems would the seismic monitoring of earth movements as a warning system for people down-stream.  We can look at social data as predictive markers in addition to what has already occurred to better plan for the future. 

 

 

 

 

References

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