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The consumption of alcohol, typically as a beverage, has many risks and health consequences. Based on the evidence (presented below) it appears that the harm to society that is caused by recreational use of alcohol far outweighs any potential benefit.
In many societies, alcohol is served during celebrations and recreational events, and people often feel obligated to drink it to please their hosts, even when they would prefer not to, or when they can forsee that in their circumstances it will cause them harm. Similarly, youth feel pressure to "fit in" with this tradition as soon as they are old enough to do so.
In order to bring forward a better world for everyone, the most reliable and recommended solution is for each person to choose to not consume alcohol.
This recommendation is consistent with the healthy living policy. Healthy living supports the Healthy Body and Healthy Mind ideals.
Here are some links to web sites that have information about alcohol:
www.nm.org: Alcohol and the Brain
www.popsci.com: Moderate Drinking
www.quitalcohol.com: Effect on brain
www.cancer.org: alcohol use and cancer
www.healthline.com: effects on body
www.theguardian.com: alcohol consumption
Note that there is some research that indicates a potential benefit of alcohol to clear out congestion of the heart, which could potentially be a benefit to an older person who lives a sedentary life style. However, this is a "second best" solution compared to simply getting some exercise and living a healthy life style. Physicians never prescribe alcohol as a medicine because it doesn't pass the criteria that is applied to all other medications: that the benefit should outweigh the side effects. If a person has a heart condition, they are best advised to see a doctor and get the best treatment rather than a second-rate excuse for a treatment.
madd.ca home page
www.psychologicalscience.org: can't know when to stop
www.drinkaware.co.uk: underage drinking
www.verywellmind.com: early drinking age and risk of alcoholism
pubs.niaaa.nih.gov: association with sexual abuse
www.alcohol.org: sexual assault on campus
riahealth.com: harm to marriages
www.therecoveryvillage.com: children of alcoholics
www.statista.com: alcohol consumption stats
progressreport.cancer.gov: government consumption targets
talbottcampus.com: alcoholism statistics
Longevity is a bit controversial because some studies show that people who don't drink at the time of their death have shorter lives, while the alcohol drinkers live longer. The catch is that most diseases are made worse by alcohol, so unhealthy people may stop drinking as they get older. Of course it is no surprise that unhealthy people have shorter lives. So be wary of statistics on this matter, and be sure to look into all the details of the research!
For a true test, you need to examine longevity of people who choose to avoid alcohol for their whole life. That is true of some religions such as the Mormon Christians, which can be compared to a a population of social drinkers who live within the same environment. Results show that a choice to avoid alcohol and tobacco produces longer longevity. See:
Washington Post: Mormon Longevity
quirkyscience.com: alcohol as a waste product of micro-organisms
And, on the flip side, some beneficial uses of alcohol:
healthyone.org: medical uses of alcohol
The use of alcohol is perpetuated across generations by a perceived need of people to be socially accepted, and to fit into a society where drinking alcohol is associated with celebrations, special events, and friendship. The problem with this is that people are pressured into drinking. They feel that they must accept the risks. This can be especially pernicious when this is done to people in these two categories:
Many people feel that they can use alcohol in small quantities as a means of relaxing, and that they can control it without harm to themselves. But when they serve it to others, they cannot know the personal lives of those people that they don't see in the party or workplace, where those people might struggle against addiction.
Moreover, as we have seen in the case of tobacco usage among the offspring of smokers, the children will almost always choose to smoke even when their parents warn them of the well-document harm that it causes. Likewise children wish to copy their parents drinking habits as soon as they are old enough to be permitted, in order to demonstrate how "grown up" they are.
So, if we further elaborate a recommendation, here are three points:
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