The units on this map made me do a double-take, and wonder if this wasn't something about motor fuels.
A pint of beer contains a little more than a tablespoon of ethanol, and I suppose it adds up, but two gallons per year? Heavy consumers must be pushing up the average, as only 56% of Americans aged 18 or over reported consuming during the previous month, 70% during the previous year. Internationally, "almost half of all men and two thirds of all women worldwide have abstained from drinking alcohol in the past 12 months." PDF
Dr. Dawson is perhaps not addressing abstainers, and his grandiose title might well be continued "...if you are the sort of person likely to end up in my office seeking treatment," though he does point out that "none of the people with addictions who I talk to ever started out believing that one day they would end up with an alcohol or drug use problem."
He offers ten mediocre pro-alcohol arguments answered by ten mediocre counterarguments. None of them are especially convincing, but I've never been able to come up with a conclusive argument to justify the half-gallon or so of brain-function-inhibitor I estimate I consume in a year. There are plenty of sites that present the wide array of social and policy costs, mostly are caused by "problem drinkers," not me. (I am also among the 80% of drivers who rate themselves in the top 30% for safety.)
This sentence left me a little confused:
- My blog is one of the few places where you can see a graphic of how things went during prohibition and it obviously wasn't good.
The usual story is that prohibition was a disaster because bootleggers did more harm than the alcohol, and didn't even pay taxes. The chart seems to suggest that there was a decline in alcohol-related bad consequences early in Prohibition (1920 to 1933) but the benefits didn't last, or something.
While denying the "prohibitionist" slur, Dawson supports legal restrictions on potentially harmful substances. This was also the case with his earlier piece on opiates:
Curiously, he cited an addiction rate of about 1% while opiates were relatively unregulated:
- By 1920 there was one estimate that there were a million opiate addicts in the United States. The population at the time was about 107 million people.
No doubt people will continue putting things in their bodies and doctors will continue to disapprove, and it will never be cool to point out that "you can go through life without ever taking a drink."