December 3, 2018
Regarding USA TODAY’s article “Fixes for the U.S. drinking problem are hard to sell”: Federal government data show that the country has made progress in reducing alcohol abuse.
Alcohol consumption among secondary school students is at its lowest level since 2007, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Underage drinking among high school students has decreased consistently since 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And alcohol-impaired driving as a percent of overall traffic fatalities is at the lowest percentage since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began reporting the alcohol data in 1982.
Many lifestyle choices carry potential risks and benefits, and the consumption of alcohol is no exception. Studies have found that excessive drinking might cause serious health problems.
And studies also have shown that moderate alcohol consumption could be partially associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, compared with never drinkers.
States seeking to continue progress on reducing alcohol abuse should strive for balance when it comes to alcohol policy. After all, it is the millions of moderate and responsible adult consumers who generate much-needed tax revenue and support hospitality jobs and businesses throughout every state and locality in the country.
The key is a focused approach aimed at the small minority of those who abuse alcohol.
One-size-fits-all policy prescriptions fail to address the problem of alcohol abuse.
Frank Coleman, Public Affairs and Communications for Distilled Spirits Council; Washington, D.C.