I’m with the Mormons on this one — how about you?

by on August 12, 2017 at 12:44 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

One in eight American adults are alcoholics.  Here are some more details:

The article by Grant et al describes substantial increases in alcohol use and related problematic behaviors that occurred between the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions evaluations in 2001-2002 and in 2012-2013. The validity of the results is underscored by the impressive methodology, which at each time applied virtually identical well-validated face-to-face interviews and analytic approaches to about 40 000 nationally representative participants 18 years and older. The concept of high-risk drinking demanded 5 drinks per occasion for men (4 for women) at least weekly, with a standard drink defined as 14 g of ethanol, and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) were defined by the DSM-IV.

The results documented substantial increases in the prevalence of past 12-month drinking, high-risk drinking, and AUDs. The largest increase related to the rate of the most serious problems, AUDs overall, which shot up by 49.4%, from 8.5% in 2001/2002 to 12.7% about a decade later. These figures are limited to the past 12-month, or current, diagnoses and do not include individuals who are in potentially temporary remissions. Respondents with lifetime but not current AUDs are also likely to carry future health care costs through enhanced vulnerabilities for cancers, cardiac disease, and other serious disorders associated with histories of heavy drinking.

The overall changes in prevalence over the decade were even greater for several population subgroups including women (an 83.7% increase in AUDs over the 11 years), African American individuals (a 92.8% increase in AUDs), individuals aged 45 years to 64 years and 65 years and older (with 81.5% and 106.7% increases in AUDs, respectively), those with only high school educations (a 57.8% increase in AUDs), and individuals with incomes less than $20 000 (a 65.9% increase in AUDs). During that same period, high-risk drinking, described using the previously mentioned criteria, increased from 9.7% to 12.6% (a change of 29.9%), with similar subgroups as reported for AUDs demonstrating the greatest increases. The proportion of drinkers increased from 65.4% to 72.7% (an enhancement of 11.2%). Similar results have been reported in other national surveys, indicating that the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions findings are not anomalies.

As noted by the authors, in 2010, the cost to society for alcohol-related problems was estimated at $250 billion per year.

That is from JAMA, hat tip goes to Anecdotal.  Is limiting alcohol use one of your main issues?  If not, why not?  And what about causes?  Here is some media coverage:

There’s no single explanation for the increase. Researchers point to economic stress in the aftermath of the Great Recession; more easily available alcohol at restaurants and retailers; and the diminished impact of alcohol taxes. As a percentage of average income, than at any point since at least 1950.

Pervasive marketing by the alcohol industry and new products such as flavored vodkas or hard lemonade and iced tea may also be driving some of the increases among women and other demographics, says Jernigan.

Of course this also has implications for future health care costs, although whether higher yearly care costs will offset lower life expectancy I do not know.  In any case, it is unlikely to boost productivity.

1 John August 12, 2017 at 1:01 am
2 John August 12, 2017 at 1:05 am

Cool quote I read yesterday, “The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection.” Connection to others. Connection to yourself. I like that quote a lot.

3 GoneWithTheWind August 12, 2017 at 10:22 am

Alcoholism is a genetic illness. They don’t choose it and they cannot easily stop it. There are alcoholic Mormans too. It is a problem we cannot fix, sadly.

4 Pshrnk August 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

Regardless of genetics you will not become addicted if you never have a drink. Listen to the President on this one.

5 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

Which one? Bush would not agree, after all – in his case, he just might say enjoy your youth until you are 40, then quit. As he did.

6 JonFraz August 14, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Addicted to alcohol, no, but there are plenty of other addictions, including not chemical ones like gambling

7 Robert August 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

The sinclair method is quite successful and is based on science, unlike AA, which is neither successful or based on science

8 Harun August 12, 2017 at 1:02 am

I’m going to guess SSDI or workers comp now allows alcoholic abdication as a disability.

Writing this while imbibing

9 Rich Berger August 12, 2017 at 5:30 am

How come the title of this article wasn’t “I’m with Trump on this one”?

10 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 6:06 am

Because Trump generally does not trumpet he is a teetotaller (though like Jerry Falwell, he does not hide his reason for being personally opposed to drinking alcohol), whereas the Mormons are famous for their religious belief?

Or is it because Jimmy Carter, another teetotalling president, was decades ahead of Trump in this regard?

11 Jeff R August 12, 2017 at 10:53 am

I’m with the Scots.

12 JonFraz August 14, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Workers com probably not: you have to have circumstances that are due to your employment, and I’m pretty sure they’d laugh you the door if you told them “My boss had driven me to drink.” And Social Security Disability also does not allow claims based on addictions.

One thing that concerns me about this study: most of us think of (active) alcoholics are people who drink a lot daily and need to in order to function– they go into withdrawal if they don’t. The criteria here seems to be anyone who enjoys booze even one day of the week.

13 A.G.McDowell August 12, 2017 at 1:03 am

I do not drink, I am scared of alcohol, partly because I grew up in a culture (N.Ireland & Scotland) where those who drink at all may drink to excess, and partly because of a more recent story. My Father was persuaded to drink a glass of red wine most evenings after he had a heart attack. He never exceeded this dose, but he got mouth cancer, for which alcohol is a risk factor. The medics are quite clear that they cured this, and that the cancer that later killed him was entirely different, but in removing the cancer they had no choice but to cut nerves that controlled the side of his mouth. For years afterwards I would see people looking at what they thought was this senile old man slurring his speech and dribbling his food – just because of a few square centimeters of flesh that were now outside his control.

14 Moo cow August 12, 2017 at 1:13 am

I’ve noticed more drinking. We don’t drink but I notice when ppl do and it seems to be more aparent.

15 mark August 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Agreed. A few years ago it seemed weird when a movie theater served alcohol and now it seems weird when they don’t serve alcohol.

16 Artimus August 12, 2017 at 1:31 am

First, why should limiting alcohol be an issue for a person? The majority of people don’t have a problem with alcohol. (If I am comprehending your questions correctly). Second, I am not an expert on alcohol consumption in the U.S. but many sources point to less alcohol use in the U.S. than in the past.

https://vinepair.com/articles/americas-consumption-beer-wine-spirits-since/

Finally, according to at least one source the U.S. is a lowly 48th place in the world regarding alcohol use.

17 Artimus August 12, 2017 at 1:31 am
18 Crikey August 12, 2017 at 4:46 am

My impression is in the US there is a large number of abstainers, while in my country I was being given alcohol since before I can remember. Actually, the alcohol may be related to my difficulty with remembering.

19 Alan Gunn August 12, 2017 at 8:19 am

Exactly right: A lot of non-drinkers makes the per capita figure misleading.. A few years ago, I ran across some data on European drinking. Per capita, Ireland was right in the middle. So you might get the impression that the Irish reputation for serious drinking was wrong. But Ireland has a very large number of people who don’t drink at all. What really counts is the per capita drinking rate among people who drink.

I developed my own drinking habits (today much moderated) mostly in Northern Ireland, a long time ago. I remember a headline in a Belfast newspaper saying “Price of drink to rise.” In very large print.

20 Anonymous August 12, 2017 at 10:23 am

Not to mention that all-cause mortality is lower in people who drink 6+ drinks per day than it is in teetotalers!!!

21 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

Have a link for that? – though the 1-2 beers/glasses of wine studies seem fairly well founded in the main.

22 Anonymous August 12, 2017 at 11:40 am

I sure do: http://jamanetwork.com/data/Journals/INTEMED/20250/ira60012f2.png

From meta analysis Di Castelnuovo et al. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(22):2437-2445

23 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Do you have a link to the text that explains how teetotallers are defined?

For example, this puts that assertion into some context – ‘I have worked with collaborators at the University of Colorado to understand the factors that explain the elevated risk of premature death among nondrinkers relative to their peers who drink in moderation. In particular, we use the stated reasons that people report for nondrinking to better understand why they have higher rates of premature death than their peers who drink in moderation.

We find that nondrinkers are a diverse group. Some nondrinkers avoid drinking because they have had problems with drinking or because they fear they would have problems if they started drinking. Other nondrinkers quit drinking because of health problems. Nondrinkers who have concerns about controlling their drinking or that drinking is damaging to their health may experience elevated risks of death compared to moderate drinkers, but might reap few health benefits if they were to return to drinking.’ http://www.rwjf.org/en/culture-of-health/2013/08/alcohol_and_lifeexp.html

In other words, the non-drinking group may also include those who were previously heavy drinkers.

It is an interesting point, but President Bush, who quit drinking heavily at the age of 40 to become a non-drinker, is not really all that comparable to President Trump, who apparently has never drank any alcohol, as each have a considerably different pattern of non-alcohol use, and considering their present non-use of alcohol as meaning they are fully comparable ignores their very different histories of past alcohol use.

24 Floccina August 16, 2017 at 3:26 pm

To ad to prior_test3’s comments one reason for not drinking is bad health or a bad stomach.

25 Pshrnk August 12, 2017 at 10:42 am

Bulloney

26 CD August 12, 2017 at 12:30 pm

(1) You have the number of drinks wrong — the study you cite claims “Low levels of alcohol intake (1-2 drinks per day for women and 2-4 drinks per day for men) are inversely associated with total mortality in both men and women.”
(2) This kind of study has come under heavy criticism re methodology. See references 6-10 in https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm. As methods get more careful, the alleged benefits evaporate.

I’m in the 1-2 drinks range myself, but I know it’s a vice. Always be skeptical when people tell you what you want to hear.

27 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

In all fairness, it was not being pointed out that the longest lifespans are enjoyed by moderate drinkers, but that heavy drinkers as a group live longer than teetotallers as a a group.

28 Hanging Chad August 12, 2017 at 6:53 pm

Did you mean to say 6+ drinks per week?

29 Ray Lopez August 12, 2017 at 1:32 am

Didn’t we have this conversation before with Carrie Nation? Conversations with Tyler: Carrie Nation, Google it.

30 clayton August 12, 2017 at 8:53 am

yeah, and righteous Christians + Progressives solved the problem with national Prohibition

national War on Drugs has same great success

there’s nothing new under the sun, only “experts” who don’t know history

31 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 1:51 am

So, MADD reached its peak, and has declined since? Big deal – compare the drinking rates of the era of the three martini lunch and 18 years buying able to buy alcohol (in West Virginia, 18 year olds could buy whisky, for example) with today, then let us know how concerned anyone should be.

Besides, are you pleased with the following issue, and if not, why not? – ‘Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.1

In 2015, about 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (15.1%) currently smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.2 More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.2

Current smoking has declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to about 15 of every 100 adults (15.1%) in 2015.’ https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm

And something like 60% of the Mormons voted for Trump – are you with them on that one? Isn’t having them vote for a more competent president in the future one of your main issues? If not, why not?

See, anybody can play the whataboutism game – it just requires assuming that people are not able to look at the complexity that exists in the world around them, and make their own choices. Besides, the last time this issue was apparently raised here – http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2015/11/death-rates-are-rising-for-white-middle-class-americans.html (admittedly, just a quick google search – loyal readers may remember more posts about the issue in that time frame) – not a mention of increased alcohol use. Like from this source – ‘Rates of binge drinking spiked by 17.5 percent among women between 2005 and 2012 but went up just 4.9 percent among men, the analysis showed.

The statistics jibe with what federal health officials are seeing.

“It confirms what we been seeing in a whole other group of metrics,” says Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“We have seen an increase in the same time period of hospitalizatons due to alcohol and emergency room visits due to alcohol,” Koob told NBC News.’ http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/americans-are-drinking-more-lot-more-n347126 A Washington Post article entitled ‘Americans are drinking themselves to death at record rates’ came out a month after that MR post, yet oddly seems not to have been of any interest as an issue then. Why not?

See, it is really easy to play that game, as long as one has no problem showing a certain type of intellectual bankruptcy in public.

32 Floccina August 17, 2017 at 9:45 am

Cigarettes while destructive to your only health have very little effect on others and may possibly increase users productivity but Tyler may be against smoking too.

33 Careless August 12, 2017 at 2:04 am

So getting moderately buzzed once a week=alcoholic? Well, fuck

34 David H August 12, 2017 at 5:56 am

My reaction as well. The metric is dumb. The life I aspire to lead has me drinking at least this much with friends. Right now my alcohol consumption is well below this benchmark, and I see it as a real quality of life problem. Having moved from NY to DC in the last year, my social life is less rich than I would like, and it makes me sad to have become one of those people who fondly look back on my grad school days, when about half of all the important learning I did was over beers with smart people.

35 Ricardo August 12, 2017 at 8:16 am

This excerpt is not clear on this point but the underlying blog article makes clear there is a distinction between “high-risk drinking” and “alcohol use disorder.” One may quibble with how they define the latter but it takes a lot more than just having five drinks once a week to qualify.

36 Tom Murin August 12, 2017 at 2:42 am

Will the next health crisis be Distracted Drinking?

37 JDF August 12, 2017 at 3:22 am

I used to have alcohol once a week, usually 6-8 drinks on Saturday night as part of “socializing,” until a year ago when I quit all drinking (partially as an experiment). One thing that struck me was how one night of weekend drinking allowed a certain emotional blindness during the week. For me, getting drunk or “buzzed” allows a certain temporary emotional release. I think I implicitly anticipated that during the week. Unpleasant feelings could be ignored, knowing they would be relieved later, but the effect was they were never dealt with and I remained somewhat ignorant of them.

38 thfmr August 12, 2017 at 11:28 pm

The result being you’re happy to feel miserable?

39 Larry Siegel August 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm

That’s half a bottle of alcohol. Did you consider 2-3 drinks?

40 Michael Tinkler August 12, 2017 at 4:10 am

One of the blowbacks of 2008 was the end of wine at faculty meetings here. There was a suggestion that this would also make decision making better. I asked then and still do now that everyone taking psychoactive drugs recuse themselves from voting. Really now. Who are you, on Cnoloapin, to dictate to me, on Pinot Noir.

41 ChrisA August 12, 2017 at 4:14 am

The headline (1 in 8 Americans are alcoholics) is not correct (not surprising for the WaPo and its click bait tradition). The 1 in 8 includes people dependent on alcohol and also people who abuse alcohol (not the same thing as alcoholics). Reading the criteria as to how they classify alcohol abuse, I am surprised it isn’t higher, one of the criteria for inclusion is; “arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication”. Other criteria sound more like our old friend low time preference, where alcohol is an enabler not the cause, like driving while drunk.

Alcohol use, like any drug, has consequences if not used in the right way. But fortunately due to the long time that western Europeans have been using alcohol, usually most such people are able to handle it. Some races didn’t have this historical use however and have not built up this capability, so those are the ones that need to be cautious about using the drug.

42 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 4:42 am

‘The headline (1 in 8 Americans are alcoholics) is not correct’

Maybe, but the very first line under the headline does provide definitions – ‘A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this month finds that the rate of alcohol use disorder, or what’s colloquially known as “alcoholism,” rose by a shocking 49 percent in the first decade of the 2000s. One in eight American adults, or 12.7 percent of the U.S. population, now meets diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, according to the study.’

Of course, you do not have to accept those definitions, but they are provided, in detail, starting in the section called ‘How did the study’s authors judge who counts as “an alcoholic”’

Not quite the same thing as click bait, to be honest. And the alcohol dependence criteria do include things like this –

– Need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.

– The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol; or drinking (or using a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

– A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain, to use, or to recover from the effects of drinking.

– Continued drinking despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to be caused or exacerbated by drinking.

Indications of alcohol use that many AA members would likely agree with as being signs of alcoholism (just a guess – never had anything to with AA, but the common public portrayals certainly depict AA members talking about not stopping drinking when it was making things worse, or the time spent in dealing with the effects of alcohol, and most particularly, the need to drink to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.)

43 McMike August 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

I know lots of people who fit this criteria in their relationship with refined sugar, and caffeine

44 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 10:32 am

Seriously? Caffeine may cause a headache when withdrawn, that is true, but refined sugar?

And do you really think people who are regular users of caffeine fit this – ‘A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain, to use, or to recover from the effects of drinking.’? Because for refined sugar, that is simply absurd.

45 McMike August 12, 2017 at 11:43 am

At least half-seriously anyway.

Refined sugar is addictive. It is certainly abused. We’ve oriented huge swaths of our agriculture and economic policy around producing it. And it’s overuse is a major public health issue. Perhaps worse than alcohol, or on par anyway.

(I am assuming here that you accept the link between sugar and obesity and diabetes, and also with lesser health and wellness effects).

And people in fact orient portions of their lives around obtaining it, driving to the convenience store at midnight for an emergency pint of ice cream, and then lying on the couch hating themselves afterwards. Sugar can be craved by people very much like alcohol, and they develop habits around using it to survive boring meetings, and to reward their children, despite the fact that it turns the adults into zombies and the children into cartoon Tasmanian devils.

Sugar is so deeply ingrained into people’s diets for the long term that they’re not aware of the effects, or their addiction. There is in fact a sugar hangover, at least for people like myself who are more sensitive, and so only delve in vary rarely to a particularly irresistible desert.

Caffeine also, if less so. Caffeine addiction is so strong that anesthesiologists have been forced to modify their draconian pre-op prohibitions in order to allow addicts their usual morning fix before being administered general. Caffeine, along with nicotine, is famously the drug of choice for recovering alcohol/drug addicts, since it is a less-harmful/more socially acceptable avenue to divert the craving and need to abuse something.

My point, in any case, was actually that the definition used for the study was pretty low. So low that other food substances and daily activities could arguably qualify.

46 McMike August 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm

and FWIW, in the spirit of the OP, the Mormons also prohibit coffee.

47 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 1:28 pm

‘I am assuming here that you accept the link between sugar and obesity and diabetes’

Somewhat, though more in the case of diabetes. I tend to be a believer in the idea that total number of calories matter, and that eating a karge bag of potato chips everyday while remaining sedentary and eating the same diet apart from avoiding sugar is a way to avoid obesity. However, the empty calorie aspect of soft drinks is not to be ignored. To put it differently, I think obesity is mainly related to an abundance of inexpensive high calorie food options, and not merely an abundance of refined sugar.

And that ice cream example, while it certainly includes sugar, has a lot of fat too. And according to this link – http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-ice-cream-vanilla-ice-cream_f-ZmlkPTEwNDk5Mw.html – more than half the calories come from fat.

48 McMike August 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm

There is no doubt that calories – exercise = weight change.

Within that though, how those calories are delivered (and therefore metabolized) matters. As does the addictive nature of sugar, which tends to self-reinforce the overconsumption.

As for chips, I’d be happy to add also-addictive simple carbohydrates bathed in saturated fat and salt to the list of abused substances, if you wish.

49 aMichael August 13, 2017 at 10:22 am

Sure, but how many acts of violence are sugar or caffeine related? Know one seems to be calling for sugar Breathalyzer tests to prevent sugar high driving and the associated car wrecks.

50 Catman August 12, 2017 at 10:27 am

“Need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.”

This happens very, very rapidly- for me at least. A few consecutive days of significant drinking will increase the threshold by 300% at least.

51 Agammamon August 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

Except it doesn’t provide a definition.

It states that 1-in-8 adults meet the criteria for ‘alcohol use disorder’ – and then fails to define that.

And that suspiciously sounds like how the NHTSA and MADD inflate drunk driving numbers – Alcohol Related Incidents are incidents where alcohol is simply *present* at the scene of an accident or is *suspected* to have been a factor. These are then presented as *alcohol-caused* incidents.

52 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm

The article most certainly provides definitions – which you are free to disagree with, of course.

53 BC August 12, 2017 at 4:37 am

“Is limiting alcohol use one of your main issues? If not, why not?”

Limiting use by increasing voluntary, responsible behavior? Yes. Limiting use by imposing criminal penalties on either users or sellers? Not so much. The main reason is that anyone can choose to avoid the problems associated with one’s own alcohol use if they want to. Limiting external damage to others caused by alcohol users, e.g., drunk driving, is an important issue appropriately addressed through criminal penalties.

Still, it is moderately concerning that over a decade non-AUD declined by 1 – (1-0.127)/(1-0.085) = 5%. It’s also concerning that people continue to report numbers like this as AUDs “shot up by 49.4%”. The neutral way to report changes in percentages is either that AUD increased from 8.5% to 12.7% or that AUD increased by 4.2 percentage points. The base is the 100% of the population that can either have or not have an AUD.

54 dearieme August 12, 2017 at 4:54 am

“well-validated face-to-face interviews”: so the headline should be that more Americans claim to be boozers.

“The concept of high-risk drinking demanded 5 drinks per occasion for men (4 for women) at least weekly”: oh balls. In my day that would have been called being a rugby player, or being a student, or going to a party. I used to be a party-going rugby-playing student who enjoyed beer, and there was never a sign that I had a drinking problem or was at the least risk of becoming an alkie. Still, maybe there’s a good career to be had in misrepresenting health problems.

55 Judah Benjamin Hur August 12, 2017 at 4:56 am

I’m with Mormons on most things except their theological beliefs (though they have my permission to pray for my soul or do whatever they used to do for Jews after we die, I’ll take all the help I can get.) I like a little beer (actually, LOVE a little beer), but I could be persuaded to support another try at prohibition. The cost of the 1/8 that can’t control themselves is vastly worse than whatever the benefits for the rest of us. Perhaps a 200% or so tax might help as well.

I remember how the pot legalizers promised a safer alternative. Now more people are drunk and stoned. Large steps to a considerably worse world.

Can’t wait for self-driving cars.

56 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 5:18 am

‘The cost of the 1/8 that can’t control themselves is vastly worse than whatever the benefits for the rest of us.’

Well, then one can be confident you are currently really concerned about tobacco use as an issue – though if not, why not?

Tobacco is considerably more destructive than alcohol in health terms – ‘In 2015, about 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (15.1%) currently smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.’ https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm

57 Judah Benjamin Hur August 13, 2017 at 5:15 am

I’d ban tobacco tomorrow if I could, but have the government subsidize nicotine gum and lozenges (which is harmful, but much considerably less dangerous than tobacco use, particularly smoking). Alcohol is very dangerous to innocent parties (drunk driving and violence) so it’s more a more understandable concern. However, the issue of tobacco is not relevant to this discussion.

58 Artimus August 12, 2017 at 6:14 am

You could be persuaded to support another try at prohibition? O.K…….. From what I remember the first try was a complete disaster. Unless you like organized crime, complete disrespect for the law, and the negative health effects of unregulated moonshine.

59 Artimus August 12, 2017 at 6:15 am

Thats for Judah Hur

60 Judah Benjamin Hur August 13, 2017 at 5:33 am

Alcohol would be very difficult to prohibit since it’s such a major part of most human cultures (one of the reasons I’m against legalizing pot is that I don’t want another harmful drug to become mainstream). It would have to be a very long-term project. For now, I’d focus on higher taxes and restricting advertising. The problem is that a significant percentage of people are incapable of drinking responsibly.

61 MTC August 12, 2017 at 7:01 am

“Now more people are drunk and stoned.”

Care to provide any evidence for this?

Still seems like a safer alternative to endless drug war in any event.

62 Agammamon August 12, 2017 at 11:12 am

So, you’ve *seen* the damage that prohibition has done over the last 40 years and you want to *expand* that?

You’re kind of a monster.

63 JonFraz August 14, 2017 at 4:16 pm

Prohibition led to widespread lawlessness, corruption and violence– the same thing we see with the drug trade today. No, that cost is very much not worth it– especially since the people who quit drinking under Prohibition tended to be that moderate and temperate drinkers, while the alcoholics and problem drinkers went right on boozing.

64 Rich Berger August 12, 2017 at 5:28 am

Everyone had his own way of enduring the Obama administration. If you don’t like Trump, have a drink and don’t bother me.

65 Art Deco August 12, 2017 at 6:03 am

I assume this is some sort of bank shot to promote drug legalization.

66 prior_test3 August 12, 2017 at 6:07 am

Alcohol is already legal drug – do please try to keep up.

67 rayward August 12, 2017 at 6:30 am

What are the causes of increased alcoholism? From the linked article: ‘“I think the increases are due to stress and despair and the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism,” said the study’s lead author, Bridget Grant, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. The study notes that the increases in alcohol use disorder were “much greater among minorities than among white individuals,” likely reflecting widening social inequalities after the 2008 recession.” The linked article identifies older age groups as having experienced the largest increase in alcoholism, the same age groups that have experienced the greatest job losses. Of perhaps much greater concern is the use, or misuse, of alcohol by young people, including those being left behind (dropouts, etc.) as well as those who are ahead in school (and compete at a high level against similarly situated young people in school and in the job market), each with its own type of stress. The stakes are high for young people today, with enormous competition for the high-paying coastal jobs, and with the consequences of failure so stark. I see today’s alcohol-related health problems the tip of the iceberg, as the health problems ahead for today’s millennials will dwarf the health problems of today’s aging Americans.

68 Tim Worstall August 12, 2017 at 6:33 am

“although whether higher yearly care costs will offset lower life expectancy I do not know”

We do actually know. Booze, tobacco and obesity all save health care systems money. The earlier deaths more than offset ongoing annual medical costs.

That’s even before we get to pensions costs…..

IEA just did a series of three pieces detailing the arguments, this is one of them.

https://iea.org.uk/media/smoking-does-not-cost-the-uk-taxpayer-money/

69 A.G.McDowell August 12, 2017 at 7:03 am

Neither the article your link leads to nor the telegraph article it references appear to include the loss of productive work due to ill-health, early retirement, or death before pensionable age.

70 Agammamon August 12, 2017 at 11:06 am

Those are personal losses – not societal ones.

71 Jon August 13, 2017 at 7:47 am

Only if one doesn’t give a care about anything but their own pleasure.

72 matt August 12, 2017 at 6:34 am

There’s a big discussion of the cost, but not of the benefits. If increased consumption is due to lower taxes passed on as lower costs, then there is presumably a big consumer surplus somewhere out there. If people are making a choice to have 5 drinks a day, that must be what’s best for them. Unless you’re willing to abandon a libertarian, rational choice model whenever it conflicts with your personal views.

73 Ethan Bernard August 13, 2017 at 12:36 am

I hope that was written satirically. If so, it’s perfect.

74 MTC August 12, 2017 at 7:37 am

Why is it always “we should be more like Mormons” on the anti-drinking stuff? What about Muslims? No doubt any mention of Islam will bring out a certain element in the comments section, but still.

75 Thiago Ribeiro August 12, 2017 at 7:52 am

The Mormons are (somewhat) Christian, so their ideas are on a better position to influence Western society. Also, Mormons are not waging holy war against the West. Americans did not fund Mormon terrorists to send Afghanistan back to the Dark Ages. Mormons don’t waste everyone time spending 70 years trying to crush a country with fewer habitants than the average Brazilian state and not letting it go.

76 Thiago Ribeiro August 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

Alcohol must be banned, with legal exceptions for religious and cultural use. Alcohol destroys the body, the mibd and the character of the drinker.

77 Artimus August 12, 2017 at 8:08 am

Serious Thiago? Is that all you got? If you’re gonna Troll at least put in a good effort.

78 Thiago Ribeiro August 12, 2017 at 8:31 am

I am not trolling, no one from my family has touched a drop of alcohol in the last four generations. It is called character.

79 Artimus August 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

So I guess I must ask the obvious. Because you don’t drink alcohol it should be banned? Also, I apologize for calling you a troll, I should have called you a sanctimonious twot.

80 Thiago Ribeiro August 12, 2017 at 9:44 am

“Because you don’t drink alcohol it should be banned?”
Because alcohol should be banned, I don’t drink it. I am not sanctimonious, I just want what it is best for society, and alcohol is, objectively speaking, one of the greates evils of our age.

81 JonFraz August 14, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Nanny Thiago has revealed his true colors.

While we’re at it maybe we should van everything that might ,maybe can be hurtful if ill-used. Then we’d all due of terminal boredom.

82 Agammamon August 12, 2017 at 11:05 am

If alcohol destroys the mind, body, and character – then why the exemptions for religious and cultural use? Shouldn’t they be banned also? Hell, shouldn’t a religion that doesn’t forbid the use of a substance that destroys the mind, body, *and* character be banned for ‘the sake of society’?

And ‘cultural use’? That’s a mighty big loophole there. Because the current use of alcohol by Americans *is*, by definition, ‘cultural use’.

83 Thiago Ribeiro August 12, 2017 at 11:46 am

“Because the current use of alcohol by Americans *is*, by definition, ‘cultural use’.”
I am talking about non-assimilated minorities. Brazilian indians have rites involving fermented corn and cassava – cauim. I see no reason to disturb them. I think Asians also have traditions involving alcohol. I see no reason to go around jailing innocent people because we don’t like their traditions.Brazil is a free and welcoming country. We have no enemies.

“Hell, shouldn’t a religion that doesn’t forbid the use of a substance that destroys the mind, body, *and* character be banned for ‘the sake of society’?”

Brazil has a secular, democratic, inclusive government, it is not its business to persecute religions. Let them, within reason, celebrate their rites. Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred churches proselytize, I say.

Aside the principles matter, there is the practical issues. In Brazil, at least, the Catholic Church is supposed to become a minority church in the next few years. I see no reason to ruffle its feathers. People are not getting drunk at masses.

84 anonymous coward August 12, 2017 at 7:55 am

Do immigrants who drink more alcohol assimilate faster? (Taking the view of alcohol consumption as a social lubricant. Also of course, ideally, controlling for various variables such as social economic background and so on. A more broad phrasing and so perhaps here more likely to have an answer – Are immigrants who are introverted and so are less likely to ‘network’ and make new social connections more likely to return to their original countries?)

85 Axa August 12, 2017 at 8:34 am

US laws and culture are already against alcohol. Drink until 21, asked for an ID until I was 32, being regarded as spoilt if you drink more than 2 beers at lunchtime, I lived in a dry county, alcohol-free restaurants and amusement parks……what else? Alcohol only for tourists?

86 Evans_KY August 12, 2017 at 9:11 am

Some counties in Kentucky were dry until a few years ago and other counties are still dry. This impacts access. I would expect to see a rise in abuse when something previously taboo becomes mainstream. The liberalization of society has both positive and negative effects. Guns, alcohol, marijuana, opioids, sugar, and fat. Each has its own lethal dose. Car accidents and air pollution are just as deadly. So, how do we balance individual choice with the public good? Who makes those decisions? Slippery slope ahead.

87 mkt42 August 12, 2017 at 9:30 am

Despite the reports of increased alcohol and opiate use, Monitoring the Future (an annual national survey of college students and adolescents run by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan) has been finding decreases. Is substance abuse only increasing among older adults? Or is Monitoring the Future giving us erroneous results?

http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/
http://www.monitoringthefuture.org//pubs/monographs/mtf-vol2_2016.pdf

88 JMCSF August 12, 2017 at 9:43 am

Obviously alcohol abuse, alcoholism, along with the culture of binge drinking is bad for individuals and society as a whole. Some people cannot responsibly drink.

But as a former Mormon, I don’t find anything wrong with enjoying a glass of good wine with dinner. And to be honest, knowing how much Tyler enjoys good food, I am surprised he doesn’t enjoy a glass of fine wine occasionally too (my guess is that he would have a refined palette to appreciate good wine).

The ironic thing is that many Mormons, who are proud to not drink for both health and spiritual reasons, have such poor diets overall. My own father had a minor stroke in his 50s and was shocked because he didn’t smoke or drink.

My response was, “yes, but you don’t exercise or eat healthy at all so you shouldn’t be.”

89 aMichael August 13, 2017 at 10:25 am

I agree on poor diets among many Mormons, though I’m not sure it’s that much different than the average American of their generation. As much as obesity is a problem, I’ll take that and high sugar consumption over alcohol related violence and accidents.

90 gab August 13, 2017 at 5:47 pm

I thought the drug of choice for Mormons was sugar? Or what my doctor calls “the acceptable recreational drug.”

91 Vd August 14, 2017 at 8:15 am

Anecdotes and projections from anecdotes don’t trump data. There are several large studies demonstrating that overall Mormons are far healthier than the average American; less diabetes, longer lifespans, less morbidity, etc.

92 King Cynic August 12, 2017 at 10:48 am

So much for Tyler’s commitments to libertarianism.

93 aMichael August 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm

Suggesting that society should develop a positive social norm as the Mormons have isn’t anti libertarian. Suggesting the creation of laws to create that norm, on the other hand…. But I always pegged Tyler as a squishy libertarian, which is fine. I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a hard core libertarian, just pro market and small government in general.

94 CD August 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Supporting private efforts to build and maintain norms would seem a logically necessary component of libertarianism.

95 Agammamon August 12, 2017 at 11:01 am

12.5% then? And that’s using the *extreeeemely* inclusive definition of ‘alcoholic’ that the AMA uses?

Yeah, I don’t think its a real problem.

96 Jon August 13, 2017 at 7:50 am
97 belisarius August 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

“high-risk drinking demanded 5 drinks per occasion for men (4 for women) at least weekly”
This still doesn’t address one of the most important questions about drinking; over what time period do these 5 drinks occur. Whether it is all evening, all day or 1 hour makes quite a bit of difference.
I’ve known people who drank a case of beer just about every evening, worked their 50 hours a week, raised children, maintained a home an lived till their 80’s. They died with better liver enzymes, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers than many health care “professionals”

98 gab August 13, 2017 at 5:48 pm

I’ll bet they had healthy bladders.

99 B.B. August 14, 2017 at 10:36 am

I would want to see how the US compares with European, Latin American, and Asian countries in terms of alcoholic dependence and abuse.

Also, why focus on booze? What about dependence on tobacco and narcotics? What is the health bill there?

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