How Alcohol Would Appear in the Press, if Devised Today
Vancouver, May 2015
Government announced a reform today to allow citizens to purchase and consume ethanol based liquids, so called “alcohol”. Alcohol (also known as “suds”, “hootch” or “booze”) has had its share of opponents over the years, and proves to be a contentious intoxicant. Opponents are citing the detrimental effects the substance has on both the health of the consumer as well as increased threats to public health. Their concerns span the following:
Alcohol is an Addictive Substance and a Gateway Drug
Studies have shown that this substance has the potential for addiction. Pundits are predicting an emergence of so-called “binge-drinking” - heavy consumption within short periods of time. While all cities are expected to be affected, experts are most concerned on the effect to communities with strong social ties, namely college campuses. There is no consensus as to what long term effect this will have on the student population. Early indications also point to alcohol being a gateway to more dangerous drugs. Social programs will be needed to offset the social risks this creates.
A Complete Disregard for Public Health
The College of Physicians and Surgeons have released a negative stance on the substance and caution the public regarding consumption. Studies report that during periods of increased public consumption, notably weekends and holiday periods, hospitals may see a spike in minor injuries and an increased demand for emergency contraception. Long term studies have linked the substance to health complications including cardiovascular disease and liver disease. Issues of warning have also included the dangers of alcohol poisoning, (overdose) which has been predicted to take a large number of lives yearly.
A Step Backwards for Public Safety
Adding to the documented self-inflicted health risks, local police have issued warnings for areas with high concentrations of alcohol sales. Police have taken measures to double the number of officers on duty in the affected areas, particularly during periods of increased ‘booze’ consumption. Specialized chambers have been constructed both in police stations and on mobile units, dubbed “drunk tanks”, to combat this new public threat. Initial reports show that violence and disorderly conduct have increased following the legalization. The influence of this substance has lead to countless overnight jailings.
Adding to the danger is alcohol's effects on motor skills and coordination. While under the influence, subjects are in no way safe to operate a motor vehicle. Police will be setting up roadside checks for impairment and introducing significant punishment for offenders. Driving under the influence appears to be the largest danger of the legalization, but the level of impact is unclear. The costs for police and extra infrastructure, however, will be substantial.
To mitigate risk, most governments are imposing a minimum age to possess and consume. Officials are warning travelers to check their possessions before crossing country borders carrying any alcohol. If found to be carrying, they will be allowed to keep only a small amount.
The Substance Shows no Health Benefits, Medical or Otherwise - It is Strictly Recreational and Produces Harm
Alcohol has been shown to have no evidence of improving health, either in anecdotal evidence or controlled studies. Zero positive health effects have been suggested by anyone. First reports of drinkers mention sickness developing, sometimes accompanied by headache and/or nausea, 8-10 hours after ingestion. Alcohol has its share of supporters appearing un-phased by a post-state of toxic shock.
What Comes Next?
Proponents of alcohol cite the potential for a new great industry to develop, as they believe it will result in a stimulation to the national economy. Many believe new businesses will create establishments for the purpose of consuming, and a future step may be to include these sales at restaurants. However, with the laundry list of ill-effects and dangers to the public, it’s unclear if legalization will cause a downturn in the economy and culture, perhaps resulting in years of carnage and lost progress.
This fictional article was inspired by the headlines made by reps. Chris Pearson and Jean O’Sullivan, who have filed satirical legislation to ban the sale of alcohol in Vermont. Sometimes shifting perspective for a moment can shed new light on medical cannabis.