Want A Drink?

No one today is suggesting that heavy alcohol consumption is healthful. However, some are interpreting data (like that from France) as showing that "moderate" amounts of alcohol are healthy for the heart. Unfortunately, many of these advocates have totally ignored the harmful effects of even moderate alcohol use.

The World Health Organization has become a strong advocate of total abstinence from alcohol even in the current context of the "alcohol-for-your-heart" hype. Their thinking reflects the judgment of many scientists, physicians, and public health professionals who are well aware of the facts that I have documented in this chapter. The WHO today uses the phrase "the less you drink, the better." It is highly significant that this international body has taken the stance that even moderate amounts of alcohol consumption should be avoided. They insightfully made a number of critical observations that lead to their conclusion. Some of those insights are found in figure.

Even though the scientific community has the answers regarding the alcohol question, why do 56 percent of Americans still drink? One partial explanation could be that our moral institutions have let us down when it comes to their position on alcoholic beverages. Indeed, some church leaders claim that the Bible sanctions?and even encourages?the use of fermented wine. Thorough studies on all that the Bible has to say about alcohol have concluded that the Bible nowhere approves of drinking alcoholic beverages; conversely, it gives clear counsel to avoid their use. If you have an interest in the Biblical teachings concerning the use of alcohol and have not seen the evidence, you may want to read the results of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi´s research. This Italian theologian has authored a book entitled, Wine in the Bible: A Biblical Study on the Use of Alcoholic Beverages.

The devastating social aspects of alcohol use were forcefully demonstrated in the village of Barrow, Alaska. In 1994, they voted to ban the sale and use of alcohol. Many locals up to that time were not able to work because of drunkenness. A top police official said that before the ban "There was mayhem and tragedy everywhere." Rape, suicide, and drunk and disorderly conduct were rampant. Fetal alcohol syndrome rates had skyrocketed. However, abrupt changes took place almost immediately after the ban went into effect, as described:
- The 3,900 people in Barrow, Alaska voted to ban the sale and use of alcohol in 1994.
- Alcohol-related crime and accidents plunged. Crime fell 70 percent during a one year of prohibition.
- Regardling acute health problems: Emergency room alcohol-related visits dropped from 118 per month to 23 per month in the first 30 days of prohibition.

A Native American health care worker from the local Inupiat tribe called the ban "the beginning of the salvation of our people." An Inupiat leader echoed similar sentiments when he said, "For our people, alcohol means only bondage." With a 70 percent drop in crime, Barrow became more peaceful than it had been in decades.

The Barrow story on one hand demonstrates the power of alcohol to ruin lives. On the other hand, it epitomizes the benefits of societal decisions to break free from alcohol´s grasp. The tranquillity that followed the ban should not come as a surprise. We are all well aware of the moral and societal costs of alcohol.

For more informations see:
- Proof Positive by Neil Nedley


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