Is Alcoholism a disease?

Can MOdule88 get married

  • Yes, if Smeg and Dondrei can do it, anybody can

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Garbad_the_Weak

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
* But wait--what's considered pornographic?
* we should also consider banning religion.
* Thus, sports need to be banned as well to prevent massive groups
* Guns, in the hands of certain people, get others killed.
Ah, but there is a critical difference.

Each of these areas is constitutionally protected. You have a right to bear arms, freedom of religion, peacably assemble, freedom of expression, and the right to consensual adult sexual activity. Each has limits, but each is closely protected by the constitution because our society thinks those actions are important.

Furthermore, each of those activities has limits on it to prevent the activity from infriging on others. Alcohol consumption, on the other hand, is not protected and has no checks. I think this should be examined.

You can't ban something because a small percentage of society abuses it in a way that is detrimental to others.
Sure you can, it happens all the time. Its called the greater good. This is the distinction between protected rights and unprotected rights. Religion, speech, property, etc are all protected and cannot be taken away without a darn good reason. Alcohol use, like other unprotected liberties, is not. They can be infringed upon if society decides its important enough.

Although there is little risk of alcohol being banned anytime soon, I would at least consider it, and lean towards it if a good plan was created.

And you doubt the possibility that outlawing alcohol will just lead to more abuse?
I do.

If the penalty is severe enough, people will avoid doing it. Although a few people will inevitably break any law, the goal is the net effect. If fear of 15 years with Bubba prevents even 10% of potential alcoholics from taking the first drink, we are better off.

Examine the war on drugs. Although drug use has not been stamped out (mainly because they don't go after users), the program has had remarkable sucess in reducing drug use. And this time the government did a pretty fair job of stomping on the local organized crime. An ongoing effort, to be sure (where there is enough profit, someone desperate will take the risk) but the overall effect has reduced the amount of drugs in circulation and reduced drug related crime.

And perhaps equally as important, it changed public perception. Drug use is no longer cool or as acceptable as it was. Our society could benefit from a little of this. Far too many people drink because "thats what adults do."

Garbad
 
I don't have the time for a long response, Garbad, but I will be back in a few minutes to address what I think is you basically being blind to a few things here. No offense meant--I have a high level of respect for you.

By the way, speeding is not constitutionally protected, and nor is driving.

And if you think rolling cars and setting shops on fire to celebrate your local team winning a championship is constitutionally protected, I'm done debating with you on this issue until you take a course on the Bill of Rights and our Constitution. Mass destruction and rioting is NOT protected in any way shape or form. And since winning sports championship seems to cause this once in a while, I say if we ban alcohol, we should be banning sports along with it.

By the way, alcohol consumption in public certainly does have checks on it. In some states it is illegal to serve more than one drink at a time. In others it is illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly drunk. It was illegal to serve alcohol to anyone under 21, last time I checked anyway. And you can be arrested for being drunk and disorderly, which is the most common result of alcohol abuse.

But you're correct, there are no checks on the totally unregulated and rampant abuse of alcohol in this country. /sarcasm

I'm interested, by the way, to hear some of your examples of things that have been outlawed with positive benefits. And lets stay away from the drugs issue, because I think its a moot argument. I hate to break it to you, but if you think more people were killed over or because of drugs each year in the US before they were made illegal, you really have another thing coming. I find it hard to believe that when MDMA was legal, people using it were killing one another. I also would find it hard to believe now that competing ecstasy dealers or those being pursued by police have not killed countless people. If that's not causing a negative impact, I don't know what is. Moreover, I wonder how much it was being abused back when it was regulated and available by prescription only versus now that it is illegal.

The problem with making something taboo and illegal, Garbad, is that you create a stigma around it and people fail to educate themselves about it. Your logic that outlawing alcohol will have great benefits and we'll wake up the next day in a happy shiny place where everyone is sober and there are no alcohol related problems is about as realistic as saying that keeping teenagers in the dark about birth control and safe sex but encouraging them to abstain from sexual activity until marriage is an effective strategy. Kids will have sex, just like people will find a way to get a hold of alcohol. When people are informed about the detriments of both, they will hopefully make the decision to engage in the related activities with responsibility. If you keep them ignorant, those who do engage in them are almost guaranteed to cause harm to themselves or others in the process. In once case, you might see teenage sex rates drop, but those who do engage in sexual activity will be more likely to get pregnant and contract sexually transmitted diseases. In the case of alcohol, you may see general consumption drop, but you certainly will see those who do drink doing so in a far more dangerous and irresponsible manner and as a result engaging in violent crime, domestic violence, and other anti-social behavior.

Its a tradeoff, I suppose. Do you want to guarantee ignorance and ban everything that might be harmful if abused or misused, or would you rather educate people, and give them knowledge and freedom and hope that with a few checks in place you can help to minimize the number who suffer the negative impacts?
 

Ranger14

Diabloii.Net Member
Cloud_Walker said:
Yes.

__________________
Trying to get this back on track? ;) I thought the question was whether alcoholism is a disease. Not whether it should be illegal or not.

Alcoholism is defined as a chronic disease. Let's look again at who says it is a disease:

The American Medical Association
The American Psychiatric Association
The American Hospital Association
The American Public Health Association
The National Association of Social Workers
The American College of Physicians
The World Health Organization

Seems to be a pretty credible list to me. *shrugs shoulders*
 

Garbad_the_Weak

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Speeding is not constitutionally protected, and nor is driving.
Yes, which is why you can lose the privilege or if a state wanted to, ban driving alltogether. Just like alcohol could be.

And if you think setting shops on fire is constitutionally protected, I'm done debating with you on this issue until you take a course on the Bill of Rights and our Constitution.
FYI, I have had classes on both. I have some interest in constitutional law (as you can probably tell from the threads I am drawn too). I don't want to make this overly legalistic though. I get plenty of that in the workday.

The point was association cannot be prevented until something bad happens. Unlike alcoholism, which can be banned for any reason. The whole point of those examples was to show states can and do ban behavior altogether and the key issue is if it is protected (the whole slippery slope deal and checks and balances, etc).

Alcohol consumption in public certainly does have checks on it. In some states it is illegal to serve more than one drink at a time. In others it is illegal to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly drunk.
And yet we all know these are ineffective. People get around them all the time. You and I both know the tricks and have since we were 14.

Furthermore, even if there are some regulations, they do not address my primary concern - not social drinkers, but alcoholics. That's the issue here.

The problem with making something taboo and illegal, Garbad, is that you create a stigma around it and people fail to educate themselves about it.
Why does it follow if something is illegal, we cannot educate people about it? This is the secondary thrust of the war on drugs. And like I said, perhaps the most critical part.

I'm interested, by the way, to hear some of your examples of things that have been outlawed with positive benefits.
Child porn.
Theft.
Murder, etc

The list goes on and on. Many antisocial behaviors have been banned to the benefit of all. If you meant specific substances, its hard to discuss them without going into illegal drugs (which you said not to) or prohibition. I suppose we could talk about medicine, but thats not exactly relevant. Clarify for me what exactly you meant by this.

Garbad
 
Garbad_the_Weak said:
Yes, which is why you can lose the privilege or if a state wanted to, ban driving alltogether. Just like alcohol could be.
So we're banning driving altogether now? Can you see the problems with that? Banning driving because a few thousand people die every year from a few people being irresponsible about it. And by the way, you can't be banned from driving if you aren't caught doing anything wrong, and I can tell you that just like with alcohol, there are ways around this. Radar detectors, for example.

FYI, I have had classes on both. I have some interest in constitutional law (as you can probably tell from the threads I am drawn too). I don't want to make this overly legalistic though. I get plenty of that in the workday.
I wasn't implying you hadn't. I was trying to get you to respond to the fact that sporting events may lead people to engage in anti-social and violent behavior, so by your logic, we should ban sports along with alcohol. And by the way, I'm not saying that you really think that way, I'm point out the flaws with banning anything that might be shown to cause a small proportion of those who use it to engage in anti-social behavior.

The point was association cannot be prevented until something bad happens. Unlike alcoholism, which can be banned for any reason.
Not sure I follow. Please clarify for me, I might just be dense.

And yet we all know these are ineffective. People get around them all the time. You and I both know the tricks and have since we were 14.
For the record, I didn't touch a drop of alcohol until I was nearly 17 years old. And there are tricks to get around child porn laws, too, but having them in place does serve to deter people from breaking them--if a porn site posts child porn, they will be reported and shut down, and the site administrators will be prosecuted--we don't need to do away with porn altogether in order to deal with child pornography in the most effective manner we can find without completely crapping on the Constitution. Similarly, a bar found to be in violation of the relevant alcohol laws will be penalized and potentially lose its liquor license.

Furthermore, even if there are some regulations, they do not address my primary concern - not social drinkers, but alcoholics. That's the issue here.
Don't they, though? It seems that your concern with alcoholics is less with the fact that they are alcoholics and more with the fact that they are dangerous and often do things that are harmful to themselves and others. If we can regulate this behavior much as we can regulate child pornography, how is that not addressing your issue? If you're taking issue with alcoholism and not their behavior, then we're back at square one with obese people and McDonalds. Or how about people who chronically spend on their credit cards? Gamblers?

Why does it follow if something is illegal, we cannot educate people about it? This is the secondary thrust of the war on drugs. And like I said, perhaps the most critical part.
So why is it that every time we have a conversation in here about drugs (there have been a few), every young person who is opposed to them comes in spouting every urban myth in the book about them and their effects? I seem to recall someone very recently purporting that cocaine caused people to go out of control and commit acts of violence, and that cocaine was laced with gasoline. Neither are true, but both are commonly talked about during drug education. I should know, I was educated on drugs in the US public education system not 8 years ago. A few years after that I discovered from first hand experience that 80% of everything I was told was either complete BS or so exaggerated as to make me realize what a crock the propaganda was to begin with. You call that effective? Part of the reason that I experimented with so many drugs, Garbad, was that I was curious and wanted to know for myself, and since no one would tell me the truth about them, I found out on my own.

Child porn.
Theft.
Murder, etc
Principal difference in all three of these cases. In each, someone is inherently harmed. You cannot photograph a child newd or engaging in sexual acts without causing them some sort of psychological harm, and it often has far worse implications than just some mental issues. You can't steal from someone without violating their right to property ownership, and you can't murder someone without depriving them of their basic right to live.

You can, however, drink without hurting someone else in the process. Trust me, I'm about to do it. I'm going to have a glass of Riesling with my leftover seafood gumbo, and I can guarantee you no one's going to be hurt by that fact, anywhere.

The list goes on and on. Many antisocial behaviors have been banned to the benefit of all. If you meant specific substances, its hard to discuss them without going into illegal drugs (which you said not to) or prohibition. I suppose we could talk about medicine, but thats not exactly relevant. Clarify for me what exactly you meant by this.

Garbad
Well if we want to get into substances, we can, but it's going to open a whole new can of worms. And part of the reason I want to steer clear of drugs is that the misinformation campaign the government has waged against drugs has attached a stigma to drugs such that the moment someone hears the word, they immediately picture a deviant who murders, steals, vandalizes, and generally lacks any scrap of moral fiber. If we start wading into that way, I'm allowing you to make alcohol guilty by association, which I think its not. There are too many other sides to alcohol. I don't want to go so far as to call distillery an art, but honestly, it is. If you've never enjoyed a fine scotch, a really nice wine, or even had a well-brewed beer, you won't know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, you know exactly what I mean.
 

Garbad_the_Weak

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
So we're banning driving altogether now? Can you see the problems with that?
Ok, lets just ignore that whole line of thinking. It is probably too based in lawyerthink to apply here.

The basic point was there is no constitutional protection of alcoholism, so it can be totally banned for very little reason if congress wants to. Just like driving cars, chewing gum, or any other behavior not protected by the constitution and the supreme court's extensions. By contrast, constitutionally protected behavior, like free speech, the right to peacably assemble, etc cannot be banned without good reason.

Not a critical issue; it was a reponse to you saying we couldn't/shouldn't ban alcohol use because of the acts of a few. In short, congress can and did.

I should know, I was educated on drugs in the US public education system not 8 years ago.
I am sorry you recieved faulty education. One instance does not mean it must be that way though. You implied if something is banned, people will automatically be less informed. This does not have to be the case. It is possible for something to be illegal and still inform people about it.

DrunkCajun said:
Similarly, a bar found to be in violation of the relevant alcohol laws will be penalized and potentially lose its liquor license.
Yes, but again they don't address my primary concern -- the social and economic damage by excessive alcohol abuse.

I am not aware of a law that forbids the sale of alcohol to alcoholics or to people who are going to be violent that night, etc. We just can't write a law that specific or enforce it. Thats the law I want, but it can't be done. Because it can't be done, I see banning alcohol completely as better than nothing.

It seems that your concern with alcoholics is less with the fact that they are alcoholics and more with the fact that they are dangerous and often do things that are harmful to themselves and others.
Yes, as I have tried to say several times I don't care about social drinking. My point is:

1. Alcohol abuse is distinct from social drinking.
2. Social drinking has few major social problems. None severe enough for me to justify legislating, anyhow.
3. Alcohol abuse, however, is at least associated with, if not a cause of many violent crimes, DUI deaths, destroyed homes, subjective human misery, the cost of which is staggering.
4. A certain number of drinkers become abusers. We have little way to predict, prevent, or deter this group from becoming alcoholics. If we could, we could target only abuse and alleviate the problem. Particularly worrysome is the fact that once a person is an alcoholic, its very, very hard to stop it.
5. However, because we cannot isolate the few problem abusers we cannot directly attack the problem.
6. Because we cannot address the problem directly, I am willing to ban the greater enabler (alcohol use in general) to prevent the lesser included ill (alcohol abuse and the corresponding social harm).

Perhaps an analogy would be banning the sale of all apples because some apples were rotten and we couldn't tell the difference. But because eating a rotten apple was so bad, it was better to do away with all apples, including the good ones, to avoid the bad.

Make sense?

Garbad
 
Sure, and there's a term for it, Garbad. Maybe you've heard it.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

On that note, I'm going to bed. I could come up with any number of other situations where we could ban things that cause a very small number of cases of a problem. In the end, though, the difference comes down to the fact that you're willing to give up for freedom to be safe, and I'm not. I'd rather be free and in more danger than live in a safe little padded box of a room somewhere. Sure seems like I'm a dying breed in this country.

What happened to the love of freedom?
 

DrunkPotHead

Diabloii.Net Member
That's the third time you ignored me Garbad.

Here it is again, one last time: During the prohibition, were we better or worse off?
 
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