Should alcohol be made illegal?

19 Nov

I have an assignment that is “In a group, argue if alcohol be made illegal?” The argument is: “Alcohol cause more harm to society than drug, so should it – just like drug – be made illegal. Or should drug, instead, be made legal?” Simple question which should have simple answer YES or NO, but actually rather complicated to answer.

Well, the problem with alcohol is not recent issue. It was already a problem in 13th century. During my visit to a tourist site near Cardiff, a medieval village, I learned that there was law to control drinking habit in 13th century. Initially the Welsh men would drink ale since morning, but by afternoon they were drunk and weak that they couldn’t work their land. To solve the problem, the English Lord then passed a law: “The villagers were to drink non-alcoholic ale during the day. Alcoholic ale was only consumed in the evening. Lawbreakers were to be severely punished.” Too bad for them, non-alcoholic ale caused many people fell ill and died because of poisoning – the alcohol in the ale actually killed germs. I guess we don’t have this problem because we have many non-alcoholic alternatives. But is it enough justification to make it illegal?

My first argument is the effect of alcohol is not as bad as drug. But my colleagues quickly rebuked it saying that there are types of drug (cannabis, I think) which effect on brain’s function is actually milder than alcohol. There are some testimonials that the users feel calmer and better in judgement of their situation which make them better people (or less likely to cause trouble). Some creative people are drug users too.

My second argument is people can control their alcohol intake more than their drug intake, which can be rebuke by stating the number of alcoholics in this country and how horrible saturday nights are (full of drunks).

So are there only dead-ends in the debate?

Well…I think if we always take exceptional cases, there is no answer to everything. So I guess we must approach it from the general population point of view. Exceptional cases must be handled separately since the probability from happening is rather low.

First I have to know how the percentage of drunk drinkers (which cause problems) in comparison to the total drinkers in this country. How many people who drink alcohol actually get drunk? (Where to find this statistic?) In other word, how much control the user has over the effect of the alcohol/drug?

Secondly, I want to know how likely the alcohol drinker get attached to alcohol? And what about drug? How many percent of drug users is drug addicts? What is the level of depedency for each product?

If the percentage of misuse of alcohol is small while the misuse of drug is substantial, I can argue that the problem with alcohol is not with the alcohol itself but with the users. However, if it is proven that the misuse is quite substantial in percentage, we should really consider to make it illegal.

I, in UK drinking standard, is not really a drinker. I like alcohol but I am not attached to it. For me, it’s a good occasional entertainment to release stress. I can’t really understand why anyone wants to drink up to the point of losing control of themselves. In this light, I can’t bear to let alcohol be made illegal. However, I do know people who have trouble with it. I still think we can control ourselves over alcohol than over drug; but, this is a weak argument since I have little knowledge on drug to justify this view.

After saying so much, I have not come to any conclusion. Hehehe…There is still time before submission to ponder about it.

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