A boy, only fourteen years old, had a brain scan that was horrifying to look at. His prefrontal cortex had completely disappeared, as if someone had thrown acid on it, and the damage became worse when he concentrated. The front half of his cerebellum also showed little activity with nearly no blood flow passing through. It was rare for someone so young to have brain scans this severe.
After being kicked out of eleven schools due to his behavior issues, his grandmother, who was raising him, took him to a doctor for a QEEG test and diagnosis. He was diagnosed with temporal lobe dysrhythmia and ADD and prescribed Ritalin and Tegretol. Over the following year, the boy advanced four grade levels as his medications began to take effect and he managed to stay in school.
This is where drugs can do wonders for the right people.
But wait there is more to this story…
Every day this young boy takes his medicine, he tells himself he is taking it because he is stupid so he decides to stop taking it. His grandmother has no knowledge of this.
A month later, his uncle, who also has behavior problems comes over and invites him to go rob some women. They kidnap a woman, make her go to the ATM, steal from her, and then rape her.
The lawyer representing the boy called Dr Amen for assistance on the case. So Amen Clinics did a SPECT scan on the boy at rest and at concentration.
Whenever someone comes in, they have to do an intake to get the health history and backstory.
Here’s what they learn in intake. The boy’s mother was no longer raising him because the mother was an alcoholic. The boy is fetal alcohol exposed child.
This is what happens in our communities with alcohol. There is no safe limit of alcohol. When a woman typically finds out she is pregnant, a fetus has already been growing, so if that person is a regular alcohol drinker, there is some level of exposure already.
Luckily, the pills the doctor prescribed him before the crimes took place were perfect for him. He just needed to keep taking them to allow his brain to access his full potential as an upstanding citizen. It allowed him to access forethought, judgement, and learning. It’s like someone who has vision impairment wearing glasses. Glasses don’t make you inherently smart or dumb, but rather they can help improve your vision. In cases where someone’s brain may need a bit of extra assistance, medication may be necessary.
To me, it seems we could decrease pharma drug consumption and crime if we eliminated the sale of alcohol.
What would this country look like if there were no alcohol being sold?
There are a variety of objections that people may have to banning alcohol sales, including:
- Infringement on personal freedom: Some people believe that individuals should have the right to consume alcohol if they choose to do so, and that banning alcohol sales is an infringement on personal freedom.
- Economic impacts: Banning alcohol sales can have significant economic impacts, including lost tax revenue and job losses for those employed in the alcohol industry.
- Criminalization of a widely-used substance: Banning alcohol sales would criminalize a substance that is widely used and socially acceptable in many cultures. Some argue that prohibition could lead to increased black market activity and associated criminal behavior.
- Unintended consequences: Some believe that banning alcohol sales could have unintended consequences, such as increased use of other drugs or increased violence due to the lack of legal avenues for obtaining alcohol.
- Ineffective policy: History has shown that attempts to prohibit the sale of alcohol have often been ineffective in reducing alcohol consumption and related harms. According to historian Michael Lerner, the Prohibition era, which began in the United States in 1920, was an attempt to ban alcohol consumption nationally, but it increased drinking in many parts of the United States. Prohibition failed to achieve what it set out to do, and its unintended consequences were far-reaching. Some believe that alternative approaches, such as education and regulation, may be more effective.
Here’s another way to look at things…
- Infringement on personal freedom: While it is important to respect individual rights and freedoms, it is also important to consider the broader societal impacts of alcohol consumption. Banning alcohol sales may be necessary in order to address the significant health and social problems caused by alcohol use, including alcohol-related deaths, injuries, and social costs. If we force people to wear seatbelts and pay for car insurance just to drive on the roads, then we can do this.
- Economic impacts: While banning alcohol sales may have some negative economic impacts in the short term, the long-term benefits of reduced alcohol-related harms may outweigh these costs. Additionally, resources could be allocated towards supporting those affected by job losses and transitioning towards alternative industries. Instead of selling alcohol, we should be selling cold-pressed juices to help people’s bodies heal from chronic diseases. The folks passionate about curbing gun-related deaths are not thinking about the loss of jobs of the folks in the industry. They are more concerned about the deaths of innocent people who become victims of someone with bad behavior and a gun in their hand. It is way easier to get access to alcohol than a gun and the effects on our society has not even been fully calculated. We have domestic violence cases, fights and shootings, bad behavior at work, and traffic accidents all coming from alcohol consumption. We have not even fully looked at the impact on the amount of mentally unwell folks we have in our country due to being exposed to alcohol in utero. See some stats below.
- Criminalization of a widely-used substance: Banning alcohol sales does not necessarily criminalize the use of alcohol itself, but rather the sale of it. Alcohol could still be legally consumed in private settings, similar to how marijuana is treated in some jurisdictions. Additionally, measures could be taken to mitigate the potential for increased criminal activity, such as increased funding for addiction treatment programs. Also, the whole point would be to not make this substance so widely used. We have made alcohol socially acceptable the way doctors used to promote cigarettes but now we know if we want to keep our throats and lungs, we should not smoke. I would say if we want to keep our brains and cognitive abilities, good jobs and healthy relationships, we should not be drinking alcohol. But how do you stop something that is so socially acceptable?
- Unintended consequences: While there is always a risk of unintended consequences with any policy, it is important to weigh these risks against the potential benefits. Education and regulation alone have not been sufficient to address the significant problems caused by excessive alcohol use, and more aggressive measures may be necessary to reduce these harms. We also need to go beyond looking at excessive alcohol use. We should not be consuming alcohol, period. It has no health benefit.
- Ineffective policy: While prohibition has historically been ineffective at reducing alcohol consumption, it is important to recognize that previous attempts at prohibition were often poorly implemented and lacked the necessary resources and support to be successful. More comprehensive and evidence-based policies could be developed and implemented to address alcohol-related problems in a more effective manner, such as increasing taxes on alcohol, providing funding for addiction treatment programs, and implementing stricter regulations on alcohol sales and marketing. Definitely not giving alcohol sales a boost during a global pandemic like what was done.
According to the NIH,
- “About 20 to 30 percent of women have reported drinking at some point during pregnancy—most typically during the first trimester.
- More than 8 percent of women have reported binge drinking at some time during pregnancy—most typically during the first trimester.
- Almost 10 percent of pregnant women reported drinking alcohol in the previous month.
- Almost 5 percent of pregnant women reported binge drinking in the previous month (4 or more drinks per occasion).”
That first bullet alone shows how bad this is. 30% of pregnant women drinking in the first trimester is a lot of children walking around with a brain that is struggling.
People consume alcohol for a variety of reasons:
- Socializing: Alcohol is often consumed in social settings as a way to bond with friends or colleagues. Have we ever questioned why we need alcohol to help us share space with fellow humans?
- Relaxation: Some people consume alcohol to help them relax and unwind after a stressful day. This is a really unhealthy way to de-stress.
- Celebration: Alcohol is often consumed during celebrations and special occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. This is part of the problem why alcohol is so insidious. It does so much damage within families yet it is so normalized in our culture. Instead of alcohol at these events, we should have water, cold pressed juice and fruit-flavored sparkling water.
- Taste: Many people enjoy the taste of alcohol, whether it is beer, wine, or spirits. Maybe kombucha beer may be the solution for them which has a very low amount of alcohol. Although, it also may have its issues. I think this, just like all other food addictions, will take time for people to wean themselves off, and the government should have some set-asides to support with addiction recovery.
- Curiosity: Some people may try alcohol out of curiosity or peer pressure. The same thing happens with cigarettes because the media glamorizes these things. We need policy around this. We can’t glamorize items working against our health as a nation and then say we care about public health. We need to all be on the same page.
There is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol. It has no health benefits. Besides putting developing brains at risk, alcohol consumption can lead to a range of negative health outcomes, including liver disease, heart disease, cancer, and mental health problems.