We hear on the news day after day that people are getting into accidents while under the influence of alcohol. How can we as a society prevent alcohol-related accidents among people who are dependent on alcohol? Is there a sociological approach?
Alcohol dependency is a problem that affects all of us. Therefore, we all have to do what we can to limit its negative impacts on society, whether taking a friend or family member to alcohol rehab centers or volunteering on a regular basis as a designated driver. The addiction to alcohol is chronic and progressive in nature, (Alcohol Research and Health). This disorder is a disease like any other medical conditions that needs medical interventions or treatments. Punishing offenders of alcohol induced infractions is only a part of the solution. For one thing, people who get into car accidents as a result of alcohol use will still continue to drink if they don’t get proper treatment for their alcohol dependency problem. To make matters worse, many alcoholics don’t believe that they have an alcohol problem until it is too late, either they lose their jobs or they get into a severe motor vehicle accident as a result of their alcohol dependency.
We as a society cannot afford to wait until alcoholics figure out their problems. We have to be proactive by creating a plan that will help save the lives of both alcoholics and our citizens from alcohol-related incidence.
Our society should put in place a system that regulates the amount of alcoholic beverages an individual can consume at a bar in a given day. No one person should be given the opportunity to consume more alcohol than is legally allowed, in regards to blood-alcohol levels. Our society is making it too easy for people to get into trouble by drinking too much. If one beer is enough to prevent people from going over the legal drinking limit, then one beer should be the norm for anyone who enters a bar and orders beer. Our current stance is that people should be held accountable for their actions and therefore should take responsibility for such actions. The sad truth is that such strategy is not working because if it was we wouldn’t be hearing about so money alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.
Alcoholism or alcohol dependency is a disease that needs to be dealt with as such. Many research studies have been conducted using primates, such as monkeys to understand the mechanism of alcohol dependency; such animals are used in these studies because they have similar genetic predispositions as humans, (Alcohol Research and Health). A substantial amount of research has examined the neurobiological basis for alcohol abuse, which includes neurobiological adaptations. Neurobiological adaptations is believed to be the mediator of addictive behaviors associated with alcoholism.
Alcohol dependency is therefore a medical condition with a neurobiological basis. Society cannot depend on an alcohol-susceptible person to make wise decisions when it comes to the consumption of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car. There has to be a regulatory mechanism in place, which will prevent an alcohol susceptible person from drinking too much while outside the home.
It does not make much sense to always allowing people the opportunity to drink as much as they want knowing that such actions will put people at increase risk for getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. A preventive strategy should be put into place. It is always easier to prevent the problem than to cure it. One should realize that it is much more difficult for a person under the influence to make wise decisions. We should not leave it up to the drunken person to make the decision as to whether to get behind the wheel or not. We should instead create an environment where people will have the opportunity to make such decision with a clear head.
Our society allows people to drink as much alcohol as they want at bars with no restrictions. Most of the time people drink because they refuse to face stressful situations in their lives. So, they go to the bar and drink beer after beer to get drunk, so they can temporarily rid themselves of their worries at home. We as a society should help these people by not making it so easy for them to drink as much as they want, especially at a bar. Granted, it is next to impossible to control how much a person drinks at home. However, it is very possible to control how much a person is allowed to drink at a bar. It is much better for society when a person drinks at home because that person is not compelled to get behind the wheel of a car and drive home, as that person is compelled to do while at a bar. People have no choice but to get behind the wheel of a car and drive home when at a bar, especially if that person’s judgment is impaired as a result of excessive amounts of alcohol intake.
We should not totally ban alcohol. Such actions did not work in the roaring twenties when alcohol was totally prohibited. Doing so would not work today. There were many illegal smuggling of alcohol going on in those days as a result of prohibition. The ban of alcohol in the 1920s gave rise to another problem-drugs. So, totally eradicating alcohol is not the answer, but regulating it could be a very good option in limiting the amounts of alcohol-related accidents on our streets.