The Jesuits founded the Pioneers against a background of alcohol abuse. The problem is worse now than then. Every day you hear or read about tragedies in which drinking has played a part: traffic accidents (33% involve alcohol), suicides (over a third had consumed alcohol before dying), domestic batterings, marriage breakdown, rapes, screaming matches, stabbings. Every night 2000 hospital beds are occupied for alcohol-related reasons. No need to go on; I’ve tried to persuade media people to raise public awareness visually: high-light the link to the drug by appending a small icon to all such stories: something like this:
The proposal met a quiet resistance. No matter what shape the glass, or colour the contents, some vocal group will feel unfairly targeted. The drinks lobby here seems to have the same sort of powerful, irrational hold on public policy as the gun lobby has in the USA. The issue is not about drinkers, of whom I am one, but about the effects of alcohol abuse. The real target of the suggestion is public complacency about a drug problem for which the price is enormous, and is paid by families, the health services, the Gardai and an ever-growing number of drink-abusers, young and old. What about this simple way of signalling the damage?
Photo: from Smabs Sputzer / Flickr (CC)