You may wonder why alcohol is legal in our society. It has proven to be a dangerous substance that promotes violence, social discord and thousands of car accidents every year and yet a harmless plant with numerous health benefits such as marijuana continues to be vilified by governments around the world. This makes no sense at face value but it you look deeper into the issue you will learn that the main reason for this is painfully simple; it’s all about the money.
How the Medical Industry Benefits from Alcohol Use
Alcohol is the easiest drug to misuse. You only need to take ten times what is considered to be a regular dose in order to overdose. Alcohol overdoses result in close to 100,000 deaths and 2 million near-death cases every year in the United States alone. Drunk-driving fatalities add another 10,000 deaths to the mix. Marijuana in comparison has never caused a fatal overdose in the thousands of years of its reported use.
Marijuana is hardly ever related to violence. In the few cases where marijuana has been related to violence it was due to turf-wars between drug dealers which are a direct effect of it being illegal in the first place. Users of marijuana are never involved in cases of self-harm or domestic violence. Alcohol in comparison is directly linked as a contributing factor in cases of assault and personal injuries. Hospitals report that over 30% of assault cases and 21% of personal injuries are alcohol related. They are forced to set up special programs to help people deal with their alcohol related problems that treat over 1 million people annually and they make a lot of money from these programs. Put simply, they are profiting from the harm that alcohol causes. They would hate to see their centers have to be closed because alcohol is no longer available to their patients.
Medical bills for regular alcohol users are over 8 times more profitable than those for marijuana users. The US economy lost $223.5 billion in 2006 thanks to alcohol use. 75% of these costs were due to lost productivity from drunk people, 19% was used to treat alcohol-related health issues and 9% was on legal costs associated with drunken misbehavior. Further research has shown that the costs of dealing with issues caused by alcohol dwarfed the costs associated with handling problems caused by other drugs which leads to the question; why is alcohol still legal while so many other less harmful drugs are not?
The Cause and the Cure
The alcohol industry is incredibly profitable. Regular alcohol users quickly develop a tolerance for it which makes them need to take even more to experience the same high therefore they are more likely to try newer, harder drugs. In cases where marijuana is offered as an alternative, the use of hard drugs such as heroin reduces drastically which makes you wonder; why is marijuana still illegal while alcohol is not? The answer is profits. Treatments for alcohol and other drug addictions bring in millions of dollars each year. The same people selling the poison at premium rates are directly involved in providing healthcare for alcohol-related maladies.
Money drives everything in our economy. Alcohol sales bring in billions of dollars in revenue each year and are a driving factor in how many other businesses such as gambling and tobacco operate. Legislators would never dare to threaten the bottom-line of such a mammoth industry by making alcohol illegal or legalizing marijuana which would reduce the number of people who drink alcohol.
The only way that we can address this issue is by being informed. Thank for reading this article. If you found the information helpful and would like to do something about it, please share it with the people in your life. The more awareness that we generate, the closer we will be to finding a lasting solution.