Alcoholism and Public Health Law

Topics: Alcoholism, Taxation, Taxation in the United States Pages: 7 (2430 words) Published: October 14, 2013
Alcohol consumption poses a threat for many public health harms. Impaired driving is one of the largest contributors to motor vehicle crashes (Burris, Grunwald, Anderson, &ump; Filippoli, 2011). In the United States each year roughly 13,400 people die and an additional 255,500 are injured in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver according to Burris et al., 2011. In 2006, these crashes accounted for almost a third of all U.S. traffic-related deaths (Burris et al., 2011). Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States according to Pandrea, Happel, Amedee, Bagby, &ump; Nelson, 2010, and studies show that reducing alcohol consumption can lead to public health improvements such as decreased incidence of “liver cirrhosis, delirium tremens, male suicide, criminality, hospitalizations, alcohol-related disease mortality, workplace injuries, STDs, IPV, rape, robbery, and severe violence towards children” (Jernigan). Public heath deals with many other issues that cause burdens to individuals and society alike such as obesity and gun use. Over the past several months, headlines in the news have been echoing “Chocolate Milk Removed from School Lunches,” and “Senate Considers Federal Tax on Soda.” While the removal of chocolate milk from school menus has actually happened in certain school districts across the country, federal tax on sodas has only been a proposal at this point. However, both echoes resounding through the news originated from escalating research that America’s twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity are due to diets high in sugar. The end result is that the actions taken to fight obesity have not been classified as either effective, uncertain, or harmful consistently through studies and research because there are too many variables like genetics, other sugar-loaded beverages and foods on the shelf, lack of exercise, abundance of video games, and the lifestyle one is accustomed that contribute to obesity as well. But even with the slightest inclination eliminating chocolate milk or federal tax on soda will eliminate sugar from obese population’s diet and thereby reduce weight, support groups and supporting research seem to load up the band wagons. Alcohol abuse is certainly an epidemic, and the domino effect of negativity it can cause in one’s life and surroundings creates a dismal forecast into the future of American public health somewhat similar to the obesity epidemic. Obesity and alcohol consumption act as a comparison between two similar, yet contradictory issues, much like public health and public health law. High-risk drinking results in many consequences for public health and unlike obesity and soda tax, a multitude of systematic literature reviews conducted by highly-regarded scholars and published by credible organizations or peer-reviewed journals prove taxes that increase the price of alcohol effectively reduce overall alcohol consumption. Although ways to reduce alcohol consumption are not made glamorous in the news like many other trending public health epidemics, alcohol abuse is one of the few conflicts public health epidemiologists and economists have derived a bullet proof plan of action to effectively reduce its harmful effects. This manuscript serves as an evidence brief summarizing the problem, the law, the evidence, and the bottom line pertaining to the effect of increasing tax levels on alcohol use, and to prove why understanding public health law and policy is essential in bridging the gap between proven studies performed by public health professionals and the legislators and lobbyists who can implement the findings. Using the current state of obesity as an example was merely to cast light on the standstill alcohol abuse is undergoing, which ultimately resides in the poor connection between public health research and public health law. However, it is worth noting that other strategies exist to control alcohol abuse besides trying to impose what some may...
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