Saturday, April 19, 2014

Increased access to alcohol means increased consumption

3/6/2013

The Kansas Legislature was expected this week to have hearings concerning Uncork Kansas’ proposed legislation to relax liquor laws in the state. Uncork Kansas works on behalf of Walmart, Hy-Vee, Kroger/Dillons, QuikTrip and other national retailers.

As someone who has worked professionally with those who are alcoholics, I think this is a terrible idea. Alcoholism is far more prevalent than most realize, and it ruins and destroys people’s lives. When an alcoholic tries to get free from his or her addiction, the No. 1 thing they know they have to do is completely change playgrounds to never be around alcohol and never allow themselves to take one drink.

The Kansas Legislature was expected this week to have hearings concerning Uncork Kansas’ proposed legislation to relax liquor laws in the state. Uncork Kansas works on behalf of Walmart, Hy-Vee, Kroger/Dillons, QuikTrip and other national retailers.

As someone who has worked professionally with those who are alcoholics, I think this is a terrible idea. Alcoholism is far more prevalent than most realize, and it ruins and destroys people’s lives. When an alcoholic tries to get free from his or her addiction, the No. 1 thing they know they have to do is completely change playgrounds to never be around alcohol and never allow themselves to take one drink.

The big stores like Walmart, as well as gas stations, are places you have to go to for the necessities of life. Therefore, it’s going to tempt alcoholics constantly and create more opportunities for them to revert. The little liquor stores, on the other hands are visited by people whose purpose is to buy alcohol. They have no other reason for going.

Think about an alcoholic (or a potential alcoholic), who would never go to a small liquor store, but is having a bad day and while getting his bread and milk, sees the alcohol on the nearby rack. That easy access will result in more alcoholism. This is an issue where the greed of retailers should not be the deciding factor. This is an issue where we should consider helping and protecting the weak instead of the strong.

For those who claim “uncorking” Kansas is positive for state revenues, you need to consider that the only way it can boost revenue is to increase the purchases and consumption of alcohol. Consumption increase will mean an increase in costly alcoholism-related problems for the state that include an increase in welfare and crime, as well as an increased need for rehabilitation, police, courtrooms and jails — not to mention the increase in people who will be killed or maimed by, and the children who will suffer, as a result.  

—John Comstock, Ottawa

comments powered by Disqus