Alcohol

glass of lager

I started drinking when I was in my late thirties. I moved from being an infrequent drinker to a moderate drinker in the space of a few weeks. I had to force myself.

There was good medical evidence at the time that a regular tipple in middle age was useful insurance against heart disease and possibly some other common killers so I thought it might be worth drinking to this discovery.

Some people have a predisposition to alcohol addiction. I believe I have a predisposition which prevents me from developing one. A single drink is usually enough for me. On the rare occassion I have tried two or three I just feel ill.

It is a quirk of fate I guess that the two worst drugs in the world are the legal ones. Nicotine is the most addictive substance in the world (yup, it’s worse than heroin) and is a powerful toxin. Alcohol turns people violent.

That’s an oversimplification of course but the main side effect of alcohol intoxication is aggression as any drunk will tell you (even if they’re talking about something else).
Just take a drive along any arterial road of any large town on a Sunday morning and see for yourself the number of crystal mounds littering the now windowless bus shelters. These acts of vandalism have been fuelled by alcohol. Some of the vandals probably wouldn’t even remember that they had done something so mindless. The cost of alcohol abuse to the country in monetary terms is many billions of pounds, in emotional terms it’s incalculable.

Apart from the slight health benefits from moderate drinking in middle age (which could be easily made inconsequential if people ate healthily and exercised more), alcohol has nothing going for it.

Compare it with cannabis say, which has completely different side effects, the most notable being passivity. Or LSD which can expand the mind and thus connectivity with other people. Imagine how different the world would be if they had become the legal drugs instead of the two damaging poisons we have now.

Okay, all drugs have side effects and there would no doubt be severe cases of harm with the two alternatives I mentioned but you can be sure the costs would come no where near the current level of damage we have today.

It almost makes sense for a government agency to research and develop a brand new recreational drug which had minimal side effects and maximum buzz to replace the current legal ones. Then those people who are addicted could make a transition to the safer drug. The savings and benefit to society would outstrip any fiscal initiative that the government could ever come up with.

Imagine the outcry though if someone in authority suggested this rational approach. The official insanity is that we keep the two worst drugs in the world as legal, try to clean up the appalling mess created by them and combat the tide of illegal drugs (which could turn out to be less harmful if they were controlled properly) at the same time.

It’s no wonder people seek out mind altering substances to hide from such insanity.

Addendum: After posting this, the very next day, 3 Quarks Daily had this article.

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