How can something as prevalent, accepted, and accessible in our society as drinking alcohol be so harmful, unhealthy, AND illegal when consumed at or slightly above moderate intake levels? The simple asking of this question immediately uncovers a number of issues, one of which is the mixed messages that exist in our society about drinking alcohol.
On the one hand, consider the thousands upon thousands of bars and taverns in the United States เหล้านอก. Now add to this list the restaurants, night clubs, sporting events, festivals, state fairs, hotels, casinos, carnivals, etc. where alcoholic beverages are regularly served. Moreover, add the grocery stores, liquor stores, beverage stores, the Convenient Food Marts, the 7/11 stores, and the state stores where an adult can legally purchase as many bottles, cans, and/or cases of alcoholic beverages as he or she desires.
Not only is alcohol extremely accessible in our society but there are also a number of factors that reinforce the idea that drinking alcohol is “cool.” For instance, consider beer advertisements and commercials on TV. Indeed, it can be argued that some of the most memorable, funniest, and “best” commercials and advertisements on TV have been those that were associated with drinking beer. To push the point further, why would beer manufacturers spend millions of dollars for a commercial during the Super Bowl if this expenditure did not lead to more sales? From a slightly different perspective, consider professional athletes and movie stars who, by their actions and advertisements, reinforce the idea that drinking alcohol is “cool.”
When religious rituals that make use of alcohol, cultural traditions that encourage drinking alcohol, special events and holidays that are associated with drinking alcohol, and the increasing popularity of adding alcohol to food for enhanced flavor–when all of these are factored into the equation, it becomes obvious that alcohol is deeply ingrained in our society. The point: when people are surrounded with alcohol and bombarded by events, traditions, holidays, and advertisements that are alcohol-related, it becomes part of their socialization process that in turn makes it easier to simply accept that they should drink alcohol if they are to “fit in” and become members of our society.
If the prevalence, acceptability, and accessibility of alcohol represent the one side of the coin regarding the mixed messages in our society, then the dangerousness, unhealthiness, and illegality represents the other. Indeed, consider the numerous negative and harmful messages and statistics associated with alcohol abuse and drinking while driving that we have heard from the medical community, federal government, police, politicians, organizations such as MADD, and school and college administrators.